March 3, 2010, Riverside
Tomorrow I begin my trip to Spain. I have not been outside of this country for about a year and a half–since the summer of 2008–so now I begin another adventure. Fear stopped me traveling last year. With the change in the economy the whole world has been holding its breath and I too fell under this negative influence. Now I have finally recovered my courage and I am ready to travel after so many months. My flight leaves from Los Angeles at about 8:30 in the evening and goes to London where I will transfer to another flight that goes to Madrid. I will arrive in Madrid about 24 hours after I leave. The actual flying time is about 14 hours, but since there is a nine hour time zone shift I will lose a whole day in travel. I love to fly and the second I step into an airport I get a rush of adrenaline. I get excited seeing people from all over the world and hearing different languages and seeing different forms of dress. Once I am on a jet, and I feel the plane leaving the ground, I leave my worries and responsibilities behind. I become free and I enter into a state of delight and adventure!
This trip is different from my last European trip. At that time I was away for almost three weeks and traveled to four countries, Britain, France, Greece and Turkey. This is just a short eight day trip where I will spend time in only one country, Spain. I am also traveling in the late winter, whereas my last trip was in the summer. This trip is therefore, an experiment, one week, one country and during the “off” season. In the past most of my trips have been about two weeks in length, which is about my limit of travel tolerance. After two weeks I just want to go home. It may turn out that an eight day trip is too short. We shall see. Right now I am feeling anxious. I call this “travel stage-fright” and it always happens to me just before a major trip, but I know that once I get going, this anxiety will vanish and I will quickly fall into my travel mode. Part of my anxiety arises from the fact that I know virtually no Spanish, but then again I have been to many countries where I know nothing of the language or even the writing system. Greece and Turkey were two good cases in point. At least in Spain I will be able to follow the alphabet. This trip is also based on my past experience that I should never travel on a Monday, which is my “hangover day” and that I should give myself a full two days to recover after the trip. In the past I have always squeezed every second of free time into travel time, but I have learned this is a big mistake.