Confession: I don’t usually like traveling. I know: everyone likes to travel, right? If you don’t, then you are a boring lame homebody with no friends and nothing interesting to say and also a racist (I think this is the case, who knows). This is the general face I make when I am about to travel:
Every time I travel, I’m anxious for at least two days beforehand. A lot of this anxiety is similar to how I feel sometimes about just leaving the house, but some of it is very travel-specific, including:
- Packing: Can we all just admit that the TSA carry-on liquid requirement is horrible and also sexist? If society expects women to maintain a perfect standard of beauty at all times, then it cannot also expect us to fit all of our necessary toiletries into a tiny ziplock bag in stupid 3 oz bottles, especially if we wear contact lenses and have to make a difficult choice between that mini sunscreen and that bottle of lens cleaner. I believe that it is a conspiracy between the TSA and the companies that make travel-size toiletries. It’s the TSA/MiniToiletries Industrial Complex.
- Being on a plane: Being on planes is THE WORST. You are cramped, and your back hurts, and someone is ALWAYS farting, and the guy next to you is almost certainly going to spend the majority of the flight elbowing you or accidentally falling asleep on your shoulder. It is just awful, unless you are in first class, and even then you’re still on a plane, and your skin will dry out, your nasal passages will contract or something and you will die of dehydration, probably.
- Luggage: Luggage is also the worst. It is heavy and rolls downhill when you are not holding onto it, and then you have to chase after it and you’re sweating, and everyone looks at you and points and laughs. Ughhh. Can’t we just invent transporters and replicators already?
- Bathrooms: Never there when you need one, especially when you’re on your period (sorry boys, but get over it it’s a real issue and is also the reason we are all alive).
Despite all this, I voluntarily travel all the time, and I’m finally learning to like it. Don’t get me wrong, all the above things still stuck, but I’m finally, at the age of thirty, figuring out that going to a new city or country is almost always well worth the anxiety and trouble of getting there, which is really the part I hate. That may sound like the most obvious thought ever, but anxiety is not always rational and I’ve definitely chosen not to go places or do things in the past because I was too worried or upset about the process of getting to where I needed to go to see those places or do those things.
It was this weekend that clinched actually liking travel for me. I spent a few days in San Diego with a friend and they were just perfect. I went to Comic Con; I visited the San Diego Zoo; I saw Seaport Village and the Gaslamp Quarter; I went on a Harbor Cruise; I toured the Midway; I saw Old Town. Now, the trip from SF to San Diego is very short and painless, but I experienced the same horrible anxiety before leaving last week that I have so many times in the past, only to be surprised to experience three perfect days (even at Comic Con, where I was ridiculously nervous about fainting/dying in the crowds). Now, I’m planning a trip to Italy at the end of August, and my anxiety level is so much lower than it ever has been in the past regarding traveling. I think I’ve hit a turning point – who knows, maybe I’ll do something really crazy like travel completely alone sometime soon?
This post is sort of random, but I’m just grateful that I’m finally able to enjoy something that I’ve been doing for so long without constant worry. While I’m off to look at flights (GAH SO MUCH MONEY) to Florence, Italy, enjoy some highlights from my trip. Hope you’re traveling someplace fun yourself, soon!