Monday, November 15, 2010

Traveling Out of my Comfort Zone

by Sophie


It's ironic that, as you read this, I'm on the road. I'm actually writing it a week in advance because I'll be in Boston and New York for ten days, so I've had to put some effort into lining up all my ducks in a row before I leave. This sort of forethought does not come naturally to me at all, so I'm feeling a little grumbly and out of sorts and, to be honest, fearful about everything I'll forget.

This state of anxiety has always surrounded travel for me. I traveled very little when I was growing up, other than annual summer car trips to see my grandparents.

When I was interviewing for jobs in my senior year in college, I would barely sleep the night before flying to the city where the job waited, afraid I'd lose my ticket or get on the wrong plane, or that the cabbie would take me to the wrong hotel or that I'd get lost going out for dinner.

When my kids were little, I found it overwhelming to assemble all the baby paraphernalia as well as enough distractions to amuse them, and by the time I got on the plane I needed a nap. For many years, in my role as a homemaker, I was the axis on which family travel spun, and I never felt very good at it; there is so much planning involved, and yet as we all know, vacations are very hard to control - away from home, things go wrong in a thousand different ways, and the single most important talent for dealing with that - a laissez-faire attitude - was the one thing I never possessed.

Now, my fears center around being away from my home and desk. It can be wonderful leave the day-to-day grind behind, to make all my own decisions without considering anyone else's needs or desires. But I never forget that, thousands of miles away, people are forgetting to feed the dog and running out of milk and failing to finish their homework at a reasonable hour and leaving the cap off my good shampoo and not sending thank you notes and - and - and - and, well, it's very hard to CONTROL THE UNIVERSE when you aren't there. And how about the stress of those dozens of emails that come in each day that you can't deal with because the file/receipt/calendar/notes you need are back on your desk?

If you ever want to see me at my worst, it's right before I leave for the airport. But that said, I'll add one more thing before I'm done.

Travel is thrilling.

I adore it. I love looking out the airplane windows and seeing mountains and deserts and fields and cities below. I love watching the other travelers in the waiting area, imagining their stories. I LOVE public transportation - figuring it out in a new city makes me feel so badass and amazing and fearless. I love bustling streets, honking horns, skyscrapers. I love eating out, especially when it's wicked - fries for breakfast, wine with lunch, something I've never heard of for dinner. I love walking into my hotel room and splatting on the bed and messing up the linens, opening the drapes and discovering what my view is; putting my stuff all over the bathroom sink and walking around in a towel. I love sitting in a cafe with my laptop and imagining that everyone around me is thinking "oh look, she must be a *writer*." I love the touristy stuff and the historic stuff and most of all I love the unlovely parts of cities, the parts the Tourism Bureau doesn't want you to see - the alleys and neglected neighborhoods and dives and people hollering at each other across food carts and double-parked cars and street hawkers. I want to drink it all in, every bit and then some, and if that means I have to live with some discomfort to get there, then I say, bring it on.


Rachael Herron said...

Now I want to buy a plane ticket. Anywhere, I don't care. I just want to go. HAVE FUN! xo

Mysti said...

Do you compulsively open the drawers of the bureau, half-expecting to find a packet of money or guns or drugs or something mysterious and hard to decipher that hopefully WON'T lead to the Vatican?

This time I forgot my daily meds AND the little token that keeps me wired to work. Husband turned into superhero and got to the airport in fifteen minutes. But I still check for wallet, tickets etc. every 30 minutes until I get on the plane (lost a boarding pass in a store once, and that was BEFORE my memory started to go).

Fly free! Nothing feeds a writer's head like travel, IMHO.

Juliet Blackwell said...

I wish I were there with you! It's so much more fun traveling with you than solo. And I know you're going to have amazing stories to share when you return -- can't wait to have you back! Now go do something naughty, inspired by being a visitor in a strange land...

Jeorge Mackay said...

To finalise, Sunday payday loans are a best suggested financial aid which shows lender’s consciousness for their borrowers. Such kind of loans shows lender’s positive attitude towards borrowers and their needs in every situation and know more about our services please visit us saturday payday loans uk.