My New Travel Companions

I’ve picked up a couple of buddies for my journey. They have been a bit annoying, though, and I really would prefer they didn’t come along, but something tells me they’ll be making some appearances here and there. They showed up once our countdown timer dropped below 2 months. Β I figured it was short-lived, but no they decided they like hanging with me. Their names are Panic and Fear.

I should be excited, right? Embarking on an incredible adventure like we have planned. Of course! I’m VERY excited. But as it gets closer, I’m also getting nervous. Β If it was just me, I probably wouldn’t find myself with these particular companions. But I have a little life I’m also responsible for. Am I making the right choice for him? Sure it’s an opportunity many people wish they had had as kids, or even as an adult, but he isn’t a “typical” child.

I also ask myself regularly “Are you really sure you can pull this off?” We recently did a weeklong road trip, and it felt so good to come home, be in my own bed, use my own pillows. Β Can I really handle this nomad thing? What if I’m making a huge mistake by quitting my job, giving up my relatively cheap place to live, leaving all my support systems and comforts behind?

It isn’t to the point where I’m losing sleep. Yet. But we’re now officially less than a month away! That’s right, our countdown dropped to less than a month now. Talk about mixed emotions! I’ve talked to other traveling families, and they share similar feelings of anxiety, panic, you name it. And some other people who are newly on their RTW trip or are getting ready to go share similar emotions. Β But how do I get past it without freaking out and pulling the plug or radically changing the trip to be something less than what I really want for it?

So far what has worked is asking myself one important question: Will you regret it? Yes. Emphatically YES. If we don’t go on this trip or make it less than what we dream or hope, I will regret it for the rest of my life. I think this trip will irrevocably alter our lives (in a positive way) and give Tigger a life that I’m not even sure I can completely imagine. We get to make this trip what we want and have enough flexibility to alter things as we need or desire. Not doing it simply isn’t an option. At least not one I can live with. There’s absolutely no question that we proceed.

I’d still rather leave my two little friends behind, but I think we’ve come to some sort of an agreement: They can annoy me, but they won’t stop me. I can live with that.

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32 Comments

  1. Rest assured, your 2 little friends will quickly fall by the wayside, probably somewhere in the middle of the first plane ride. Trust your instincts, and hey, trust Tigger. You two are going to have a blast.

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    • I have a feeling they’ll return when he’s kiteboarding. Lol

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  2. I can understand how you feel. It’s an exciting experience to have but a huge change, which can be intimidating. Perhaps if you stay with a family at some point(s) along the way, homestay situation or otherwise, it might help you feel less nomadic and more ‘at home’ if you need or want that. When I did that in Jordan, it was great….made me feel comfortable.

    Just want to say that I admire you and I think this will be wonderful for both of you!

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    • Thank you! I thought as we’d get closer, I’d feel even more anxiety, but so far excitement is winning with only a fleeting, occasional visit from my annoying “friends.” πŸ™‚

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  3. Fear is only natural when making a big decision like this. Just keep on reminding yourself of why you want to do this and how you would regret it if you didn’t do it and you’ll stay right on track. I know that when I start to doubt or fear a big decision, I just look into the future and imagine myself regretting how I let fear make my decisions for me. It always works.

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    • Once I ask myself if I’ll regret it, that’s the end of the discussion
      usually.

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  4. You will get over the anxiety. It’s the best thing you’ll ever do, something most people never get to do, so I think stay focused on that, and just roll with the anxiety.

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    • I’m rolling with it. Just not enjoying it. πŸ™‚

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  5. It’s totally natural to feel this way before your journey. My wife and I felt so many of the same emotions before our RTW, and we didn’t have any children with us, so I’m sure that adds a whole new layer. I can assure you, though, once you arrive at your first destination, all those fears and doubts will be gone. And they’ll be replaced by the best feelings in the world–FREEDOM and EXCITEMENT!! I know right now it’s hard to envision, but once you’re gone, you’ll laugh at all the doubt and concerns you had. It WILL be the experience of a lifetime, for both you and your son, and you’re going to love every minute of it (well, maybe not EVERY minute, but the vast majority of them). πŸ™‚

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    • Glad you caught yourself, because I was going to say “EVERY minute?” I don’t think so. LOL

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  6. Meh, you’re just a normal parent going on a long trip. Get over it. πŸ™‚
    Ok, so I haven’t been on as long of a trip, but what helped for my month in Africa with my daughter (besides having a friend along) was concentrating on the details to distract myself from the unneeded emotions. Not to say emotions are unneeded, but if they aren’t helping, it’s just your mind playing tricks on you. Have you done your due diligence? Have you prepared for reasonable precautions? Do you have an escape plan (read: cash enough to buy a one way ticket home)?
    If so, spend some time getting out of your mind and do something that is engrossing to you. Escape into a movie if need be. But worrying, another word for fear that is based on nothing really happening right now, isn’t going to help.

    The other thing to do when panic kicks in is fight back. Stare it in the eye and ask what is there to actually be panicked about. Keep drilling down and you’ll likely find all your worries are phantoms. You’re safe and in your home. On the road, you’ll be safe and in spot X. The scenery will change and the people and the language, but your state of mind doesn’t have to. Right now you’re dealing with the unknown. Soon it will be known and you’ll realize your panic was pretty damn silly.

