For someone who has traveled as much as I have it might be strange to confess to having a fear of flying. The truth is that it’s the turbulence and bad weather I fear and ultimately falling out of the sky. Like an athlete in preparation for a big event, my prep for going away in the last fortnight is the same every time I have come to realise over the years. I have anxiety attacks when I ask myself if my will is up to date, have I made meaningful contact with the people in my life before I leave, have I tidied the hard drive on my computer and have I copied everything in triplicate in the event of me losing anything on my travels?
I’m in denial about the anxiety and prefer not to make a paper list because that’s almost evidence of how mad and irrational I can be when I am crossing off all these warpt things I feel I must complete before climbing aboard the tin bird. I make a mental list and every day I am pacing myself to get rid of some of those things.
Sitting still in one seat for any length of time is difficult for me so part of the prep for a flight regardless of how long I am in the air for, is making sure that I have plenty to occupy myself with. Like a small child committed to a sucky rug the mere thought of travelling without my backpack full of time fillers sends me into a panic attack. That backpack is full of crap – comforting crap that will create a sense of calm as I try and sit still for as I take the 13hr trip to Vancouver next week.
My trusty laptop is the first thing that goes in that bag – I may get some inspiration along the way and god forbid I wouldn’t be able to record it! Following its insertion, I then stuff a few things to occupy my hands with, excited at the opportunity of being able to use the travelling time to read that book, write a letter or do some handiwork. My tapestry is a work in progress. I have been trying to complete this piece of work since 2004! It’s as old as methuselah I expect. I brought it from an estate sale 13 years ago, still in its original packaging and largely uncompleted with the exception of one small corner. As I cart it from one corner of the globe to the other on my travels, its always with the hope of bringing it home one step closer to hanging it on my lounge room wall. It’s been all over New Zealand, Aussie, into the outback, Asia, Europe and the UK and now it’s off to Canada and the USA. Luckily for me I think I can safely say it will see my travelling days out I think as it is a reminder of what a great starter I am – or piss poor finisher I guess. Anyway it’s like anything of great beauty and value and I guess when it finally makes it to the wall completed it will be the story woven in its fibres that will really reveal its riches.
My coloring book and pencils are a non-negotiable item. They are meant to be a great stress reliever for type A personalities and I am inclined to agree and should probably remember to remove it from the writing desk at times other than those of travel but never get around to it really. Sharpening my pencils this morning I couldn’t help but colour in for a few minutes and don’t mind admitting it is madly cathartic for sure. Staying inside the lines and trying to be neat is such a contrast for one who often likes to play outside the lines and use colour in her life that is much brighter than many. The opportunity of legitimately being able to be a little girl again for a few hours of unadulterated peace is something to look forward to and there is a huge sense of satisfaction to be gained for me by completing a picture in one sitting.
Sadly my attention span has never been that great and I take great comfort that when my traveling days are over and I am old and infirm I will have many projects to complete and much time to do it.