My trip to Mexico is less than three weeks away and I’m starting to get nervous. I have spent most of my adult life looking for travel opportunities, encouraging others to travel and study abroad and finding ways for my own children to leave town to explore the world around them. Why is it then, that I am experiencing pangs of serious anxiety any time I think about my upcoming trip to Mexico?
First and foremost, I am not young anymore. The last time I spent more than a week abroad was when I was 20 years old and an undergrad at Xavier University. I was not yet a full-fledged, contributing member of society. I had not ever contributed to a retirement account, purchased a home or put an offspring on a kindergarten bus. Heck, I had never even paid for my own car insurance. I had never lived in my own space and therefore, had not become attached to all of the creature comforts that I consider indispensible today. Things like my neck support pillow, my bottomless bottle of ibuprofen, my super comfy (yet definitely not for public viewing) pajamas or my favorite coffee mug had not yet become part of my life. When you travel abroad and live in an unfamiliar place, you have to give up certain comforts. My 20 year old self didn’t care about things like neck support. My 20 year old self didn’t even drink coffee yet. The idea of sharing a bedroom with complete strangers while living in Cuernavaca the first time around was viewed as an adventure. Today, it gives me heart palpitations. Will I snore? Will I be able to fall asleep? Will I like my roommates? In 1991, I was thrilled to have a house-mom who cooked for me. Now, I have serious dietary issues and worry about the amount of fat, sugar and calories I will be eating while in Mexico. I know how certain foods affect my energy level and my moods. Boy, I have become high maintenance in my middle age!
Does that mean I can’t fully embrace this experience? I ask myself this every day as I prepare to take this trip. My response is that I plan to work very hard to get past my insecurities about this trip. My true hope is that this trip will rejuevenate me as a teacher, a wife and a mother. That is why I want this. I’m just going to have to get over myself and accept that nothing worth having comes without a little discomfort in the process.