I have such a love/hate relationship with the entire concept of travel.
She says as her possibly still-full suitcase gives her the side-eye.
I grew up in the quiet suburbs of Milwaukee in a house with a circular drive and basketball net and radio flyer, and even though my stepdad served three terms as mayor in the lovely city of Glendale, there’s very little that’s worldly about where I’m from.
They *do* have J.Crew now, though.
I swore I was going to get out.
I was going to go to an east-coast, ivy-covered college, I was going to summer somewhere, I was going to raise my family where there was more history than cheese shops and breweries, I was going to travel —often — to exotic places.
I was going to do all of those things.
Only I ended up going to college in Toronto. Which, if we are being honest, looks a lot like Milwaukee—only with different accents.
Only I ended up summering on my trampoline in my backyard.
Only there are likely more cheese shops and breweries where I live than history.
Only there aren’t many exotic locations on my travel repertoire—mostly we just travel to see both sets of my parents.
And honestly, for the most part, I’m okay with this.
You see, I have anxiety.
Because of my anxiety, I stress about going away. I stress about traveling without the kids, I stress about traveling with the kids. I panic simply thinking about customs officers, and don’t even get me started on what happens when I open my mouth and actually talk to them. I stress about packing the right clothing for the right weather. I stress about missing too much work.
I stress about, well, everything.
(Also what if I get the stomach flu in the middle of the flight?)
(Do not joke—this nightmare recently happened to my sister.)
Before any trip, from a simple road trip to visit my mom to a culinary food trip to Ireland, I try to cancel.
No really, I do.
Sometimes I actually do cancel.
(I’m still sorry, Charles, for missing your wedding.)
I play this little game.
“Maybe I should cancel — the kids really shouldn’t miss this much school.”
“Maybe I should cancel — Emily needs me to take her to her audition.”
“Maybe I should cancel — my stomach *is* feeling a bit off.”
I just recently tried to cancel on my trip to Atlanta for Mom 2.0 about 45 times.
But, of course, in the end, I went.
And I had an amazing time—I hugged so many people that I love. And surprise! My stomach was cooperative the entire time—and I only had to pop a ($4 hotel) Zantac one time due to a third-morning-in-a-row Flying Biscuit Breakfast, my job was still intact when I got home, and my kids managed to survive without me, even the one who had the audition.
I really need to learn to silence the noisy What Ifs. Because even though my small suburban life is truly very lovely, there’s a giant whole world out there of necks to hug, history to soak up, beaches to dip my toes in, places to see, places to be.
So while I work on that, who wants to come and unpack this suitcase?