I’m away from home this week, and through the end of the month, visiting family, taking care of some finances and bookkeeping, and traveling to Florida for a week-long vacation with my sisters. It is wonderful to get away…but travel always comes with some level of tension, too.
First, the packing. I have spent some part of every day over the last two months worrying over what I could pack for this trip. Downstate in Michigan at the end of April can be an entirely different climate than Beaver Island, Michigan. Then there is Florida. Land of bathing suits and shorts and sleeveless dresses. And me with all of my winter’s fat to contend with…you can see where the stress is coming from.
Beyond clothes, which had to be divided between the Florida suitcase and the Michigan suitcase, there are all of the papers I need in order to get my taxes filed. Forms, receipts, bank statements and business records necessitated their own brief case. The computer, another. Because my daughters and I were unable to get together over Christmas, we are planning a late celebration of that holiday. So, gifts had to be wrapped and packed for travel, too.
Reading material is another whole category of anxiety. What books shall I pack? If they are too good, I’ll finish them too quickly and be left without anything to read. What if I don’t like them? Should I start them first, to make sure they’ll hold my attention? To complicate matters, my eight-year-old electronic reader – which was my back-up source – quit working last week. And, books are heavy, when freight is paid for by the pound!
The dogs are a major source of stress before I leave home. I’m sure they are fine in the kennel. I know all their needs are met. I probably miss them more than they miss me. Still, before I leave them, I am practically overwhelmed by guilt and worry.
Finally, there is the trip itself. Two hundred and fifty miles can seem like a huge distance when I am alone in the car. Especially if the road conditions are not good…or if traffic is heavy…or if I encounter detours…or mechanical problems.
Let me be clear: I love to get away from home. I also think that “stress” is a far over-used word lately. However, when I’m preparing for a trip, there is no word more definitive!