Neither here nor there


I have a very complicated relationship with the notion of traveling. On the one hand, I love it. There's new places to see! Adventures to have! Friends and family to visit! On the other hand, there's bags to be packed! Planes to be boarded! Time to be consumed by simply waiting! Money to be spent! Fears to be had about overstaying your welcome! New places to navigate! Foreign bathrooms and beds and furniture to negotiate! It exhausts me even thinking about it. But it also exhilarates me.

I think a large chunk of the problem is that I'm a list maker. And, getting ready for a trip always makes me feel like I should make a list of things that need to be accomplished before I leave. Inevitably, these lists are too long and I get to feeling overwhelmed. Then, I make lists of things to do where I'm going. Then I make lists of things to pack. Then it's a list of books to bring. And, before you can say "all aboard", I'm buried in piles of bullet points. On top of all of that, the world stubbornly refuses to cease moving forward while I try to get these things done. So, I'm still expected to work, even though I have laundry to get done. Or celebrate a friend's birthday even though I haven't packed (and of course, I have to make cupcakes for said celebration).* Of course, I also need to send in conference registrations, buy textbooks for classes, trim my beard, make a few major life decisions and so on and so on.

Clearly, I lack perspective. These things can wait (most of them). And the ones that can't can be accomplished. And, people invite me to visit them (or consent to let me visit them) because they like me (right? people aren't just too nice to say no, are they?) and so, I shouldn't worry about messing up on the trip. But, I can't shake the panic that sinks in about 48 hours before I go anywhere and which lingers as a sort of queasy uneasiness for the entire duration of any vacation.

One of the things not helping for this trip is that I'm coming back the same day that school starts. Thus, missing the first day of my Greek class. Since this is a different prof, I can't even rely on the semester of quasi-good graces I built up. Leaving Phoenix at 6.30 in the morning also sounds a bit like hell. And, it's decisions like this that remind me that I make dumb choices when I'm traveling. I frustrate myself so much sometimes.

So, I have all these bad things floating around, but every single time, I love the trip. Seriously. I have a great time regardless what actually happens and even if I get only five hours of sleep in three days. That's why I keep coming back to the idea of going places. It appeals to me much more than it irritates me. But, still, gosh, I wish this journey coming up overmorrow were finished already. Doesn't it realize I have a trip to Alaska to worry about?

*Note to this friend: I actually really do want to celebrate your birthday with you tomorrow. I just feel stretched, but I still know what's what, if you will. And I'm mostly being absurd.


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