Do you remember Debbie Downer? Anyone who’s talked to me lately might notice a striking resemblance between me and that down-in-the-dumps SNL character made famous by Rachel Dratch. I’m hoping it’s a case of that old adage,”it’s always darkest just before the dawn,” but everything seems to be getting me down these days. Pervasive news reports of the sinking dollar are depressing. As I was reading my Lonely Planet Portugal guidebook a few days ago, I couldn’t help but balk at the price of the “budget” accomodations; then I realized they would certainly be considered budget by euro currency standards. News of South American skirmishes has also planted doubts squarely in my mind — what if we have to circumvent our travels to Ecuador? World events can change on a dime, and I realize we might have to alter our itinerary at a moment’s notice at any point on this trip, potentially nixing a location we’ve dreamed about visiting for years. Maikael was incredibly sick last night, possibly a side effect of all these vaccinations, which doesn’t bode well for the next three weeks of upcoming shots. And the last week was filled with continued frustration over the purchase of our plane ticket. By Wednesday I was beginning to doubt if it would ever happen at all. I never knew something so simple could be so complicated.
I am a worrier, no doubt about it. In order to stay sane on this trip I will have to exercise, as the Thai say, mai pen lai, which literally translates as “never mind.” In other words, I’ve got to let it go. Perhaps this emotional roller coaster ride is strength training for the journey ahead? I had another dream about the trip this week. My leg had been run over by a train, and when I got to the clinic, I had to wait hours to be seen by a doctor. Why? A bunch of people ahead of me needed vaccinations. When I was finally seen by a doctor, he prophetically proclaimed, ” Your leg is broken.” “I know that,” I said, “that’s why I’m here.” As the doctor ensconsed my leg in a cast, he said, “You won’t be able to get around well for eight weeks.” It was then that I realized that our trip started in a week. A wave of panic washed over me. What would we do? I woke up, reeling from the dream, and spent the next few days trying to sort out its meaning. There are the obvious themes of the need for patience, as well as the worry and anxiety that are bombarding my subconscious, a sense that catastrophe is lurking around every corner. But more importantly, legs, in dreams, symbolize our perceived support and strength. Clearly, I am feeling emotionally run over, flattened, broken.
If I competed in track and field events I would be a sprinter, not a long-distance runner. I am nothing but enthusiasm incarnate at the beginning of a race, attacking the field with gusto. But I quickly peter out, spewing a plume of spent energy in my wake. A task like planning a round-the-world trip requires the tenacity of a marathon runner; someone who races at a steady pace. I am no marathon runner, but I’m lucky enough to be married to one. If it weren’t for Maikael, I’d probably be lying in a pool of my own tears by now.
It’s time to start the race again. What I need is something to get me excited about this trip once more, a proverbial shot in the arm. But please, don’t send another vaccine.3 comments