Just seven more days, and then finally, FINALLY, we will be off on our big African Adventure! Travelling through the Southern region (Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa) during an epic overland trip with Dragoman tours. We have been counting down the days and now that it is finally almost here… I am feeling more anxious than excited.
This anxiety shouldn’t surprise me anymore, but it sneaks up on me every time. The travel loop is well worn, but filled with sweet and bittersweet recognition of the feelings I have.
I’ll obsess about a certain country or region or adventure for a long, long time. This particular trip has been brewing in my mind for about six years. Finally, the calling gets too loud and there is nothing left to do but alter our life’s course in such a way that the trip will become a reality.
We budget. We calculate. We save. We check flights and hotels and organisations. Waiting for the perfect discount to strike. We pounce on the deals as soon as they arrive and our budget allows. We research. The countries, the activities, the landscapes, the animals. Everything.
And then the countdown starts.
199 days, less then 200 to go.
150 days, about half a year.
98 days to go, now we are talking.
Until somehow, it just takes to long. My brain will not sustain that intense of an interest over that long a period. Other, smaller trips occur, I live my life. Graduate, get an indefinite contract at my job, celebrate Eriks birthday, run a half marathon. Time starts to move again.
We take our first Lariam tablets, dreading the side-effects, but happy because only three more weeks until we are off. We visit our family, leave a few Christmassy-outfits with them so we can celebrate the holidays once we get back between Christmas and New Years. I update my blog, start to slowly gather my stuff to pack.
And that is when the anxiety sets in.
I will no longer be looking forward to the trip. The inevitable hustle starts to block my view of everything I was looking forward to. The fear I forget something vital, knowing I’ll be dragging around my backpack for seven weeks, the very VERY long flight with not one, but two overlays (first time ever), arriving in the afternoon heat, possible thunderstorms, trying to find the hotel, and meeting new people we may or may not come to know and like. It all seems like such an energy draining experience that I am tempted to say I’ll never go again after this trip.
But, this is the process. I recognise this friend. Protecting me from disappointment. From the inevitable negative side-effects of being a globetrotter.
Sometimes, long flights make you question the wisdom of deciding to see most of this beautiful planet. But, those flights have always taken me to the memories I will cherish the rest of my life.
Sometimes, I will get tired and dirty and there will be no possibility of taking a long hot shower before crashing into a crazy comfortable bed. That is part of the fun and adventure of going out into the wilder areas that I am craving more and more.
Sometimes I get anxious before big trips that I have been looking forward to for a long time. But, I never ever forget that these feelings pass as soon as we get to the airport.
These feelings pass and all that remains, is the gratification of satisfied wanderlust.