Well, I seem to have done it again. I am as ready as a person can ever be for a long trip. It’s easier in some ways for me now, since I have shed myself of responsibilities for the kinds of things that take so much time ( mail, houseplants, standing appointments, and the like) when vacating ordinary life for just a few weeks.
I have packed my bags, and gotten my lectures lined up on my laptop and—equally if not more important—backed up about three or four different ways. I’ve seen the friends who made a concrete plan with me to do so. I went to the dentist, and am headed to the hairdresser this afternoon. I played tennis enough times to be sure I still can. Golf not so much, but it can wait.
On Monday, I get on a plane to Singapore, for several months in Asia, after which I take the long way home, going across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, and then up to Athens, to catch a plane home in mid-May. Five months, plus a few days. My longest stretch in My Year of Living Travelly to date has been three and a half.
So how am I feeling? To be honest, a little apprehensive. Asia is not my comfort zone, though admittedly seeing it from the safe haven of a luxury ship is hardly throwing caution to the wind and taking my chances with the universe.
Plus, have iPad, will travel. It is so easy now to make reservations, find guides, and figure out what to see. My first trip to Europe as an adult, back in their 1980s, I think I recall having to send letters to hotels and wait for their reply. Now, I can get everything squared away with ease, and just have to hope that people on the other end deliver. If not, I am pretty good at Plan B, or sometimes instant Plan C or D. And I am pretty good at saying to myself, “this is what I am doing instead of what I planned, and it will be good in its own way.”
From time to time last spring I got on a plane and flew alone somewhere to spend time between cruises. I spent multiple days alone in London, Nice, Marseille, Corfu, and Riga, plus single nights in several other places, and it was really a piece of cake. However, I have never traveled alone in a region of the world that is so new to me culturally. Between cruises, I will have to rely entirely on myself, without the advantages of another brain to come up with ideas, another person with whom to puzzle through things, another person to help make the difficult parts a little easier. I am confident I can do this but it’s not—
It’s not comfortable.
But part of the point of Living Travelly is to test boundaries, to learn not just about the world but about myself. I can’t do that in my comfort zone. I know that. So I am ready for the adventure, whatever it ends up being. Monday, I sprout new wings.