Friday, 23 September 2011

Ok, We Admit It: We’re Scared.

Seriously, we are.

Not sure why it just started; maybe because now we have both quit our jobs or because we are actively planning our move out of Switzerland, but it seems like just in the past week, it has really hit both of us what we are planning to do and what it is going to mean for us.

Maybe fear isn’t the correct emotion- it’s more like apprehension. We are just now realizing that we are giving up our amazing quality of life, our comfortable apartment, our good jobs, our great friends- all of that, and in return, we are choosing to put ourselves through significant discomfort for a year. OF COURSE there are massive benefits to what we are going to do and I’m sure we will appreciate those so much that we will forget the feelings we have right now. It’s just that at this point, we are only seeing what we are giving up and haven’t started seeing what we are giving it all up for, and that is what is so scary.

We were talking the other day about how we were feeling and admitted to each other for the first time that the nervous, borderline-negative feelings were creeping into our consciousnesses, almost to the point of being equal to the excitement we have about the trip.  Just saying it out loud and realizing that we both felt the same way was a relief. It is normal to be a little scared; we are making a huge life change and taking big risks.

We also might have been a little naïve in our excitement before. We were just so thrilled to be doing this and were so caught up in the planning that we didn’t give a lot of thought to the reality of traveling for a full year. Also, before the last few weeks, the trip was far enough away that it wasn’t yet real. Now, we have two more months in Switzerland and three more months before the start of our trip and time just seems to be flying. It’s overwhelming, and frankly, terrifying.

All of that said, I think the fear is a good thing because it is making us look at the trip more realistically. For example, we are starting to talk about and plan for what we will do if things don’t go as well as expected or if we find ourselves in a dodgy position. We don’t want to psych ourselves out, but it is important to mentally prepare for discomfort, confusion, aggression, sickness, and all of the million other negative things that we could, and probably will, face during the trip.

In terms of where we are in our planning: we are in full ‘leaving Switzerland’ mode. We have the moving out plan set (special thanks to Christian and Michelle, who will help us move all of our shit out of our apartment and into the Bertots’ place in Burgundy), we have our cars and apartment ads up, we have all of our doctor’s visits out of the way, we are getting vaccinations in the next few weeks, we have cancelled all of our contracts. Basically, all of our energy is focused on the inconvenient leaving stuff, and not at all on the exciting travelling stuff, which can probably explain the emotional funk we are in.

Next steps are to do more research about volunteering in South America and get that finalized, get our travelers insurance, and buy any gear that we won’t get in the States. Once we get back into trip planning instead of leaving preparation, our apprehension will probably dissipate and our excitement will return. At least, let’s hope so…


  1. Very exciting stuff! You and Vincent make me smile. Hopefully we'll get to see you on your first leg of your journey....

  2. "mentally prepare for discomfort, confusion, aggression, sickness"...and don't forget hunger! You will never enjoy food more than you will this coming year. Aggression is another favorite of mine, especially when it ends by head-butting someone so hard that they can hardly paddle through the class V rapids on the Nile River the next day.

    I would say something encouraging in French, but I always sound like a Texan slaughtering a steer when I try it. Place names get me the worst though. Like "Rue Mouffetard". No, I swear I didn't just call you a mentally-handicapped person. I'm just a coarse, stupid American. Everything's fine.

  3. Thanks for the encouragement, guys! I can't tell you how excited I was to get my first two comment alerts! Now I know that I'm not just writing for myself (although that's certainly ok too).

  4. Trust me, this is the best decision you guys have every made :) The schedule looks amazing. Have SO much fun. Can't wait to see the updates!