Monday, July 12, 2010

Post travel blues

Good morning,

Wow, Cierra blogged! I think going to London, Paris, New York, Zurich, Madrid, Rome, Barcelona, Dublin, etc.. Would be a great adventure. In Paris we met a young Korean woman who was doing this sort of trip, seeing the big European cities. So go Cierra!! So glad I was able to start you on a life of travel.

Today is Monday, July 11th

I woke up today feeling inexplicably but intensely sad. I think this is probably partly due to the fact that I am still adjusting to being back, and feeling out of sorts and disoriented. Trying to reconnect with friends, and also with myself. Trying to reconcile all the things I went through for the past month, and to process the emotions that were most likely on hold while I was in travel and survival mode.

I think I had tremendous fear about my trip. Mostly related to the financial part of it. I’m just beginning to sift through the layers of this and how it took over my life for at least the past 9 months! But the fear was not only about this trip. It has to do with much older issues about me and survival, and my ability to be successful, a "real" grown-up, etc.. I think I mentioned in a few blogs that during some of the lower points on the trip I felt like a failure. But I wasn’t really failing at anything specific. It was more a sense that when things were hard I blamed myself and was sure that there was something I should have done differently or better in order to have avoided the mistakes or the negative experience. It also seemed to me that if I had more money, I could just hop in a taxi, travel first class, buy an expensive dinner instead of walking a mile to a cheaper place, stay in a four star hotel that was more conveniently located.. When I was not able to stick to the spending plan I had for the trip, this was proof to me that I was failing and that I probably should not have taken my daughter to Europe in the first place. And there were so many little things I had not anticipated. In retrospect, aside from a few emergencies and the food expenses being so high, I did okay. But I ended up using a credit card at the very end and this was not part of my plan. I will be able to pay it all off within 2-3 months, but the point is that the fear I had about the finances in the first place made it harder for me to even go to Europe without having a credit card as a back-up, and using credit cards is not something I do in my life anymore.

Where the fear set in was throughout this past year trying to save for this trip, but really struggling to do so. When I would tell people I was going to Italy and France, I had this sense of them thinking I must have a LOT of money, and therefore I didn’t deserve to complain about my money stress. But the truth is, it WAS too much for me to do financially right now in my life. I see now that I handled the fear and the planning for the trip in what is typical fashion for me. I try to force solutions to all the things I’m afraid of, but in doing so, I don’t have an open mind, and then I get myself into more difficult circumstances. So, for example, when I got advice to possibly shorten the trip, I was stubborn and didn’t want to do this. In the end, I was so exhausted and ready to come home by then end of June, it really would have been fine to come home then. (A week early). We would not have seen Paris, but there could have been other times in life to go to Paris! And I also think in terms of negative absolutes – “this will be the last time in my life I’ll ever get to go to Europe, because I will grow old alone and poor” – is a typical way of thinking for me. Sad, but too often true.

I don’t write this to beat up on myself more, but to try to learn from this and to assess why I am so sad today. Cierra went river rafting with her dad, and I’m alone with my morning, my cats, and my intense emotions. Listening to Jack Johnson, sipping tea. The learning continues, even back here at home.

Last night I went to visit my brother and sister-in-law in Berkeley. I sat with my little niece and nephew and watched a movie, cuddled up on the couch with them. I think it was the safest and most comforted I have felt in a long time, holding their little bodies and smelling the baby's little head (you know that baby head smell?). I suppose another part of this sadness is just being alone, not having someone to talk to before I go to bed at night or when I wake up in them morning. So for now, my blogging is my way to be less alone, to talk to and connect with you all, and to share some of this soul struggle of a life lesson. I hope my mood will lighten soon, and I will be able to focus on positives and to go through my life lessons with grace.


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