I should be sleeping right now since my alarm isn’t set to go off for another hour and a half but sleep has eluded me tonight (that happens to me every now and again, especially when I have a lot on my mind or am going through big changes and transitions, which seems to be the story of my life at the moment). Just hours away from needing to head to the airport to visit our families that are out in Arizona and then then heading to Oregon where we will spend Thanksgiving week with Nick’s family and say goodbye to everyone before our big adventure begins, and I haven’t been able to get more than an hour or so of sleep. The endless to-do list marched through my head and then the random playing out of a million different scenarios and possible interactions between our families and how I might react or be in any given scenario played out endlessly like some random movie which kept me just on the outside edge of sleep.
No one talks about the interpersonal and emotional obstacles that you have to deal with in order to follow your dreams, your heart, and your passion.
And in my case, to follow my husband’s dream that has now become our shared vision– traveling the world. In looking at a bunch of other travel blogs in preparation for our trip, another thing I noticed was that no one talks about the goodbyes either, but for me, they are going to be one of the hardest parts of our adventure. I don’t warm up to people easily but when I do I love hard, so saying goodby to those I have let into my life and heart is not going to be easy and I foresee being ‘heartsick’ (like homesick but for the heart) for them.
In most of the world traveling website/blog I have come across people share about how “freeing”, “liberating” and “exciting” letting go of their things and, their home and their previous lives has been, but for me the experience thus far has been very different. Thus far the words that come to mind around my experience have been “difficult”, “emotional”, “anxiety provoking” and have left me feeling scattered, disoriented and apprehensive. Apparently I don’t have this “travel gene” that seems to bring a sense of excitement and thrill at the prospect of the unknown and leaving your life, people and home behind. I am a nester by nature and I like to dig in a grow roots in a place. I like to collect things that feel cozy and homey and I feel safe and comfortable in routine and familiarity. I like order and cleanliness and having a place for everything and everything in its place, and am a planner and tend to look ahead and try to consider all eventualities before making a move.
My husband, on the other hand, is the opposite in almost every way. He gets bored easily, feels burdened by things/objects/possessions, dislikes routine and gravitates towards ‘flying by the seat of his pants’ whenever possible (although he does like to plan out where we eat because he has “high standards” and doesn’t like to be disappointed). Organization is at the bottom of his priorities and he is fine to live out of a backpack and throw all his stuff on whatever floor we happen to be inhabiting at the moment.
The idea of travel for me, in theory, is exciting- imagining places we might see, music we might hear, food we may enjoy, and cultures we would get to experience is very exciting. It is everything else that comes with it that causes me anxiety and sleepless nights- What if we can’t figure out a way to make money and we run out and I have given up building my career and have to come back to nothing? What if I can’t stand living out of a backpack and moving around constantly? What if I can’t make friends and Nick and I drive each other bonkers? What if I miss my family, my friends, my fur babies, my choir, my home too much and I can’t hack it? What if one of us gets sick or has a serious injury or health issue? What if there is a terrorist attack or serious natural disaster? What if we have issues with getting residency or visas? What if we are so busy dealing with moving around all the time and navigating where we are going to sleep/eat/etc that we can’t work on any of our other projects we wanted to? What if our daughter spirals and can’t handle adulting without us there to support her? What if one of our parents’ health declines and we are needed back home? How are we going to figure out our taxes while we are away? What are we going to do with our mail? How are we going to manage our money/do banking? How are we going to be able to keep in touch with people back home? When will we come home? Where will ‘home’ be when we are done adventuring? How long will we be adventuring?
SO much fear and anxiety running through my head!
At the same time good stuff is bouncing around in there too. Things like- I might get to learn to say some things in different languages! I bet we will meet some neat people along the way who will help shape our adventuring and enrich our experience. I wonder what fun adventures we will have, like skiing and singing Sound of Music songs in the Alps? Spelunking in Slovenia? Pub crawling and performing in England? Trying to find the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow in Ireland? Learning to bake chocolate croissants in France?…Who knows!? I’m excited to eat and learn to cook new foods. I can’t wait to see some world class performances and music! I hope I get better at photography. I know I am going to see and experience some amazing things. I truly believe that even though this is challenging for me on multiple levels, it will be a huge growth opportunity. I like to believe that doing this with Nick will bring us closer together as a couple. And lastly, I am optimistic and hopeful that my processing and sharing my experiences here with you all will not only be good for me but could also be helpful for some of you (at least, that is my hope).