Do not judge a blog post by its title, because I love travelling. I love seeing new places and eating new foods and pushing past my anxiety of new things to realize that life on the other side of uncertainty is pretty dang great.
I do, however, hate the travel part of travelling.
Planes suck. Buses suck. Carting a suitcase that feels like you’ve packed bricks sucks.
And when you add an overnight flight into the mix, combined with turbulence that gives you the-worst-turbulence-you’ve-experienced flashbacks, is a great recipe for learning your priorities.
The flight usually starts with, “Please just take off and don’t crash on the runway.” Tina Fey in Bossypants explained that her husband’s fear of flying is the worst at take-off and landing because that’s when the most crashes happen or something. So obviously when I’m in a plane that takes off and lands, that little tidbit jumps to the forefront of my mind.
And then the plane continues and you remember that you’re flying for six hours over a vast ocean in the middle of the night. And your brain’s desire to work through worst-case scenarios is, in reality, less than helpful. So instead of worrying about crashing on the runway, you worry about crashing mid-flight:
- What if we crash into the ocean and water bursts through the windows and I forget how to unbuckle the seat belt?
- What if we make an okay landing but then we have to go down those inflatable slides into ice-cold water and it’s a Titanic situation where everyone freezes?
- What if the pilot isn’t able to send an SOS signal? Should I turn on my data for that as we go down? Who would I email? My mom? What’s the coast guard’s email?
- What if we do make it off the plane and instead of freezing, a group of sharks find their dream buffet dinner? Who would they eat first? Would people be pulled under around me? Would a fin brush my leg? What if I’m too cold to defend myself? How does one defend oneself against a shark?
- If we do magically make it off the plane and into the water and onto rafts or something, how long do we float? Is it like in Richie Rich when Richard Gilmore and his wife float around and make a phone out of her earrings? I’m not that crafty. I don’t even know how my phone works and I’m still astounded by basic technology like calculators.
And then the turbulence starts and the no-sleep nausea starts and instead of worrying about dying on the runway or dying at sea, your number one concern is not throwing up in your seat. So you take multiple trips to the bathroom by breaking the law (a.k.a. getting up when the seat belt sign is on), hoarding barf bags in your sweater pockets and returning to your seat to lamaze-breathe your way through the rest of your flight. And you start to think crashing at sea isn’t so bad. People survive that. But do people survive public humiliation? What happens if as I’m running toward the bathroom I throw up on another passenger? What happens if I can’t reach the barf bag and I throw up all over myself? Do they have a quarantine area for disgusting people?
The other fear that is at the back of your mind through all of this, too, is that great fear of DVT.
And then you land, or rather close your eyes and wait for the wheels to touch the tarmac and for the plane to slow down without crashing, and you know it’s not over. Because first you have to wait for the bottleneck of people standing to wait for their bags and duck into the aisle as quickly as possible so as not to inconvenience other passengers. But there’s always at least one person who has no bothers about inconveniencing other people. And then you really have to pee, but you also have to go through customs and get your luggage. So instead of worrying about throwing up on people, you worry about wetting yourself like an incontinent child.
And then you have to drive home.
And then you fall into bed and try to nap and correct your sleep schedule and remember how great your trip was. And hope the next time you travel, you’ll have forgotten all of this.
Except you just put it into writing that you can reread before your next trip.
Future me, don’t read this.