I’m leaving the country tomorrow, and for some reason, I am bizarrely calm and well-prepared for it.
If you know anything about me, you likely know a few days before a trip I start to completely lose my shit.
There is a fear of the unknown that is always lurking right around the corner. Thoughts that creep up at the most inopportune times, usually when I’m trying to get to sleep:
What have I gotten myself into?
I don’t speak the language–what if I struggle to communicate?
I don’t know how to get around–what if I get lost?
They are all bizarre and mundane, but thoughts that usually consume me before a trip. But not this time around. Which is bizarre, seeing as I switched plans at the last minute.
I booked a ticket to Dublin because it turns out I can fly straight through from Seattle for about as much as it costs me to get to Indiana. Plus I have friends there, so I knew I would have a place to crash. It’s also familiar to me, so I know what I’m getting into.
Then I spent weeks mapping out my dream trip to Croatia. It involved multiple city stops, ferries, catching buses to random parks and Game of Thrones tours. I realized that although this has been on my list for a long time, I needed to put it on the back burner for this year as I couldn’t fit everything I wanted in the amount of time I had. I also needed a bit more advanced planning to make it work out properly.
So I looked up plane tickets from Dublin and generated flight options. That’s when Budapest popped up, which has also been on my radar for years, but never quite at the top of the list.
But the price was right, and I booked the ticket.
After I land in Dublin, I’m grabbing dinner with one of my old roommates from Australia and crashing with her that night before flying out to Budapest for the bulk of the trip.
Knock on wood, this trip has come together seamlessly for a major last minute change.
I got a wonderful deal on a really nice hotel.
I’ve booked a tour to Hungarian wine country–which I never would have guessed was a thing before looking into this.
So somehow, even though there’s so much more unknown with this particular trip, I feel weirdly calm.
I was essentially packed up last night. Normally I’m up the night before until 3am packing, stressing, then repacking.
I also clean my apartment before a trip like I’m cleaning up after a crime scene. It always takes up way too much time, but one of my simple pleasures is coming back to a clean abode.
My whole apartment is cleaned except mopping the floors, which I’ll do tonight. Normally I wouldn’t even start this process until today.
The whole pre-trip, anxiety-ridden rigamarole has been smooth sailing thus far.
I am in a place where everything is tied up in a neat little bow until I get back, or at least as much as it was ever going to be.
I’m usually a tornado of crazy energy the week before which is no fun for anyone in my wake.
But this time it’s been easy.
I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop, but for the time being I’ll take it, since as a person I’m always a ball of stress and anxiety. It’s nice to enjoy the calm.
Don’t get me wrong. As a seasoned traveler, I fully expect things to go off course. I know nothing ever goes completely as planned and I have to roll with the punches.
But this is also the first non-work trip I’ve taken in a long time. And I’m so excited to not have to worry about cramming in a beach walk or evening city exploration after a long day of work.
I will have 12 full days of absolutely no work-related activities, and that’s pretty magical as someone who considers a weekend with two days together a luxury.
I work a lot, and the main reason is so I can travel and go interesting places. It’s the thing I tend to care about the most, so I prioritize it and make sure it happens.
The rush I get from being someplace I’ve never been before is unlike anything else I know. There’s nothing quite like it, and I’m pretty lucky that I am able to make that happen.
So unless I go to bed tonight and wake up in a cold sweat and start to panic, I’ll consider this the easiest trip prep I’ve had in a long time.