If my planning for my upcoming trip has taught me anything, it’s that I’m way more nervous than I thought I was when it comes to travel. And I’m starting to wonder if my compulsive planning has really just been a method to calm the nervous energy surging through my body, which has been steadily increasing as the days until departure diminish. This is hard for me to admit, because I’d really like to be an intrepid traveler who could just wing the whole damn thing without constantly worrying about the details. But the truth is, I do worry. And more, I really like control. I want to know ahead of time where I can get the best exchange rate, or how I can pre-arrange transportation so I don’t get stuck anywhere. I know, some of this is just practical concern, but I do worry about limiting my trip because I have too much planned. I do want flexibility, and not having to worry about getting to a certain city by a certain day, but I just can’t stop myself sometimes. And I don’t have the luxury of luxury travel, in fact I’ve picked where I’m traveling based on (in part) where I can by for next to nothing. Which, means I won’t have a concierge service to do my bidding, or the luxury to absorb the costs of major mishaps that travel/health insurance doesn’t cover. And when I do have giant gaps (like a couple of months!) in my plans I can’t help but panic a little bit, or obsessively think about it. This, as I understand it, is simply the symptom of being a novice independent traveler. And to be honest, that’s sort of what I am. My forays into international travel have been through volunteering, or else, my family. In either case, a clear support system was in place. Granted, I’ve learned a lot, and feel relatively comfortable negotiating foreign cities with language barriers. Now though, I’m setting out on my own. And while the travel bit overwhelms me with excitement and joy, the alone bit really does make me nervous and over-think things. After the tro-tro incident I should be more hesitant to plan too much and leave little room for error, but it also compels me to know as much as I can ahead of time to avoid confusion or minimize travel mishaps.
I have to keep reminding myself that everything will be OK. And that it’s normal to be nervous. I’m not doing this because it’s easy, in fact, taking off for a little less than half a year, part of it completely on my own is one of the hardest things I’ve done. It’s the longest I’ll have ever been away. And it scares me, but I know that what I’ll gain from it will be more than worth the occasional fretting and panic-induced guidebook reading. And the gratitude I feel for the opportunity to do so is overwhelming. I know there are plenty other twenty-somethings out there who manage to travel for months, or years on their own on an equally as stringent budget, I should be perfectly capable too. Thinking, thinking, thinking. I do too much of that. I should just trust myself. I’m working on it, and here’s to hoping this trip instills a bit more confidence related to my own potential intrepidness.
T-23 days! All that’s left: packing my life into a backpack and getting to the airport on time.