The anxiety of travel

I come from a long like of worriers. Nature or nurture, the result is the same. Travel, or at least travel arrangements brings out the best and the worst in me.

The best is that I will check, double and triple check everything from flights, documents, the list of things to take and so on. The worst is that even when I’ve done all those things the thought of something not having been done right will niggle away at me until I’m tightly strapped into my airline seat.

When Kingsley and I are traveling alone I tend to be the one who makes all of the arrangements.  I’m not sure if that is cause or effect.  If I’m traveling with Brian and Craig I’m perfectly comfortable with any arrangements Brian makes, so it’s not that I feel I have to be in control, I just need to feel confident that everything feasible has been thought of.  I should add Kingsley can be extremely organised and very thorough when suitably motivated. That motivation rarely crops up when it comes to travel arrangements however.

I am not, nor ever will be, one of those make-it-up-as-you-go-along, seat of yur pants, let-inspiration-strike-you, spontaneous travelers.  And I know people who wouldn’t travel any other way and I am deeply envious of that.

What I have found is that while a long lead time offers lots of time to get organised, it also gives more time for the anxiety to build. The flying itself doesn’t concern me, but my general anxiety tends to manifest in belly aches. I’ve been loading on alkaline foods to limit the impact of the anxiety on my gut.  Who knows if that has any basis in science fact, but Dr Google seems to be of the opinion it should help.  That and lots of water.

The up side of this trip is that we have fellow travelers we’ll be meeting in Ushuaia so we’ve been able to bounce ideas off.  The downside to that is akin to the time you’re waiting outside for your exam to start and comparing notes with fellow students about what you have and haven’t studied.
The last minute drama was when I checked the cabin baggage limit.  I thought that LAN, the carrier in South America, was going to be the most restrictive so I’d been using their figure of 8kg for carry-on. Only to see that QANTAS only allows 7kg.

Now I know that all sounds ample, but when you start taking into account cameras, lenses, laptops, ipads, batteries, spare batteries (none of which can go in checked luggage) it all starts to add up. A loop hole that allows you a carry-on bag plus a slim laptop bag gets us over the line (we hope) so I’m very glad we didn’t have that garage sale where I was going to get rid of one of theose bags ‘we never use’.

Luckily we caught up with my sister and family last week, and were forewarned to have the QANTAS entertainment app installed on our plethora of devices in addition to The Room 2 and 3 to help get me through part of the 16 hour leg between Sydney and Santiago.

The mantra – it will all be fine. I repeat this to myself every couple of hours.

Other techniques I’ve used to keep a lid on my concerns is to print out some little cards with the addresses of the hotels we’re staying at, and the departure details of the flights we’ll be taking to leave each of these.  I figure it will save me rifling through the masses of paperwork on arrival in each location.

I’ve also made up a currency conversion cheat sheet as my mental arithmetic could use some polish and I don’t want to be whipping out the iphone every time we want to pay for something.  Tripomatic, recommended by Brian, is also handy for the planning on those days where we have no idea what we will be doing in Santiago and Buenos Aires.

Apart from that I am just reassuring myself that there will be things that don’t go according to plan, and between the two of us we will muddle our way through.

On the home front we have a fabulous fellow coming to house and dog sit
for us, so hopefully the two S’s won’t make it the most miserable four
weeks of his life. They are both bathed and brushed and told to be on
their best behaviour. And we miss miss them horribly.

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2 Replies to “The anxiety of travel”

  1. brianpoleykett

    I've found that Tripomatic is very generous with the time it suggests to visit places. It also sometimes doubles up timings if one venue has multiple offerings. In other words: be prepared to adjust you or schedules if you suddenly find yourself with free time. :). However, it has still been an amazingly helpful planning tool.

    I do something similar to your card idea – I print out each receipt, booking confirmation etc, fold each of them individually, and then have the "next" one readily available in my travel wallet.

  2. CRJackson

    Wow. I didn't realize you were so anxious a out traveling. I just rely on my Brian app. Only problem is the Brian app tends to have a walking speed stuck on …… 😉

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