Monday, November 07, 2011

#6 Fear

I'm participating in the 30 Days of Indie Travel Challenge on BootsnAll. Prompt #6: FEAR. Just as travel can be fun and exciting, it can also have its challenging, or even downright scary, moments. Being in a new place pushes us out of our comfort zone and makes us face our fears. Tell about a time you had to face your fear when traveling, and what was the result.

I'm not a very nervous traveler, not in general. What does make me nervous is the very start of a trip. I'm always nervous about having everything ready and getting to point A on time. So for this Europe trip, for example, our flight was at 5 p.m. on a Friday. I left work at noon to make sure I had everything ready. Of course I did. I had packed Wednesday. So all there was to do for me at home was to pace nervously around my apartment with the Swiffer until it was time to leave for the airport. Then I go to the airport and the security lines for domestic flights were the longest I have ever seen in my entire life, so many people spilling out from the lines that people just walking through had difficulty getting past. This is O'Hare, a giant airport, where there's plenty of space for waiting in line, so it was pretty extreme. There was no way anyone was getting through those in less than an hour. Although we were obviously flying out of the international terminal that has its own lines, still, this was a sign that the airport was packed.

Our flight was in 2 hours and Jake wasn't there yet. I started to become irrationally afraid. What if he didn't make it on time? What if we couldn't get through security on time? What if the plane left for France without us? I couldn't concentrate on anything except for the feeling of fear in my stomach until Jake arrived to the airport, 1.5 hours before our flight, plenty of time to check our bags, go through international security (which took all of 5 minutes), buy food, and sit and wait for an hour by our gate for our flight.

Once I make it safely and soundly to the first leg of a trip, I don't care anymore. We had three more flights on this trip — to and from Berlin and then back to Chicago — and I was never nervous about those. In fact, we could have been late for a couple of those. We took the wrong direction on the train en route to the Berlin airport (my fault), so lost a few minutes there. And at Charles de Gaulle, they were pretty understaffed, so we spent a lot of time waiting in lines. We made it to the gate with only a few minutes to spare.

Maybe I don't worry about this stuff once the trip gets started because I wouldn't mind so much getting stuck or delayed in Paris or Berlin. It could be a fun adventure, and I'd get to stay a tad bit longer. To get stuck in Chicago when I'm trying to leave it for a vacation... that would not be the slightest bit of fun.

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