With less than a week left before we arrive in the Kingdom of Morocco, the familiar sensation of unease and anxiety creeps into my veins and is waking me at 4 in the morning. Having travelled for over 30 years, it’s a familiar pattern of sensations, but its familiarity doesn’t reduce the intensity.
I know intellectually that time will keep marching on and we’ll be there, ready or not, regardless of how much I fret.
It’s a kind of buyers remorse, I think.
I’ve passed the initial stages of excitement and exhileration as we combed through websites, brochures, maps and guide books. We booked our flights and a few accommodations, sent off a few deposits, ordered some currency, and felt like we’d accomplished so much already! It’s going to be great! Visions of National Geographic-quality images dance in my head: souks! piles of spices! rows of colourful slippers! piles of thick vibrant kilim rugs! villagers on donkeys! I will capture amazing images with my brand new camera lens! I will write original and insightful blog posts! My girls will observe and participate in a completely different culture and be moved and transformed into being more global citizens! My husband will grow a beard and look like Omar Sharif!
But now we are a few days from blast-off; it’s four thirty in the morning, and I am questioning everything.
Why are are we spending all this money to go so far for so little time? Will we be safe? What if terrorists decide to target a famous tourist site while we’re there? What if we’re pick-pocketed? What if the driver we hire drives too quickly and carelessly and we go careening off a high and winding mountain road? What if one of us gets sick? What if we all get sick? What if the kid with a sensory processing disorder completely shuts down amid the chaos and stimulation of the Marakesh medina? What if the other kid doesn’t get her bloody English Lit. term essay finished by Friday and she has to keep working on it during our holiday? What if one of the kids gets scratched by a Barbary Ape and we have to run around and find a clinic for rabies shots because we were too cowardly to get them before we left? What if the guide we’ve hired online and to whom we’ve already sent a substantial deposit doesn’t show up? How much should we be tipping him, anyway? Do we tip him everyday or at the end of our trip? What if he only takes us to places where he’ll get a commission, and not the cooperatives that I want to visit? What if some of our experiences lead us to form negative opinions of a country I so badly want us all to admire? What if our beloved pet cat goes AWOL while we’re away? What am I doing all this for?
Really. I must get my anxiety level under control.
Time to get up and get on with my day. Get to work. Phone the credit card company; tell them where we’re going. Get a few more things done on the to-do list.
The sun is up now. Things are already looking brighter. Potential challenges look less disastrous than they did in the darkness of 4:30am. Funny how that always happens.
It’ll work out, and if anything doesn’t we’ll deal with it. It’ll be just fine.