Acropolis Athens Greece

The Novice Traveler

By The Other Debra

The 60s are supposed to bring with it a new sense of freedom. Kids are grown and there may be a bit more financial security which free up time to travel and explore.

I don’t fit into either of these categories. We still have an 18 year old at home and are working full time as we try to save as much as we can for retirement.  Therefore, consider me “the alternative traveler” as opposed to the “get up and go” ones, like many of my friends.

As part of my 6oth birthday celebration my spouse surprised me with a short trip to Greece. imagesI had been wanting to go to Thessolonika for years. The trip was fantastic but the lead up to the trip was filled with apprehension and anxiety.  I acquired some new grey hair obsessing about the what, how and where.  I marvel at my friends who love to travel and they make it seem so effortless. They know exactly what to pack, always have the right kind of luggage, filled with the most edited and appropriate clothing, know exactly how to sightsee and look tres chic doing it. I, on the other hand, have a tremendous fear of travel, over pack, and end up stuffing my suitcase and get palpitations just thinking about the probability of a pre-trip panic attack.

I am always interested in visiting new places but my fears seem to override the excitement before the excursion. I am not a good packer and always worry that I don’t have the right clothing and shoes. Packing toiletries really pushes me over the edge, what to bring and how to bring them with all the tension of security in the background!! And my spouse is worse than I am.


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For this 4 day getaway we only wanted to bring carry-on because the itinerary Ancient-Acropolis-of-Athens-Cityincluded two plane trips.  One was to the Thessaloniki and the other to Athens.  How would we manage to pull it off? I can honestly say we tried. We each packed or shall I say over packed our carry-on bags. We did manage to get them into the overhead of the first flight. But till we got to that point, I was obsessing that I would be the one pulled out of the line, ordered by the check-in crew to fit my carry-on into the mock suitcase measure to make sure it’s the right dimensions and I would die of embarrassment. We ended up checking our bag for the subsequent flights and had to pay extra for checked luggage, an unplanned expense!  What we learned was that we took 3 too many outfits each, you can wear clothes more than once, and we need to mix and match.

Three tips to minimize trip pre-jitters:

  1. Fantasize positively. Those “what if?” scenarios are the devil.
  2. Think together about your plan for each day so that you can pack accordingly. Check the weather sites to ensure that you are prepared for all types of weather changes you may experience.
  3. Breath. Breathing exercises really help.  Rest your hands at your sides, on your knees if you’re your sitting, on your waist or hips, if you’re standing.  Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, first filling your lower lungs, then your upper lungs.  Hold your breath to the count of “three.” (Virtually count aloud or in your head).  Exhale slowly through pursed lips, while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach.

I don’t know if it is that your mind is occupied or the above really helps, but it does.

My biggest challenge is still organizing my toiletries.  But I really want to succeed at traveling so I am determined to calm down and learn that less is more when it comes to packing.

Stay tuned as I let you in on my successes on our latest adventure. And if you enjoyed this blog, feel free to share it on Twitter or Facebook.”

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