I have had an interesting couple of days. I was all set for my travels beginning in ten days, when I got an email from Viking asking me to fill in for a cancelation, two weeks going from Venice to Istanbul in early October. They’ve been interested since before Covid in having me lecture for their line, and indeed my first assignment was cancelled when the industry shut down in 2020. Since a number of places new to me were on the itinerary, I said yes, then began scrambling to redo all my travel plans, dust off and rework eight lectures I haven’t given for several years, and complete the paperwork for the assignment, all in ten days.
The pressure to add this to all the other prep associated with going away for an extended period was stressing me out, but I knew I could do it. My interchanges with Viking over whether one of their Covid-related rules for speaker travel could be waived since I couldn’t meet it, and how the financial impact to me of changed plans would be addressed, led them to understand that this was not a simple matter of flying me from home to the ship and back. They were more than willing to accommodate me, but in the midst of all that I got another email asking if I really wanted the assignment or would prefer to do something different at a later date that I (and they) would have more time and less hassle to prepare for. They said if I wanted to back out, they had another speaker who could step in.
For maybe five minutes I considered saying that I indeed wanted the assignment, but that little voice that helps me make the right decisions began whispering and I decided to back out. I am feeling such a flood of relief right now, but of course I have flickers of regret that I won’t have the experiences the assignment would have provided. No Istanbul, no Troy, not yet.
I will have other experiences instead, though, and I am soooo ready to begin the adventure. I am all set for travel in Montenegro, Croatia, and Slovenia, plus the northernmost points in Italy that despite the times I lived in northern Italy in the past, I have yet to see. A week in the Dolomites, plus visits to Bergamo and Locarno—all things I would have given up for this assignment.
This was already the biggest stretch of my life travel-wise (7 weeks on land, solo, one small suitcase, using public transportation almost exclusively). Funny how adding an assignment on a cruise line I haven’t worked with before, solo on a ship bigger than I’m used to, seemed more daunting to me than figuring out how to get a bus from point A to point B in a country where I don’t speak the language. Still, psychologically, that’s the way it felt.
Maybe it’s the greater opportunity for growth that that little voice is guiding me toward, some insight or experience I would have missed. The only way to find out is to go and discover what awaits.
For now, I have deleted all the things I needed to do that got added to my calendar. Today will be a normal day—a walk, a “swim and gym,” and a few little errands. No crazy. I like that.