Sunday, May 20, 2012

Travel Fatigue, or Exhaustion, or Mentally Checking Out

Dublin -> Barcelona -> Paris -> Vienna -> Prague

Roughly 14 days.

That's a little less than 3 days a city.

My biggest problem with my recent jaunt to Europe was not so much the lack of time, but a lack of will. I spent the first half of the trip (which logged up to Paris on the above list) doing as much as possible. By the 6th or 7th day, I honestly wanted to curl up and not have the responsibility of doing everything I had said I'd do. There was just too much. I'm glad I cut Munich out of my trip - I don't even know where I would have fit it in.

It so happened that a lazy day in Vienna brought on by a previous late night with many drinks and laughs came as a welcome respite. By the time I got to Prague, I just wanted to wander around.

Still, I managed to get out and do most of what I had set out to do. Next time, I won't overload so much.

I'll have more on my trip later. For now I'm going to nurse my jet lag.

Monday, April 30, 2012

In Keeping With Theme (This Being Candid Reflection On Travel)

Here's a piece of advice for travelers: don't cut your trip short.

I mean it, damnit. Don't do it. Commit to a set amount of time and stick it out, unless you are in mortal danger, debt, or (serious, serious) doldrums.

You'll regret it otherwise.

Oh, you'll convince yourself that you made the right decisions for you, but deep down you'll know it's a half-truth. Eventually, the worm of regret will bore its way into your memories, feasting on the negative and leaving a trail of sunshine and sparkles (I'm not sure what kind of metaphor I've constructed here). Shortly: you'll idealize your trip and there's just no escaping it. Leaving a path early always means you're running from something, and at the very least you'll think less of yourself for not rising to the challenge. At worst, the creeping realization that you have missed out on one of life's great gifts (opportunity) will find its way into your quietest moments. Rain won't hit the pavement with the same satisfying patter as on the road. Food - bland at best in light of your foreign cuisine. Conversations about your experiences will always end with a faint air of discontent.

I'm projecting so hard I can hear cars pulling up around me for the drive-in movie.

Let me start over: my name is Adam and I should have gone back to Georgia.

Despite everything you've read here, I know now that I would have benefited from more time. I don't regret my move to Chicago - the city has been amazing to me. I've met incredibly people and started to piece things together. Found a job, found another apartment, found hobbies, payed rent. And I miss Virginia - my family, my home. But still.

I don't yearn to hop on a plane and land in Tbilisi two days later. I would probably still have moved to Chicago had I spent another couple of months in Georgia (could I make this any clearer, Chicago friends? I wouldn't trade you for anything). But I could have had that extra time in Sakartvelo. And I should have.

I regret cutting it short because it was the wrong decision masquerading as the correct one. I was scared, lonely, and far away from home. And yet, even as I felt those things, I was adjusting. I was making Georgia my home. I gave it up because I was short-sighted and homesick.

Fortunately, I didn't lose much on the deal. It was a life-changing experience that didn't end in death, disease, or total bankruptcy. Maybe it would've - but next time I'll wait it out.

Lesson learned.