I’m going out on a limb here and writing outside of my normal Sunday scheduled post.
In about 24 hours, I’m going to board a bus that will take me to New York City. From there, in my anxiety-riddled, sleep-deprived state, I will attempt to make my way to JFK Airiport and board a plane bound for London, England.
Most of my posts over the last few weeks and months have been about or mentioned this trip, and while I’m sure my readers are tired of hearing about it and all the simultaneous excitement and anxiety it’s caused, I’m fully aware that if I were someone who didn’t have anxiety, this trip would barely have been a blip on my radar until the last few days before departure.
That being said, I’ve been thinking a lot about big trips recently – not vacations, but trips that people take when they’re moving their whole lives across continents and oceans. When I think about the strength and courage it took for people who have made these moves, I’m overwhelmed.
Less than a hundred years ago, my great-grandfather came to the US from Czechoslovakia in his early twenties. He hardly had any money and didn’t have anyone here to greet him once he’d crossed the Atlantic. He couldn’t read reviews on TripAdvisor about where he’d be staying and he couldn’t Google Map the city he was bound for.
Yet he came anyway. Despite the potential dangers of boat travel, the threat of disease, the intimidating process of immigration and the possibility of discrimination, he came. Him and millions of other immigrants made what must have been a harrowing and at times terrifying journey across the sea to a place they had never seen before, and they did it on mostly blind faith. Without the convenience of information at their fingertips or the reassurance of swift communication via phone or email, they risked everything to fulfill their dreams and make a better life.
While my one week vacation to London certainly isn’t as huge as all that, it is certainly a lifelong dream, and it’s definitely tested my strength and coping mechanisms when it comes to anxiety. But I’m trying to call on the valor of my ancestors by staring that fear in the face and going for it anyway. I’ve stalked our hotel on TripAdvisor, I’ve peppered my sister and friend about international travel and navigating NYC, and I’ve got a mental map of London in the back of my mind.
I don’t know how I’m going to get through this last day of work tomorrow with any sort of productive focus. I don’t know if I’ll sleep well on the bus or plane (or even at all). I don’t know how easy or difficult it’s going to be to get from the Manhattan bus station to JFK. I don’t know how our flight will go and I don’t even know if we’ll like the city of London at all.
But finding out will definitely be an adventure I look forward to sharing.