Can I tell you guys a secret? It might surprise you.
Your favorite traveling dinosaur (me, obviously) came thisclose to canceling my trip to Africa last week. In case you missed it, I leave for my bucket list trip to Southern Africa (a safari in South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe), in about two weeks. An African safari has been on my list of “life goals” for as long as I can remember – like hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, trekking in Nepal, and visiting New Zealand – and in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been checking off those items pretty steadily over the past few years. So why the hell would I possibly consider canceling?
Well, it’s funny. See, in between coming home from New Zealand and flying to Prague for the marathon (more about that trip coming soon, by the way), I was home for almost exactly three months. To some people, that may seem like the blink of an eye, but to me, it felt like a lifetime. I didn’t get on a plane during those three months – something I’m 100% positive has not happened since 2011. I have just gotten used to constantly going somewhere, whether it is to another state for a marathon or to another country. This time, my only travel was drives of an hour or two to visit family and friends.
To tell you the truth, I got used to it. I thought I would go crazy, but in reality, I was focused on marathon training and work, and I just didn’t really have time to think about the fact that I was constantly home. And you know what? I like my home. In a way, it was nice to have free weekends and not constantly feel like I am playing catch up. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t excited about all my upcoming trips – of course I was! – but I just felt content. I was ok being home and ok being gone.
Perhaps because I took a long (for me) break from travel, I felt overwhelmed when I went to Prague. The trip hit me harder than it usually does and I was exhausted for much of the time I was there. That’s not something I usually struggle with. What’s funny is that the travel was comparatively really easy; our longest flight was 8 hours from Atlanta to Amsterdam, and the other two were very short. Compared to the to-and-fro for say, New Zealand or Nepal, it was a cake walk. On the way home, I felt like I was about to burst into tears at the thought of such long travel days to and from Africa.
See, because I booked my ticket with frequent flyer miles, the routing is insane. I have four flights over the course of about 38 hours on my way to Johannesburg, with no “real” layover where I can get a hotel room and rest. I don’t sleep well on flights, and just thinking about how terrible I will inevitably feel was enough to have me nearly in tears. I seriously considered canceling the trip, but promised myself I would not make any decisions until I had been home from Prague for a few days (and better rested) before I decided. I know, I know – poor little me, traveling for free to Africa and worried about her precious sleep. Trust me, I get it! I feel ridiculous just typing it. I used to be a person that would get home from a weekend marathon trip at 2 am and wake up at 6 to get to work the next morning. Hell, I started my current job after taking a red eye flight home from the Casper Marathon and heading straight from the airport to the office! So yeah…I feel a little crazy and lame.
Of course, after sitting on it for a few days and talking to AJ, I feel better. While I’m still a little daunted – and a little embarrassed that I have become such a homebody – I know it is the right decision. I know I will not regret going and I’ll have the time of my life, and I have no doubt about that. It’s funny because I’ve never understood when people (AJ included!) say that they don’t want to travel because it takes too long to get somewhere, but now I get it! I mean, it won’t stop me…but I get it.
On the other hand…I have to say I am a little bit grateful. I am glad that I feel this way! I have worried for years that I would be miserable if I ever had to slow down my travel schedule for some reason. While I would never completely want to give up traveling (and have no plans to do so), I’m glad to know I won’t lose my mind if and when I make that decision. Maybe it’s a result of getting older, having a happy marriage, or living in a place I mostly like. I know I have felt less frantic and compulsive about travel as I have been able to accomplish some of my major travel goals. I don’t have to worry as much now about not seeing the big places on my bucket list. I know that, heaven forbid, something happen tomorrow and I never go anywhere else, I can be content with the amazing experiences I have had.
So, I didn’t cancel my trip. I’m excited again now and gearing up for the experience of a lifetime! I can’t wait to share it all with you – the good, the bad, and the jetlag.
LEAVE A COMMENT: Does lengthy travel intimidate you? What are your barriers to traveling?