My Traveling Truths That May Surprise You
Sometimes people think traveling is just something that is within you. While I agree that some people are more prone to it than others, I don’t think even habitual travelers ever become travel masters. Here are some examples of how even I still struggle with travel.
I still get nervous before every trip.
Sometimes I’m worried I forgot something incredibly important, like a passport. Other times I am suddenly sad about leaving something behind. Other times I’m so excited about the trip, that I get nervous that it will be a let down. For whatever reason, the night before and day of, my stomach is full of butterflies and I cannot stop checking and rechecking for my documents, electronics, and everything else. Now that I live with Pedro, I am much more aware of it, as he rolls his eyes as I scurry about and stress about nothing. But you know what? These nerves keep traveling exciting.
Packing is my nemesis.
I originally wanted to say “I’m terrible at packing,” but that’s not true. With the exception of when I moved to Argentina and then back to the US, I have not traveled with anything more than a carry on since I began traveling. I’m actually pretty amazing at making everything I need fit, even if I plan to be in Canada, New York, and Mexico all within the same 12-day trip.
So yeah, I can play packing Tetris like a master, but when it comes to the actual decisions on what to pack, I’m kind of a mess. I’m not just an Indecisive Traveler, I’m an indecisive person in general. I’m constantly changing my mind about how minimally or not minimally I want to pack. I will spend 20 minutes justifying a dress to myself only to remove it 10 minutes later. I always have some sort of shoe crisis, one in which I curse myself for not having uber-specific shoes specifically meant for the location I am going to. “Why I don’t I have rain boots that are equally fashionable, comfortable, and effective?” “How have I not purchased water shoes by now?” It’s pretty ridiculous.
I get motion sickness
Cars, trains, planes, and boats all make me nauseous. I get migraines, feel like vomiting, and my vision blurs. It’s pretty terrible, and also pretty ridiculous for someone who spends a decent amount of time in moving vehicles. I have slowly trained myself to be better than I used to be. Back in the day, I popped Dramamine like candy and couldn’t even look at a book or screen. These days, I focus on drinking water slowly, not reading during any sort of turbulence/bumpiness, and take very deep breaths. I’m not completely cured, but my love of travel has forced me to work through the nausea and keep my mind on the adventure I am on my way to having.
I’m embarrassed that I’m only bilingual
I spent 9 years of my life studying Spanish, and then another 2 immersing myself in the language in Argentina. I’m a professional interpreter and natives often believe I am a native speaker as well. I should be so proud, but when I travel, I find myself feeling ashamed that I am merely bilingual. I spent 4 years studying Japanese, but since I have never been to Japan, I have lost most of it. I know a decent amount of Sign Language, but that has never helped me on the road. The more I travel, the more I want to know. It’s incredible to me that in so many countries, being bilingual is the norm, and being tri or even quadra-lingual is fairly common. While I am happy to have been born in the US, I cannot help but be jealous of anyone who was simply born into a multi-lingual home.
So for anyone who thinks their traveling game is weak, just know that no matter how much anyone travels, there will always be certain aspects of travel that are shaky, difficult, and nerve-wracking. You learn with practice, so push through the awkwardness of learning the ins and outs of airports, buses, and pubic transit and go see something incredible.