Where am I now?

As you can see, this blog hasn't gotten any love in many years... But you can now find me on my site jessicatravels.com.

23 July 2008

I'm really not a very good traveler sometimes

Honestly, as much as I love being in other places and experiencing different cultures, there's plenty about traveling that really just bothers me. I hate travel days, for instance, the actual days when you're moving from Point A to Point B - especially (actually, almost exclusively) when it involves air travel.

For starters, I think I kind of suck at packing, and not in the way you might expect. I'm so insanely good at cramming bits & bobs into all the nooks & crannies of my suitcases that I end up "being able" to get way more into my bags than I really need to be bringing. And what's even worse is that when I'm done packing, my first reaction is to look at my open & fully packed suitcase and think, "Wow, I'm good." It's like this beam of light shines down on the bag, and a chorus of angels comes over a loudspeaker, and I hear, "She beheld the packing job and - lo! - it was good" in a big booming voice in my head. The beam of light and chorus of angels go away as soon as I have to pick said bag off the floor and carry it up or down a flight of stairs. Then I curse myself under my breath, wishing I hadn't packed so much crap.

Problem #2 about air travel days is the airport itself. While I still get a thrill about entering an airport, knowing that I'm going to go to bed in a different place than I woke up that morning, the thrill leaves pretty quickly. Basically, as soon as I have to start stripping off my belt, shoes, coat, and any other random metal pieces of jewelry at the security gate. I've gotten better about this process, in that I no longer feel compelled to have all of my stuff ready to go onto the conveyor belt in the specified plastic bins in the oh-so-short time it takes me to get from the pile of bins to the metal detector. I used to get really freaked out that I was holding up the line behind me, but now I just tell people to go around me if I'm still fumbling with my laptop or if I've stupidly put a double-knot in my shoelaces that day. But still.

Then there's my seemingly pathological need to be at any appointment (and I'm including flights in this category) insanely early. I tend to get just about anywhere I'm supposed to be going at least 10 minutes before I really need to be there, and it can be up to an hour if I don't know the area well. On the one hand, this means that I'm almost never late for stuff, and that theoretically it gives me time in the airport to relax and not feel like I'm running to catch a flight last minute. On the other hand, however, this also means that I'm stuck in an airport for way more time than I really need to be there. And if that airport doesn't have free WiFi (*cough* SFO *cough*), then I'm also stuck paying a few bucks to turn my computer into something that'll keep me entertained for all the extra time I've ended up sticking myself with at the airport.

I used to be able to sleep on planes, and I seem to have lost that gift. So that's another problem. I find myself sitting nearly bolt upright (and that's with the seat back fully reclined, of course), staring at whatever the nearest video screen is and watching whatever's on it, no matter how horrible. I eat the often-inedible stuff they put in front of me, and I barely move - this despite usually getting my requested aisle seat. All this means I arrive at my destination bleary eyed, exhausted, disoriented, and with a really short fuse. Of course, in one of those cruel jokes likes to play, I'm usually able to sleep on the way back home - but those are the flights that are almost always at night, when I'd rather be staying awake so that I can sleep when I get into my own bed. Yeah, those are the flights when I doze off in spite of myself. Go figure.

What I'm saying here is that I'm not a very good traveler sometimes, and that I don't always like the travel part of a trip. But even with all of that, if you dangle the promise of a plane ticket in front of my nose, I'll salivate like a rabid dog. It's like in that moment I forget all the stuff I actually hate about travel, which is good, because if I didn't I might never go anywhere again.

Wow, I'm going to have to bite my own tongue for even saying that now.

Anyway, the point here is that while I'm not so bad as to be a travel writer who hates to travel (a-la "Accidental Tourist"), you can definitely add my name to what I imagine is already a long list of people who love travel but really hate travel days.

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