When analyzing my priorities in life, traveling always comes in near the top. I love that our planet is so big, that there are so many different, beautiful and interesting places to see, adventures to be had, stories to tell later on, pictures to take, people to meet. If there is one thing I am likely to actually work hard for it’s to be able to afford to travel. But while the IDEA of traveling is very appealing, keeping me dreaming and scheming, the REALITY of traveling is a different matter entirely. Though I would like to envision myself as a carefree hippy, leaping continents, sleeping in airports or on beaches, making plans on the spot, never minding the unexpected, I am actually a pretty neurotic, germophobic, anxiety prone person.
Gone are the days when I thought that an eight hour flight was fun (of course I was smaller then and I had a place to put my legs, which is no longer the case). Now everything about traveling fills me with dread. Will I catch the plane alright? Is the layover too short? If not, then what am I going to do for six hours in an airport? Will I get motion sick? What will I do if I have a panic attack somewhere over the Atlantic? Can I knock myself out with some meds so I can actually get some sleep in those small crammed seats, or will that make me to groggy when I get there? Am I bringing the right things to wear? Can I drink the water? If not, how am I supposed to brush my teeth?
Still, I persevere. They say you shouldn’t let your fears run your life, and in that spirit I am going to Russia this week. The whole plan came together rather suddenly, so I’ve had only a week to fret, but I am really starting to feel it. Fortunately (or not), I am going with my mother, who has little tolerance for nonsense. We’ll spend a few days in Moscow with relatives and then a week in Saint Petersburg with grandpa. In fact grandpa, and a few other choice relatives, are the main reason to go to Russia, as far as I’m concerned. The weather is planning to be miserable, I will be stressed about my personal appearance and other shortcomings, and there will definitely be the requisite museum and palace outings. I am not even sure why I mind them, but a museum is not my idea of a good time (another shortcoming to add to the list…)
* “Muss ich denn schon wieder verreisen?” is an excellent book by Evalyn Sanders which has sadly never been translated into English (perhaps I should do it?). The title means roughly “Do I have to go traveling AGAIN???” In the spirit of things me and my trusty German dictionary started re-reading it last night.