I had a bout of pre-trip anxiety yesterday. I always go through a stretch of moody days where I can’t remember why I wanted to go on a long trip far away. My mind runs like this I’m not ready. I should study more history. The journey will exhaust me. I need to learn Portuguese. Some calamity – from stolen purse to psychotic landlord to broken leg – will befall me. Grumble grumble. Who wants to eat hot squid sandwiches and look at gloomy Spanish art anyway?
I do. And I will.
This has happened like clockwork, about month before every long-awaited trip. It’s predictable and look, it’s right on time. My policy is to note my glum mood and let it pass by, like clouds over the sun. I keep calm and carry on with my lists, in the sure and certain knowledge when I get on the plane I’ll be ready for adventure. It isn’t important whether or not it’s the adventure I have so carefully planned. In the immortal words of Rick Steves, if something is not to my liking, I can change my liking.
I have lost my passport, been targeted by a team of pickpockets, been spat at by a gypsy in Venice, passed a gallstone in a Paris museum, lost my way on foot in the dark of night, and arrived after a weary journey to find my accommodations uninhabitable. At the time I was too busy figuring out how to deal with the problem to be glum. In retrospect what I took away was confidence in my ability to adapt and thrive under all circumstances. Not a bad souvenir.