Didn’t sleep very well last night, or the night before that either. Images from the days headlines kept flashing through my mind. “Paris Strikes Lead to Significant Flight Cancellations.” “Strikes Cut Fuel to Paris Airports.” “Train Service in Paris Cut by 50 Percent.” “Paris Air Traffic Controllers Walk Off the Job.” My normal reaction to headlines like these would be little more than a “tsk tsk.” However, we’re supposed to fly to Paris on Saturday night, a trip that’s been in the making for more than six months. Hours of careful preparation and planning, including arranging for my son and daughter in law to house sit watch out for my mom while we’re gone, could very easily go up in the smoke from firebombs thrown by some angry protesters on the Paris streets.
I admit, I’m not an intrepid traveler. Especially when it comes to foreign travel, I like to prepare for every eventuality and do everything I can to make sure things will go smoothly and without incident. The older I get, the harder it is for me to take the necessary risks associated with traveling. There is a part of me that really prefers to stay home in my slippers, comfy and cozy in my own little house. I’m perfectly happy here, so why should I risk discomfort, inconvenience, perhaps even downright danger, just to go somewhere and see a bunch of monuments and paintings, or pay exorbitant prices to eat fancy food and drink fancy wine?
So I could quite easily talk myself out of this trip. You see, I come from a long line of non-travelers, people who are almost pathologically obsessed with being home. My mother was always a reluctant, if not a completely rebellious traveler. We rarely ventured far enough away from home to require an overnight stay in a strange bed. When I was younger, not only did I not understand it, I had no patience with it. Why wouldn’t anyone want to go new places and see new things?
Confession time – within the last year or two I’ve begun feeling my own reluctance about leaving home. Each time I prepare for a trip, even one to my “second home” in Florida, I have to fight back a certain amount of anxiety. I look around my home where everything is familiar and safe, and feel the cold hand of fear grip my heart when I think about leaving it.
What am I afraid of?
Mostly of the unknown and different. Of the possibility that something “bad” might happen while I was gone and I wouldn’t be here to take care of it. Of being apart from all the convenient and comfortable routines of my life, the ones that make me feel I’m in control of some small bit of this crazy world we live in.
While I read about the turmoil in this city where I’m about to travel, a tiny, cowardly part of me is almost grateful for a good reason to stay home, is almost hoping the flight will be cancelled and the whole decision will be taken out of my hands.
So, I’m in a stew. Don’t know what will happen – here, or in Paris.
I’ll keep you posted.