Not Breaking Bad

The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see. Gilbert K. Chesterton

I just returned from Albuquerque. New Mexico. A cousin was being bat mizvahed. I brought my mother and my two oldest daughters joined us for the weekend as well.

I am not a good traveler. I have always yearned to perceived as one. Good travelers are interesting. Adventurous. Most important, good travelers are sophisticated, not anxious.

Growing up, travel was an expensive luxury. A trip to Europe was the height of sophistication. I wanted to sit around and groan sympathetically when friends reminisced about long lines at customs. Or smile knowingly when someone described buttery, fresh croissants in the Maret.

At 26 I took my first trip to Europe. After returning, I finally had my own stories to share. To ensure my daughters didn’t suffer a similar fate, my ex and I took them to abroad when they  were ten, eight, and four, .

For decades I was a very anxious traveler. As a trip neared, it became difficult for me to concentrate on little else. With the web as co-conspirator, I’d pore over sites identifying what stylish men of my comport were wearing. I’d visit travel websites for efficient packing tips, the latest must-have apps. And then I’d focus on dining, identifying not just the best restaurants, but local favorites, the holes in walls where one gets a true taste of the city.

The desire to control every aspect of traveling has mellowed over age. I’ve come to appreciate being prepared does not a good traveler make. Being prepared helps, but doesn’t assuage the anxiety traveling triggers. Learning to accept, rather than succumb to the anxiety is now my goal, though I still find great restaurants.

I flew with my mother to Albuquerque. Traveling with her forces me to radically revise my expectations. There will be checked baggage. Bad. There will be a wheelchair whose pilot efficiently whisks us through security and to the gate. Good. There will be pre-boarding. Very good. There will be my mother striking up conversations with anyone within shouting distance. When I was younger it would embarrass me but now I just shrug.

In Albuquerque, my mother apologetically announced she forgot something and asked if we could go to a Target or Walmart. Taking a mindful pause, I laughed to myself over the predictability of the moment and said, “of course.” She always forgets something.

After we checked in to the hotel, I unpacked. I like to transfer everything out of my suitcase. I forgot my Dopp kit, including my razor, toothbrush, and most important, meds. I smiled and groaned, reminded of my psychic inheritance.

Like both my parents, no matter how carefully I plan I usually forget something. Either coming or going. Usually coming. When I leave a hotel I quell my anxiety enough to thorough double-check my room. When younger, I inevitably left something, every time.

I had quality time with my daughters that went well for the most part. I am learning that authenticity doesn’t mean always saying what is on my mind. Authenticity for me is being cognizant of how I’m feeling in the moment. There were a couple times I didn’t share my feelings. But those were choices I consciously made. Let the learning continue!

Thanks for listening Stay in touch. Connect.

Jon

P.S. Any excuse for a clip from Say Anything

2 thoughts on “Not Breaking Bad

  1. I always feel myself become more relaxed when I’m travelling. I’m usually a mega control freak but even after losing my expensive make-up remover I was fine. Couldn’t care less. Somehow things are put in perspective when you’re not at home – it’s almost like literally leaving your comfort zone and finding out about your true self.

    Lovely read, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words.

      My attitude has definitely evolved from mega-prep to finding diversions as trips near to prevent singular focus.

      I think the post was meant to be about me letting go of another one of my walls. I wanted to look like a good traveler. I no longer feel that compulsion.

      Sorta like an earlier post when I wrote about realizing I don’t like large rock concerts and the scores of concerts I attended was because I wanted to be seen as someone hip and cool who goes to concerts.

      Ah, the joys of embracing authenticity. Painful, exhausting, and exhilarating. In that order.

      Be well and thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. It is extremely gratifying.

      Stay in touch,

      Jon

      Liked by 1 person

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