Wednesday, January 5, 2011

we plan...

                                                         (god laughs)

You know people who say things like ‘if it’s meant to be, it will be’ or ‘it will all work out for the best’? I am not one of those people. Or rather I may say those phrases but not with any conviction. What I actually mean when I say the former is ‘this is totally out of my control and it sucks’ and the later ‘I am pretty sure this is all going to be a disaster but I need to lie to myself right now to quell the panic’.  I know some people say these things and really mean them and you know what? I hate those people.
In truth I am a planner. I don’t mean that to say that I am a good planner, just that I am incapable of blithely going forward without plans and feeling even a little bit okay with that. I make plans and then usually once the plans are made, worry that they won’t work out you know, as planned.
Once in a blue moon I have sparkling moments of live and let live but they are fleeting. I had to plan my trip to Argentina bit by bit because the sheer anxiety of so many details would just overwhelm me if I did it all at once. A trip like this entails a thousand ‘what-ifs’ and unexpected difficulties and expenses at every turn.
I don’t know yet what shape this trip will take; what it will mean for my life at this particular moment. Will it be more Eat Pray Love or Vicky Christina Barcelona? (As long as Javier shows up amirite?) At this point I’m just hoping it’s not Brokedown Palace. There are some certainties: that it will be exciting and at times scary, that I will have difficulties with the language that will be both frustrating and hilarious, that I will eat steak, that I will meet some amazing new people and that I will at times feel really alone. It is certain that somehow, some way I will be changed when I return. This is the promise is it not? Why go abroad otherwise.  
The truth is no amount of planning or preparation can protect you from the future. The future is always unknown. Not that it keeps me from worrying about it.
Are you a go-with-the-flow person or a worrywart?


  1. You probably wouldn't enjoy traveling with me then. I've been known to fly off to places without knowing where I'll stay. It's only backfired once, when I had to sleep in the car in a rest area off the autobahn in Germany. I don't look at tour guides until I've been somewhere for a least a day. I've gotten lost numerous times but found the most charming places... I did go through a period of worrywart but hope I'm outgrowing it again. I wish you a wonderful adventure.

  2. Yeah, I'm like Deb. I want a general destination and enough money to cover most eventualities. Beyond that, I'd rather just wander.

    (Deb, those autobahns ... I've never seen a traffic jam anything like the staus in Germany. Hours and hours ...)

  3. I WANT to be a planner. I try. I make noises in that direction. But mostly I just do the bare minimum and hope that everything will fall into place.

    That does not mean I'm not a worrywart. I've got that talent in spades.

  4. when i do quick trips by myself i make sure i have a place to stay and something to write with and that's about it. family trips are just the opposite. i map out walking paths, i find restaurants that have kids-eat-free nights and determine how long it will take to get from where we are staying to where we are eating to the nearest ice cream shop. i make a list of emergency phone numbers.

    argentina...can you smell my jealousy? are you going to read jenny sanford's novel on the plane ride there? (probably not, but that's straight where my mind went.) i can't wait to read about you in argentina.