I’m a troubled flyer.
I despise flying. This is something that developed over the years. In the beginning, I loved airports and flying and all the excitement about the place I was going to. This has changed. I’m not afraid the plane will crash, I never have. I’m just highly uncomfortable in confined spaces and I don’t do well with change in air pressure and lack of oxygen anymore.
To list a few delightful things that have happened to me on flights: I’ve thrown up and lost consciousness several times. I spent three panic attacks sitting in the hallway in front of the bathroom, sobbing with my head between my knees, refusing to go back to my seat.
On two separate occasions I’ve caused the staff to be so worried, they made the infamous “If there’s a doctor on board, please contact the staff“ announcement (no one did) and on my last long-distance flight I lost all feeling and agility in my legs (causing panic attack number three) and was stuck to an oxygen tank for a few hours.
I’m grateful I get to see amazing places in this world, but it’s often a struggle to get there.
Travel as a compensation for bad times.
When I, rather dramatically, got diagnosed with asthma three years ago, I genuinely thought my life would never be the same. My rocky recovery took about eight months and during this time, I envied my friends for living a care-free life and going on trips while I had to stay at home and rest.
After I finally got better, I felt like I had a lot of catching up to do. What followed were two and a half years traveling non-stop. Every term break and many weekends were spent traipsing all across Japan or other Asian countries. It became an obsession. An obsession to catch up on life and to live life while I still could, because I had experienced how damn quickly things can change.
Travel as a way of running away from problems.
I suspect this is true for many people, but it sure was for me. In the past two years, I ran away from a lot of things. Pressure at work, crazy neighbors, loneliness, depression. Going to a different place was like an escape. Leaving my worries behind and occupying my thoughts with new impressions let me be a different me for a while. Some people drink. I travel.
But like it was said at the end of Breakfast at Tiffany’s: “No matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.“ Every time I came back, I fell right back into a hole. And instead of dealing with my every day realities, I was already planning my next escape.
I’m tired of traveling.
I’ve been wanting to travel less for a while now, but haven’t done so yet. For some reason, I keep pushing on, when these days on my way to the airport, I can’t help but think: “I’d much rather turn around and just stay at home.“ I guess I still feel like I owe it to myself to make the most of my time while I’m healthy and able.
In fact, I’m traveling right now. I’m writing this on a coach halfway across Kyushu, the southern part of Japan. On the one hand I’m glad to be on this trip and getting to see more of this country that I love so much, but on the other hand, I’m counting down the days until I can go home. Because that’s really the place I want to be recently. At home, on my sofa, drinking tea. Super boring, but super happy.
And maybe it’s a good thing, not constantly wanting to run away anymore and instead putting my energy into continuously building a home.
Don’t get me wrong. I will travel again, probably sooner than later. But from now on, I want to do it for the right reasons. Until then, I’ll keep reliving all the past journeys by going through the gazillions of pictures I’ve taken, but believe it or not, never looked at.
You’re welcome to join me, if you like.