I can’t sleep. You know how sometimes you have a hard time sleeping before a big trip because of excited anticipation of what’s to come? This isn’t that. This is another kind of sleeplessness; the kind that stems from nervous anxiety. And it’s really bumming me out.
Ever since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated by, motivated by, and slightly obsessed with travel. So you would think that embarking on this huge adventure (my Dream! my Goal!) would bring me nothing but positive feelings. With all my other adventures abroad, I’ve always felt about 90% excitement, 10% “other” (nervous, curious, anxious, etc). Why is this trip making me feel the opposite? Why am I so overwhelmed?
Perhaps it’s because I’m leaving behind a loving boyfriend, my two fur babies, a solid network of friends, a stable job (actually, on second thought, no regrets there), a freaking great house, a city I love, and I’m going even farther away from my family than I already was (What if they need me? What if I need them???). I’ve never had to tackle these issues before because the majority of my trips have been a few days to a few weeks long.
Now that I’m looking at a year away, I’m so full of anxiety that it’s smothering my excitement like a fire blanket.
Some of my major concerns include:
1. What will a long-distance relationship with Ryan look like when I’m literally half a world away? I anticipate issues with timing, connectivity, phone/email communication vs. in-person interaction, personal change/personal growth for both of us.
2. What if one or both of my dogs die while I’m away?
3. What if I’m “too old” to do this? Now, wait… before you judge and say that’s ridiculous, hear me out. I spent lots of time in my teens and 20s traveling in Europe, which everyone in the world will agree is pretty easy travel, even when you’re staying in hostels and doing everything on the cheap. European travel is pretty darn cushy.
Whereas on this trip, I’ll be spending about half a year in India and Southeast Asia. I’m sure SE Asia is so well-traveled by now that, even if it’s not as easy or comfortable as Europe, it probably won’t be too difficult to find and get everything I need (physically, mentally, and culturally). But India is supposed to be one of the most challenging countries in the world for a female traveler. And since I want to do it cheaply and independently, that means no guided tour groups, no fancy hotels, no first-class transportation. Will I be able to get over the creature comforts that I’m accustomed to so that I can fully embrace and love my Indian experience? Or will I freak out over a particularly dirty bathroom? Will I have many sleepless nights due to uncomfortable beds or loud kids in a hostel? Will I get sick and poop my pants on a bus? Will I be safe? Will I be tempted to punch the next street swindler in the nose? Will I have a melt down because I’m too hot/cold/exhausted to think straight?
I never had any of these concerns when I traveled in my 20s, and I know the worrying doesn’t help anything. I know I need to stop thinking so much and JUST GO. I’m sure once I’m on the road, everything will work itself out (and if it doesn’t, I can always come home). But I’ve never been good a quieting my mind (a wonderful trait I acquired from my mother, who calls it “monkey brain”).
….Maybe I should spend some of my time in Asia learning how to meditate so I can take all these nerves and just crush them with my will power. RAWR