Why I’m an Anxious Traveler

I consider myself a pretty level-headed, calm, able-to-hide-emotions-especially-when-I’m-freaking-out-about-something person.  I can (usually) keep my true worries, paranoias, freak-outs to myself so as not to drag people into the jungle that is called my brain.

However, when it comes to traveling, all of this just flies out the window. And not car traveling. For the most part, you can control car traveling. I’m talking specifically public transportation.

Don’t jump to conclusions—I love riding the metro and bus in the D.C. sense. I’m a huge supporter of

My favorite travel buddy. On the bus to Delhi from Jaipur.

D.C.’s accessibility via the handy-dandy color coded DC metro system. And no matter what Rahul says, I did not get us lost on the metro last year while attending his sister’s wedding (maybe…).

But add in time constrictions to my love of public transportation and that love quickly turns into anxiety. This anxiety is probably due to my semi-control issues. I like to plan out my days to the enth degree. If I’m going to be at the airport, I want to know what I’ll be doing for every minute that I’m there before I arrive. Simply said, I’m a planner.

This anxiety is also due to a fear of not being on time for something and then having to miss, say, an important flight. I was a wreck when my flight to India was delayed, and delayed, and delayed, amid announcements that the flight was overbooked. I was worried that would give my seat away until I realized I had one of those tickets that already had my seat number listed on the ticket. But at the same time, the nervousness of arriving late to a place where I only had a set amount of time to visit was too much for my little over-working brain to handle.

There's quite no airport like the Leh-Ladakh airport.

To add to that, I did miss a flight once due to traffic. I attended the Sigma Tau Delta conference in 2007 and we missed our original flight (Nashville to Pittsburgh) because of a ridiculous accident on I-40 that made us miss the flight by about 20 minutes. We caught a plane the next morning and everything turned out fine, but still—you don’t come back from that.

Originally my friend Rachel was going to drive me to the airport for my 10:15 AM flight,  which provided me with enough worries as it was in determining what time to leave for the airport. After she moved her own flight to 6:45 AM the same day due to weather concerns (it was supposed to be bad weather in TN too, I always seem to return home on crappy weather days), I either had to leave College Park at 4:30 AM to ride to the airport with Rachel or risk the B30 bus, which runs from the Greenbelt metro to the airport.

I say risk because busses can run late, can over-fill, can run early, can run late, can anything. I felt more

Since I took no pictures in transit from Maryland to Tennessee, enjoy this picture taken in transit from Delhi to Ladakh.

secure in relying on Rachel to get me to the airport and, even though I find her to be a good friend, the sudden prospect of being at the airport for five hours did not excite me.

So what did I do? I trusted the B30 bus. And for all my travel anxieties, everything turned out fine. Cassie drove me to the bus stop, the bus arrived on time, and I arrived on time—really good time—at the airport. The plane left on time, delivering me to a place (home) I only have a few days to visit before returning home, just like my India plane eventually delivered me safely and relatively on time.

Still, the anxious travel me will take a long time to quell. The Katherine that was worried the old-as-heck taxi driver in Agra was purposefully trying to make Rahul and I miss our train ride back to Delhi just because he was driving so slow (only for the train to be late) will probably be the Katherine traveler I am for a very long time.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Hope all your holiday travels go well. : )

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