Thought Catalog

All The Thoughts That Run Through My Head Before I Take A Trip

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Slava Bowman

I have some travel coming up. One of those big, solo excursions to Europe. And, I keep saying to myself, “It’s just a trip.” I say this because I’m afraid I’ll build it up too much and be disappointed. I almost canceled the whole thing more than once. I should probably save my money anyway. I mean, it’s a busy time at work. Plus, people are starting to look down on travel. It’s getting a reputation for being this hipster-Instagram-fad that entitled kids do on someone else’s dime when they could be doing something useful. And building it up (like the “college experience,” prom, your wedding day) will only leave me disappointed.

But, I’m still going. And, it’s just a trip. It’s…

An exercise in adventure
Seriously, I don’t know what I’m in for. Will I be miserable? I’m terrified. Will I meet people? Will I be too shy? People who don’t know me said I should stay in a hostel. People who know that I’m a real INFJ understand what it means to have a private bedroom and bathroom at the end of the day to hide away and reset when I want to be alone. And I like being alone. Sometimes.

It’s…exercise
Hiking, walking to and from the train (I’m not trying to drive in a foreign country), exploring cities, visiting a cave system in the mountains, overlooking the lakes, and paragliding—who knows—I’ll figure it out when I get there.

It’s doing what you weren’t willing to do for me
When all I wanted was for us to experience things together. But, every time I brought up the idea of a trip you tuned out. When you’d roll your eyes at the idea of tourism and visiting a city just to take in the culture. When you refused to even get your passport (and I asked for years and years and finally just got my own without you.) When the idea of traveling to “see some place new” or “see art in person” or do anything other than visit a place that involved your own selfish agenda of racing or climbing sounded like a stupid idea, and my voice became background noise so I just stopped asking. So, now I’m going alone.

It’s getting outside of my comfort zone
I’ve never used traveled by train. I just bought a rail pass. In a country where I don’t speak the language. But, I’m trying to learn. It’s going to be so hard to communicate. I’m trying. I’m scared to try, but I’m trying.

And now that my mom is gone?
It’s a bittersweet mix of relief and sadness that I can go anywhere in the world and not panic that she might need me to rush home at a moment’s notice to say, “Good-bye.” Because she’s gone. And it’s knowing that life is too short not to get on the plane and go do something I haven’t done before.

It’s (seriously) testing my packing game
One backpack? Are you serious? Where do I pack my favorite jackets and boots and cool clothes? What do I even wear? What if I need a prescription? Have I thought everything through?

It’s a field test of my language skills

Well, I took German in high school—and I was good at it. But, they speak Swiss German. Jo…

It’s a journey of self-discovery
Who am I really when you strip away my cool clothes, my native language, my home country, my acquaintances, my friends, frenemies, lovers, family, my comfortable home where I can hide away? Who am I when it’s up to me to find a hiking trail in a country on the other side of the planet? When it’s up to me to finance the whole thing and plan where to go and what to do. When I might get lost in a strange place. But, I’m already lost where I’m at, so…

But, it’s still just a trip… TC mark

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