I’m preparing for the trip of a lifetime.
I should be ecstatic, but I’m not.
My relationship with traveling has always been complicated. Seeing the world ranks right up in the top two things I want to do during my time on Earth. (Getting traditionally published is number one, but I have less control over that.)
I haven’t done as much traveling as I would like. After an epic journey to Africa in 2001, I didn’t go anywhere of note for nine years.
Lately I’ve felt this pressure, like I’m running out of time. If the opportunity to go somewhere new arises, I jump at it.
But instead of getting excited, as I hear “normal” people do, I start to wish time would stop. It’s too soon! I’m not ready! I need more time.
More time for what? To throw some clothes in a backpack and print some vouchers? I’m not sure.
Sometimes, I will actually cry as it comes time to leave my boyfriend, my babies, and my home. And when I’m on the trip, no matter how much fun I’m having or how busy I am, I will be keenly homesick and counting the days until I can be reunited with them.
Until the last two days of the trip, when I will realize how fast it’s gone, and that I’ll soon be back in my cold city of never-ending winter, with a pile of assignments due, not to mention house cleaning. Once again, I’ll wish I could stop time and have just one more day on the beach, or in this case, on the Great Wall.
It’s bizarre, and I don’t understand it. I’ve never comprehended how something I want so badly can make me feel fulfilled and miserable at the same time.
I seem to be an odd combination of adventurer and homebody. It’s not an easy compromise.
Just like some people want to get rich and famous without having to lift a finger, I want to see the world without the sadness of missing those I’ve left behind.
But that will never happen, so I try to be grateful that I have a home worth returning to. Some people dread coming home to their job or a nagging spouse. I’m always thrilled to come home.
Maybe, in a strange way, that’s a good thing.
How do you feel before a big trip? Are you ever conflicted, or is it just me?