Getting there is NOT half the fun
I love to travel. I love arriving in a new place. But the actual traveling part is enough to give even the most balanced mind anxiety, so the idea of boarding a bus, plane, or train and going into uncharted territory is the perfect storm that will inevitably send my overactive brain into an Olympic-sized pool of “what ifs?” Besides being blessed/cursed with such an overactive imagination, I am fidgety, clumsy, and I pee, like, every hour. That being said, traveling a long distance can be rough for me.
But, um, my husband and I just booked a flight to London. Holy shit.
Making it Happen
We’ve both always wanted to visit Europe, but of course, there are obstacles. The first is finances – flying from our small city of Pittsburgh to anywhere overseas is absurdly expensive (flying from Pittsburgh International to London will cost one person at least $1100, and you’ll have a nonsensical layover in, like, LA or Chicago). The second obstacle would be the 8+ hour flight. For someone who has to take a Xanax or three to weather a two hour flight to Florida, I literally cannot even fathom being on a plane for as long as I’m at my desk job all day. Speaking of work, here’s the third obstacle – my employer’s policy is that I can only take one week off of work at a time, regardless of how much PTO I have. Considering getting to and from Europe is going to take a day or two each way, this only leaves a four or five days to actually enjoy any destination.
But 2017 was all about conquering fears, tackling obstacles, and finally doing things that I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m happy to say that’s carrying over to 2018! (Besides, my aforementioned employer also gave all of its employees a small bonus as a result of the Orange Lord’s tax plan, and I can’t think of a better way to use it than spending it in another country. Tee-hee).
I almost can’t believe we actually have flights booked to London. While we’d been talking about a trip for a few weeks, we weren’t planning on purchasing plane tickets until we could narrow down a date and, um, get the vacation time approved at work.
But last Friday, we popped onto Norwegian Air’s website to check the flight price trends, and stumbled upon airfare for about $600 per person. And even though we’ll have to travel from Pittsburgh to New York and fly out of JFK, we couldn’t pass it up. So a few clicks later, our flights were reserved. And here’s where the “what ifs” started. What if I couldn’t get those exact dates approved off by my GM? (worse case scenario = we have to change the flight dates, costing $100 per person. Manageable.)
And this “what if” opened up the flood gates to all the other worries that have popped into my head along with the excitement of heading to Europe for the first time. Some of them are simultaneously hilarious and ridiculous, but some are serious questions. So if you’ve traveled to Europe, or particularly to London, feel free to comment! (Shout out to my sister L, who’s been to London, and to my friend K who’s visited Italy, Ireland, and Thailand and helped out with my most rudimentary questions).
What if . . .
The plan is to leave Pittsburgh at 10pm Friday night on a Greyhound bus and arrive in New York around 6am. This will give us plenty of time to get to JFK. But what if I can’t sleep on the bus? What if the bus breaks down? What if I’m a zombie by the time we arrive in NYC? What if we can’t navigate our way to the airport? What if we end up at LaGuardia instead?
What’s it like going through customs? What if I get detained by immigration because of a paperwork error and my story ends up as a Lifetime movie?
How should I dress once we’re in London? I know tennis shoes and baseball hats are off limits and automatically peg you as a tourist. Any recommendations for comfortable but stylish walking shoes?
Is English food really as terrible as everyone says? Cause I get hangry pretty easily.
Is using the tube or other public transportation confusing? Expensive? Keep in mind I’ve gotten lost multiple times within a fifty mile radius of my own house.
What if some vengeful spirit attaches itself to me when visiting the Tower of London? (seeing this place and Westminster Abbey/ Queen Elizabeth the I’s tomb are HUGE bucket list items for me and I want to cry tears of joy just thinking about standing where so many amazing women stood).
Everyone says to sleep on the bus/plane. But I don’t sleep well in a sitting position. And, um, I snore. Pretty loudly. Any recommendations for curing this embarrassing qualm would be greatly appreciated.
Is jet lag going to ruin our trip? Are we going to be exhausted upon our return that I won’t be able to function at work the following Monday?
Are five days really enough to see plenty of London?
What if I get a blood clot from sitting on a plane for eight hours straight?
Will our cell phones work overseas? What if my husband and I get separated from each other?
And last but not least, what if Platform 9 ¾ doesn’t actually take us to Hogwarts?
Seriously, guys. I haven’t been this excited or nervous for anything in years! I hope the traveling goes as smoothly as possible, and I cannot wait to blog about my first trip “across the pond!”