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    • That’s why I use my gold standard question: Will I regret it if I don’t? Nips it in the bud. πŸ™‚

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  7. We’re also approaching our departure date, and those friends of yours have been visiting me too! It’s normal I suppose…all the ‘what ifs’ and questions about the wisdom behind it all.

    But we regret more the things we did not do then the ones we did, right? πŸ™‚

    Carpe diem!!

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  8. Some folks leave home and just never seem to move back….I left in August of 1972 and have been living overseas since…you may end up just like that….a citizen of the world, I still keep my Stars and Stripes with me though…panic and fear got bored and left about 30 + years ago.

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    • That’s pretty much the plan. I think home for us won’t be even close to the
      one we leave behind.

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  9. Well, once you get to Asia, you two are always welcome to come bunk in with us if you need to recharge batteries, calm panic and fear, be with people who speak similar to you and eat some of the same types of food, have animals, dogs and cats for comfort, and generally get back to calm if things get to be too much. The door is open, the guest room is vacant and the food is in the fridge….we’re an email, FB, phone call away.
    You are doing the right thing and because Stevie is special, the trip will be worth while in a forever sorta of way…we look forward to meeting you guys once you get settle in Thailand…

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    • We both look forward to it!

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  10. I love that you are taking this trip and giving your son this amazing experience. I can imagine your panic and fear but I *envy* your courage and faith.

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  11. TMI incoming: Immodium and I are like this (*crosses fingers*) right now. If you get wrecked like I do when you get nervous, just be prepared. I’ll be sending good thoughts your way as you get closer to embarking on your trip. <3

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    • I thought of you and your tummy when writing this. Luckily my digestive system doesn’t respond quite like yours. But we still have 3 weeks to go before we’re as close as you are! Not looking forward to that last week. Not. At. All.

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  12. i really like this – because nothing, no journey, is ever perfect. i think your regret question is just brilliant (and perfect for any major life decisions)…

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    • Thanks! My personal & family motto has become Live without regrets! so I find it applies very well to that. Sure does make decision-making easier.

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  13. Asking yourself the question “Will I regret it?” is a really great way to figure out what your heart truly wants. When we started our trip I was terrified of how much I knew our entire lives would change, but I also knew it would be more terrifying to live with regret my entire life if we didn’t do it. So…. into the RV we went. πŸ˜›

    I can’t believe your trip starts in less than a month, though. Good luck on all those final preparations, and not letting your new friends bug you too much! πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks! My personal and family motto is Live without regrets! So that question is a natural for me. Like you said, I didn’t want to be on my death bed looking back and kicking myself because I succumbed to Panic & Fear.

      Your trip definitely has a cool edge to it! Touring the continents in an RV. . . Just freakin awesome!

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  14. I feel your pain. Although I’m not going on a RTW trip, I am moving to Prague at the beginning of August — and trust me, plan to do plenty of traveling within Eastern Europe and beyond as long as I’m abroad.

    BUT. When I let myself think about it, when I let those emotions in, sheer panic and fear pop up and sometimes it overwhelms me completely. The thought of saying goodbye to best friends, my precious family, everyone? Ugh. It’s terrifying. Especially the thought of walking away from them in the airport.

    But I’m right there with you. If I chose not to do this I would regret it for the rest of my life. And honestly, that knowledge and simply knowing I’m making a decision that will change my life forever is the only thing that’s giving me the power to keep preparing for my move and my adventures abroad. πŸ™‚

    I just found your blog today via twitter, and I’m excited to get caught up on archives and read more! Hang in there. I’m sure your journey will be an undeniably incredible thing.

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    • So glad you found us and how exciting about Prague! Maybe we’ll run into each other somewhere in the world. πŸ™‚

      I can completely see how you’d be getting the same companions as me. What a huge change for you.

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  15. Oh dear – you mean those two pesky companions only get WORSE as departure drawers nearer? Shoot, I’ve already met them with 6 months to go. ;(

    Indeed, just READING your post brought them out and they’re presently leaning over my shoulder. I could feel the dread and adrenalin rise up before I even got to your third paragraph. Ugh!

    Ah but, like you – I’ve already reached the point of no return. I simply MUST go through w/ my move to Vietnam, else regret that I chickened out for the rest of my life.

    Hang in there, Talon. We’re not the first to get cold feet before leaping off the proverbial (major travel) cliff (nor will we be the last.) Funny, but it seems those who have take that leap – pretty much all say it was the very BEST thing they ever did, yes?

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    • I remember Nancy Vogel (@FamilyOnBikes) talking about this as well. She said she felt like she was jumping off a cliff. Now that they’re amazing journey is complete, she looks back and thinks “Wow, that was easy!” I’m looking forward to that stage. I know the “What the hell was I thinking?” moments will come and go once we’re actually en route, but I’m hoping they are fewer and far between as you go along. The others tell me this is the case so I have hope. LOL

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  16. Beautifully written, Talon…. wonderfully expressed and very understandable that you have these two new “travel companions!” Hasn’t one of your life mottoes been something about living a life with no regrets? If so, you’re doing it! Thank so much for sharing yourself so generously, Talon!

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    • Yes, Live without regrets! is my personal and family motto. That’s exactly what made me ask the question. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your kind words. Appreciate them!

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