Aloha, anxiety

Setting out to see the world 10 years ago I was carefree and beyond excited; today I'm in the midst of a mile-high panic attack

Eight years ago I decided to drop everything and take off to travel Europe with a friend. I took time off my job, told my then-boyfriend I’d back in three months and headed to the airport without a care. I was 24 at the time.

I guess a lot can change when you’re not paying attention. Today I`m doing much the same thing, but I can assure you that this time it`s a whole different experience. To start: I`m traveling with my boyfriend. I can`t imagine putting our relationship on hold for three months while one of us had the experience of a lifetime. That said, I don`t think I can quite explain the unexpected terror I felt locking my condo door (I`ve actually spent the past hour on the plane wondering ‘Did I remember to lock the door?’) and setting out for the airport this morning. My heart was in my throat and I expect Craig was feeling much the same because we spent the ride in complete silence.

A moment of silence for the lives we were leaving behind, perhaps.

We checked in and went through customs where, after rifling through my passport while gossiping with a co-worker, the agent asked me one question: “What do you do for a living?” Well, when I replied: “I left my day job to travel the world and write about it” he burst out laughing. That’s reassuring.

When we got through security Craig finally said, “Just think of it like we’re going to Hawaii for two weeks, and when the time comes that we have to leave, instead of heading back to gruelling work days and the frozen tundra that is Toronto in winter, we go to Japan for another adventure!”

I like this philosophy: One day at a time. You`d think I`d be more excited in the skies over Denver, knowing that tonight we`ll be drinking mai tais and dipping our toes in the Pacific, but I guess this is what happens in the decade that separates your 20s from your 30s. You grow cautious…and a hell of a lot more anxious.

Thank god for mai tais.