It’s been a few months. As I’ve toiled away working mostly 6-7 day weeks for the last 6 months I’ve been dreaming and planning. Instead of reflecting on possibilities of what could be, I was making decisions and putting plans in motion.
I decided that the one month I planned on taking off wasn’t long enough. If I’m going to do this I’m going all out. Two months sounded better. I took into consideration slow periods at work, weather patterns in different locations, high/low season prices. Looked into flights, airlines, costs. I started with a huge wish list and began whittling it down bit by bit. Finally hit the point of budgeting where the price started to negatively affect the overall experience I wanted and stopped. Then I saved, took on even more work and socked it away until finally I just had to pull the trigger and book.
Initially my plan was to book it all. Flights, accommodation, overland travel, adventures. My over analytical and hyper logistic brain told me that that would be the best safety net. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t leave the house without a plan of where I am going and how even if it’s just downtown to meet friends. I’ve never been very spontaneous, I have issues with change and all of it comes back to my anxiety disorder. The concept of being in a noisy chaotic atmosphere all alone and getting lost and not speaking the language makes me cringe, the more I think about it I can feel my anxiety rising. When I talked to friends about my trip they couldn’t believe I was planning so much so far in advance. They actually looked at me like I was slightly crazy. I had to wait to 12 months before the flight date to book my flights. Airlines won’t book further in advance then that. I understand for most people that seems like such overkill. What I try to explain is that my brain works at top speed almost all the time. I am thinking of 10 things at once nearly every minute of the day (and I wonder why I’m so tired!). I need time for my brain to process every conceivable option, choice or scenario. If I can imagine it, and it happens I am mentally prepared. The concept of being caught-off guard and in a vulnerable position with no one there to bail me out is enough to give me a panic attack.
Don’t be worried for me. I have spent the last 15 years coming to terms with and managing my anxiety. I’m in a pretty good place. No regular meds. As needed meds used sparsely these days but have them for back-up and I have skills to cope when things start to spiral. I’ll never shake this beast but boy if you could see me 10 years ago, I don’t know if I was really very functional. So preparation like I’m doing won’t completely eliminate travel anxiety but will allow me to be functional and have fun (fun is the key!)
All that to say I have booked and paid for my flight into Thailand in February and home from Bali in April. Despite having a plan (I have multiple mapped out itineraries, travel options and multiple accommodations options selected for each location) I finally feel safe enough to leave the rest up to chance. The benefits of deciding to stay in one place longer, change up my accommodations if I’m not happy or head out of town for a couple days on an adventure appeal to me now more than ever before.