My trip started out kind of crazy, with a bizarre event that occurred right as I approached the first TSA agent to get my ID and license checked.
I oddly had it going through my mind what a disaster it would be if I didn’t have my license.
Then I opened my wallet and…there it wasn’t! I stepped aside and searched my wallet 4 times through. All kinds of thoughts went through my head: “Where could I have left my license? I’m going to miss my trip! So much planned this SUCKS! There is NO upside to this!”
Then I went back to the ticket counter, and they said I just had to tell the TSA and there would be an extra security check. So I went back and they required very little, surprisingly, to let me through. Then they molested me a bit and I was on my way! And then…I rifled through my wallet 1 last time and…my license was exactly where I always keep it! All the freaking out for nothing!
So here’s some things that happen when you travel, and lessons to learn from them:
1. 7 a.m. flights are really inhumane. I only live 15 minutes from the airport and I still have to get out of bed at 4:30 a.m. for a 7:00 flight. No one should ever have to do this! It’s a terrible way to start the day and for me, I lose my mind. Plus I can never get to sleep early the night before.
2. Traveling is moving out of your comfort zone- and that’s a good thing. Even though I’m very familiar with the city I was going to, Austin, I was completely out of my routine for 6 days. I had to figure out transportation, places to stay, meals, where to work…all of this takes extra time and a little organization, but getting out of your daily routine and mixing things up will keep you fresh and motivated.
3. Workouts will be missed. I planned to work out most days of my trip and I only worked out once! Not a tragedy, but it’s a trade off I made for the experience. I’m still in a phase of valuing seeing new things over doing things when there’s a choice to be made.
4. You will learn and grow more by traveling than staying in the same place. I don’t just mean seeing new places. You will be exposed to new people and have different conversations, and lots of things will happen that you would have never thought of before. I got to try the “best bar-be-que in the world” and learned that Austin has “ghost bikes” at various street corners to honor people that died on their bikes.
5. Packing light is key. I stayed at 3 different places. It’s super easy to pick up and go when there are just a few things. Key thing to keep in mind: you can buy almost anything you forgot, especially clothes.
6. People are very nice to visitors. Friends wanted to buy me dinner, put me up, and give me rides. Random strangers are welcoming and want to chat when they find out where you are from. (Austin people seem to LOVE San Diego, and vice-versa, so it’s a comfortable place. If I were a Texas A&M grad, however, apparently there would be problems!)
7. You will get lost. No matter how many times I’ve been to Austin, the frontage roads always screw me up. And the left turn lanes that without warning turn into U-turn lanes. If you use Apple maps, you are doubly screwed. Getting lost isn’t fun when you need to be somewhere at a certain time, but expecting that it will happen and shrugging it off is the way to avoid anxiety.
8. You will explore more where you travel to than where you live. It’s inevitable. I ate at all these different restaurants last week, but at home, I typically eat the same things and go to the same places. Getting out and traveling can get you out of a rut and slow time down.
9. Smiling as you walk through the security line at the airport eases stress. I used to feel angry towards the TSA employees. I still resent them a little. But if I can just have a slight smile and look at the hilarity of security theater, it makes the situation much better. Plus, by being angry or annoyed, you’re not going to change any policies!