Pre-Trek Jitters | #siantreksamerica
As I write this, I am currently sitting on the place with five hours and thirty-two minutes to go until I land at LAX.
This morning I stirred a couple of times, feeling completely hot and sweaty all over. I could feel the bottom sheet sticking to my back, and I vaguely recall my attempt to counteract this by sticking a leg out from under the covers.
I remember when I couldn't bring myself to do that because I started thinking about all the monsters lurking underneath my bed. Over time I have stopped being afraid of the monsters under my bed, and in scary movies too. They became tangible; I knew they weren't real and that I could turn them on and off as I pleased. I had become more afraid of the monsters inside my own head instead. Because they made me feel like the monster.
This morning I woke wide-eyed minutes before my alarm. I grabbed the flapjack and smoothie I had brought last night from a cafe at the hotel I was staying in, and sunk back into bed. I'd given myself two hours to change clothes and get to the bus stop after checking out. This was more than enough time if you consider how many hours I had given myself to get to the airport that was less than ten minutes away, but I still felt panicked when I didn't leave my room by the time I had originally planned to. I didn't feel the need to check my suitcase and backpack against the items list I always make for trips before leaving, which felt like a mini victory, even if I did let myself back in to double check I hadn't left any chargers plugged in!
On my way to reception, a woman and her young son started up a conversation with me in the lift; asking me where I was heading off to. They were incredibly friendly and the woman seemed really excited about my itinerary for the next week! When we reached reception, they both wished me a chipper farewell and gleefully sent me on my way, as they headed for Legoland Windsor.
Once I had dumped my pass at reception, I began talking to an older woman at the bus stop, curious if she was waiting for the same bus too. She informed me that she was waiting for her husband, and had been for over half an hour; mentioning something about him going off to pick up a hire car. She was from Australia and had been exploring Scotland, but was now off to Devon and the Cornish coast. After a quick conversation about US portion sizes, my bus arrived. The woman told me not too eat too much and stay safe. I smiled to her as my bus pulled away.
Everyone has been so kind, helpful and willing to chat. From the fellow bus passenger who lifted and stowed my suitcase, to the driver who popped it on the pavement outside the airport for me, the woman at check-in who was patient with my fumbling and luggage tag-filling-in, and the bookseller in the departure lounge too. Some of the conversations were short whilst some were a little lengthier, but, much to my surprise, I quite enjoyed them all. They all felt like progress.
As the plane began accelerating down the runway and ascent, my brain ran wild.
I couldn't get off now - or could I? Would they turn it around if I asked? Am I making these thoughts come? Or are they natural? Are they just nerves?
I bashed them away as quickly as they came, by simply not giving them the time of day. The only concerns I had following this were about my Trek group being aware of my extensive picture taking, and what I'm meant to do when I land in LA.
The first worry I dealt with when I thought "Fuck it". This trip is all about putting two fingers up to anxiety and, even if they do care, at this single moment in time, the likelihood of me seeing them again is very slim. The second concern I'll think about when I am through airport security in Los Angeles. I know I'm worrying, but I also know that all I need to do is ring my hotel and they will send a shuttle to my exact location. I will be fine. I will get it sorted.