Monday, April 21, 2008


Last week, when I went out to lunch with Sailor, I talked about the time I went for a long trip (three months) to Europe on my own. I went a few months after I officially graduated from college, though it had been almost a year since I'd taken any classes.

It was an interesting but difficult trip. Much of the time, I was on my own and was incredibly lonely. It was not the fun, freewheeling affair that I'd hoped for. At 21-years-old, I did not fully appreciate the freedom that solo travel afforded, though that was exactly why I'd gone on my own. A couple of years earlier, I'd gone on a trip through school, and hated the group aspect of it. I was determined to make my own adventure--really see and experience the places that I visited--and go at my own pace. In that, I largely succeeded, but I was not very happy in the process.

I am a better solo traveler these days, as my trip to Peru a few years ago proved. But that was a 20-day trip, not a six month long relocation. It shouldn't surprise me that I am terrified at the prospect of going to Paris.

When I talked to Sailor about that trip of long-ago, I lost track of the point I was trying to make. This is the point: the few weeks before my trip, when I was packing and finalizing arrangements (I gave up my apartment and stored things around town, with friends), I was consumed with misery. I dreaded the trip. I fell into a mad crush with a guy I barely knew. (He was the roommate of a guy I dated a few times.) Man. While I was on that trip, I made lots of phone calls from pay phones and phone offices to my mom. I called Audrey a few times. I also wrote a bunch of letters (ah, the old days!)...and most of them went to that guy. Um...whoops.

When I got back, I was embarrassed. It was clear that the guy was not interested in being my boyfriend (foolish man) and I'd exposed myself to him. We went to lunch one day and I awkwardly apologized and asked him to just forget what I'd written. He was quite kind and assured me I'd done nothing worrisome. Hmm...I wonder what happened to that guy?

Anyway. Still not the point. See, this is what I do when I don't want to talk about something. I digress. I distract with (entertaining?) vignettes. I don't get to the point.

The point: I'm scared. I don't want to go. It's too hard. What if I don't like it? What if I'm bored? What if I'm so lonely it keeps me from enjoying myself? What if I don't write? What if what I write is crap? What if I don't have enough money? What if...what if...what if...

I'm lucky. Things have been going great. I'm a planner and my planning has paid off. I can do this trip and still have money left over. I SHOULD go. But do I have to? Do I want to? I like my house so well, and it's so snug, and I'll miss the cat...and my friends (!)...and it's so easy to be here, to stay here....

Change, even luxurious, indulgent, only-available-to-the-privileged-few change is hard. Change is hard, but is it good?

Grateful for: change.

PS Sorry, didn't meant to be a tease about Sailor. The verdict: friendship. That's a good thing.

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