Venice, Italy

Mentally Preparing for Travel

Forrest Mallard

It seems like every year I go through the same exact emotions as I prepare for international travel and setting off on my extended adventures. Here are the six phases of insanity I always experience before stepping on the plane.

Location

Venice, Italy

Directions

Mental Stages of an Adventure

Forrest Mallard – May 5, 2017 – Venice, Italy

1 – Denial – During the weeks leading up to your trip, you doubt that the day will ever come that you will actually get on the plane. Regardless of these feelings, you spend all of your time planning your trip.

2 – Anxiety – The 72 hours before you get on the plane, you doubt that the weeks of planning and packing have been enough to prepare you for your trip. Frantic pacing the floor. Unpacking and repacking your bags to make sure you have everything. Recheck the itineraries several more times.

3 – Surrealism – You are on the ground in a very foreign land. You start to follow your well-thought-out itinerary, but you are still dealing with a few issues back home. You are still in the process of living in these two different worlds. You were waiting for an overwhelming feeling of adventure to hit you as soon as you got off the plane, but it will take a day or two for that momentum to start building.

4 – True Adventure – You are now mostly focused on your trip. You may be climbing a mountain or just trying to make your way across some insane foreign city, but all of this is your unique adventure. Whether or not you make it to the top of the mountain, or if you make it across the city safely is part of your story. Absolutely everything you do in these foreign places is a true test to your creativity, survival instincts, resourcefulness and street smarts. Every decision you make during this time, will ultimately direct your adventure.

5 – Depression – How did this adventure pass by so quickly? On one hand it will feel like you haven’t been gone from home for so long, but when you look back and specifically think of the time you got off the plane, or the first town or city you explored, it will seem like an entire lifetime has passed. Your mind has expanded in ways it never could back home stuck in your daily routine. But now you have to face the fact that your adventure is almost over.

6 – Nirvana – You are back in your daily routine, but you are not the same as when you left. You wish that the people around you back home could accurately visualize the vast mix of emotions and experiences that were part of your journey, but short stories and photographs never fully communicate these things. Now to start planning on the next trip.

(Photo is just a sculpture at the base of a clock tower in Venice. The personification of the anxiety leading up to an adventure.)

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