Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Travel Anxiety: Manila Part 1

The biggest thing that I haven't blogged about in my personal life was my trip to Manila.  I don't travel as well as I used to when I was younger, and kid-free.  I remember my attitude in my first career, when I was proud to wear a dress-suit to work every day, and had a briefcase, and actively looked for more work to do over the weekends so I could show my boss how competent and ambitious I was.  Being in my early 20's, with an entry-level salary which was a damn good one for a liberal arts degree, it was not enough money for the life I envisioned for myself.  I wanted to fly around the world (I studied all these languages, darn it!) and do important things.

Of course, being fresh out of college, I didn't know enough to be worth shipping around the world.  Yet.  And being in field sales in a mid-west region, my travel was limited to whatever was drivable in a half-day.  Mostly, the car stayed in the parking garage and we walked to our customers.
Decades later, I've done all the exciting business travel I wanted to, and it is far less exciting than I imagined it to be.  I learned I hate driving rental cars in cities I don't know, getting lost trying to find hotel, customer, gas station and airport (this was before smartphones and internet-mapping was prevalent).  Business trips are more gruelling now, given the family obligations and emotions involved.  I don't usually travel much, and with the advent of telecommuting and virtual and video conference call, I don't even travel to my local office much.  Which I welcome, as it allows me to balance the demands of a busy family.

In the last 12 months, though, I have been travelling a lot lately, including 2 international trips.  I found myself beset by anxieties and paranoia in the weeks before this last trip, and was finally able to relax only when my 2nd day in Manila had passed.  I cataloged the anxieties that had not come to reality (Thank God!):
  1. Plane did not crash
  2. Didn't get robbed or lost on way to hotel
  3. Was not stuck in airport purgatory forever (well, the flight home when they cancelled the evening flight was close, but I did eventually make it home safe)
  4. Arrived at work--did not oversleep thru supper
  5. Classroom has all equipment
  6. Students found class
  7. Projector worked
  8. Did not fall asleep while teaching night shift
  9. Students did not pass out in class
Once I arrived home safe, 24-hours later than originally scheduled thanks to weather delays coming out of Hong Kong, I was able to add these additional reasons to be grateful:
  1.  Did not get diarrhea (unlike one of my colleagues)
  2. Had my knitting with me to keep from being bored during airport purgatory
  3. Since I am short, the cramped airline seats bothered me less than other people on the 15-hour flights
  4. I had company for dining this time, unlike my last trip to Manila 5 years ago
  5. Hey, it was a 5-star hotel.  Really hard to keep complaining after all 
But still, Home Sweet Home beats all.

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