Whenever I go on one of my international trips, people always have a bunch of questions for me before and after my journey. I started noticing the similarities, and it all made me laugh a bit. I answer them politely enough with the same pat, predictable answers because I don’t like to drone on and on. But if you want a look at my inner monologue, here are the most common travel questions, the polite answers and then the real answers that flash through my head.
Are you excited?
Polite Answer: Yes, it’s going to be a lot of fun.
What I’m Thinking: I’ll be excited when I get the boarding pass for the flight that gets me out of the country. Until then, all I can think about is tying up all the loose ends at work, making sure my house doesn’t flood in my absence, that the cat is going to be OK, making sure all my travel documents are ready and myriad other worst-case scenarios. But yeah, when I get past that, I’m sure I’ll be excited.
Are you all ready to go?
Polite Answer: I think so.
What I’m Thinking: I still have laundry to do, stuff sacks to find, doors to double-check, mail to forward … and with all that, I’ll probably wind up 8,000 miles away with just the single raggedy-ass pair of underwear that I’m wearing right now. There’s probably going to be at least one un-flushed toilet in my house, and the cat will probably drink from it exclusively.
What was the best thing?
Polite Answer: I mumble something about a destination/activity they might’ve heard about, or something seriously otherworldly that rocked my world.
What I’m Thinking: Dude, you can’t do that! It’s impossible to rank a trip. Just a simple day ambling around an unfamiliar city is wonderful … and so is losing yourself in a remote place where I might hike for 8 hours and see all of three other humans. The Internet and much of its content has too often trained us to think in terms of “best of” and “Top 5” lists. But is life really like that? That’s actually why I blog – to remember as much as possible and pass the good and bad of my experience along to other travelers. And to be able to give someone a deeper understanding of a few great destinations.
Where are you going next?
Polite answer: I don’t know yet.
What I’m Thinking: Seriously? Can I have time to at least get my photos from my media cards and into my computer before I start planning my next trip?