I do not entirely enjoy traveling.
I love the exposure to new places, the adventure, the learning, the food, the break from routine responsibilities, the fun.
But the travel itself is anxiety-producing. I don’t like the crowds of transportation hubs. I worry about being late. (Then I feel dumb for arriving super early.) I feel physically stressed inside airplanes and trains and buses. I want everything at home to be in order for whoever stays behind — and in order for me when I return home — so there are lots of preparatory chores. (Take out the trash! Change the sheets! Clean and put away the dishes! Walk the dog!) I don’t like the pressure of packing. (Once, I left with no “bottoms” for a week that included professional commitments — no pants or skirts or shorts except the pair of jeans I was wearing. It’s now a running joke among friends and the Getty children. “Did you remember pants?”)
And, justified or not, I get really grumpy in the hours leading up to departure for a trip. Poor Graham, the spouse who bears the unfair and disproportionate brunt of that grumpy anxiety. Last spring I laughed at myself when I was home alone packing for a trip and noticed I was being grumpy with myself as I prepared to leave for a few days.
Next week, as many of you know already, I’ll be traveling overseas for a weeklong walking pilgrimage in Italy with 11 other UUCC members, including a Getty teenager. We’ll be walking from Spoleto to Assisi, and we have been eagerly anticipating this trip for more than a year. It’s going to be so great — meaningful and beautiful and fun and delicious!
And the closer it gets, the more anxious I feel. So, I’m deliberately reminding myself what I know about managing my own anxiety rather than letting it be in control — I’m noticing the anxious sensations in my body, talking about what I’m experiencing, writing about it, thinking ahead about options for mitigating the stress of the airport and airplane and on-the-ground travel once we’re in Rome.
And also, I’m remembering that I’m a capable person with resources and travel companions I trust.
And? It’s going to be great — meaningful and beautiful and fun and delicious!
Thank you, UUCC, for making it possible even to imagine a pilgrimage like this one. It’s such a privilege and joy to be able to go, and I’m very, very grateful … despite the nerves.