An Ode to Pre-trip Anxiety
One of my favorite YouTube clips in college was this montage of the muppet Beaker…singing…(Beaker-ing?).”Ode to Joy” to the rhythm of a metronome. The screen is split into six sections and as the song goes on, each Beaker is added to the harmony. Not long after, one Beaker’s glass breaks, the metronome starts speeding up and pretty soon the other Beaker's violin is smoking, all of them start twitching as they try to keep the pace. Soon, things catch fire and the world comes crashing down as he ultimately electrocutes himself.
You can imagine how this imagery relates to grad school, but unfortunately it’s how I am starting to feel planning all of the things!
Now, don’t get me wrong, the dreaming is exciting but it’s not easy to uproot your life. My to-do list of yesterday led to an emotional (and now confirmed, hormonally-related) breakdown. I was going to the dentist, paying off all bills, closing unused accounts, dealing with Verizon, figuring out durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, selling stuff, selling car, getting the run around with insurance, post office visits (which for some reason I find crippling). And these aren’t even related to the actual details of the move itself! Or the few domestic adventures I’ve planned before I leave.
Coming up first is a 12-day, solo, self-guided bikepacking trip from Victoria, B.C. to Portland in September. New Zealand was initially going to be a full-on bicycle tour but the plan morphed into something else instead. However, I still wanted to try my hand at bikepacking. “Why?” you ask? At this point, I don’t even know. I thought the idea of it sounded fun and challenging. The scenery looks beautiful and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do something totally out of my comfort zone. Ya know, aside from the whole moving to another country thing. Ugh but now I’m also battling an onslaught of fears and self-doubt which include the following melodies:
-You have never biked that long, what are you thinking?
-Can you even remember how to change a flat? You don’t really know that much about biking.
-What if you get hit by a car and get so hurt you can’t move to NZ?
-What if you slip on the rainy road and get hurt and can’t move to NZ?
-Basically any injury that would cause long enough damage to interfere with moving to NZ.
-What if someone attacks you?
-What if you freeze to death at night?
-What if you get lost?
-What if you keep getting flats because your bike can’t take your gear AND your plus-size arse (yup, now I’ve begun to mix in some body shaming)
-You don’t know what to do in the rain, you see it twice a year.
-No one can rescue you if you get stuck
-Do you really know what you’re getting into?
-This is too much for you
-You aren’t x, y, z enough
…..and on and on and ON!!!!
It also doesn’t help when half of the people I talk to reinforce how scared they are that I'm not capable and that the world is a big, bad place.
But I know this isn’t true. I am one of the most capable people I know. I can do hard things. I have done hard things already. If the worst happens, it happens and I won’t be able to anything else but accept that and move on. Also, most people are good at best and neutral at worst. At least, this has been my experience.
At the end of the day, I have committed to do something that scares me, so naturally I want to avoid it. I felt similarly before I left for Europe on my first trip ever. I almost cancelled it!. It was the same with a study abroad in Jerusalem two years after that. And again with almost every endeavor I’ve undertaken since then. So instead of cancelling this trip and giving into my fears, I will face the uncertainty. Chances are, it’s going to be magic!