dying engines and embracing change


Dear reader, it is time for a confession.

I have my anxious moments. Since I’ve stopped taking Ocella and chewing ice like a sloth it’s gotten eased up a bit, but I still have my little bits of hysteria every now and then. These typically occur when things do not go my way.  Again, typical Libra.

One of my friends, John, told me it makes sense that humans are always anxious, because we are constantly dwelling over the past, trying to make the most of the moment, and worrying about the future. He’s a wise one, that John.

I read in the book Women Who Run With the Wolves, written by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, that part of life is accepting it’s various cycles.  There are times we let things grow, times we let things live, and times we let things die. The letting things die part can be incredibly difficult for me. I don’t often like change. I embrace consistency, wanting to snuggle myself deep in its fort of silk coziness. I want to light candles and not leave.  Like a sleepy sparrow, I nest. Ironic, because I love traveling.

 For some reason, driving or traveling long distances has never given me any form of anxiety.  I love the airport, and eating a packaged Air France meal while watching Jurassic park.  I love stopping at gas stations in foreign Virginia towns, only to buy a pack of a gum and some Arizona Iced Tea. I even love ten-hour drives through the mid-west and sketchy hotels in Arkansas. But tell me to drive to the bagel place five minutes down the road and I immediately start cursing to the heavens, questioning the decency of mankind because some guy in a sedan is actually going to speed limit.  (I’m currently debating this entire post, wondering if I’m simply a really, really poor example of Gen Y.)

However, when there is #traveldrama on longer trips, I am pretty solid at keeping the peace. Example.  I was going to visit Alex in NYC a few days ago. When I’ve had a really good week at the bar, I splurge and get an Amtrak ticket instead of my normal, penny-pincher bus ride.   Maybe my pours were heavy-handed, lending me to earn some extra tips that week, I don’t know.  Regardless, I could afford the train. So I bought a ticket, hastily pushed some kind folks out of the way to get a window seat, and set up camp.

I sat lazily, googling future travel endeavors and reading some things on my new boyfriend, the Kindle Paperwhite. My travel neighbor was a friendly, 30-something year-old man named Greg, who offered me Rolos and commented on my cracked cell phone screen. I think he had a wife named Dana, or maybe she was his girlfriend and they were planning on going to Barcelona in the near future.  Regardless, the combination of this calm companion, the words in my chosen piece of fiction, and the blurred landscape whizzing past me created a very soothing environment.  And then, somewhere around Delaware, the train began to slow and we came to a halt.

Did I whine? Did I kick the seat in front of me? Did I smash Greg’s laptop and blackberry, thus cutting off all communication with Dana in regards to their Barcelona adventure?!!?! If I were driving to the supermarket, I might have. However, since we were on a train, I got a beer. I came back. And I waited.

What ended up happening was that our poor little engine reached the end of its life. It was the little engine that could not.  And so we bid our farewell, and skipped over to the neighboring Acella when it stopped about thirty minutes later.

Ms. Pinkola Estes may not have intended to be speaking of travel when she wrote about the various cycles we face throughout life, but I thought of it again when our new train started to move.  The dead engine was not the end of the ride.  Maybe I drive myself crazy in other situations of “rides halting” because I don’t know when they will start up again, or if another train will come along.   I agonize over the time I’m spent waiting, because I don’t feel like anything is happening. I don’t let things die, because I don’t know if they will ever live again.

But they do. Even if it’s a jump-started engine, or a new train, or you simply need a beer to get through it all, they do. 


Here are a few travel tips for when #traveldrama pops up.

1. Get a beer.

2. Or a glass of wine.

3. Or a bag of peanut M&Ms.

4. Talk to your neighbor, if you have one. Might as well make a friend!!

5. Make a list of things you love.

6. Make a list of your favorite moments.

7. Make a list of things you are most looking forward to in life.

8. Take pictures of your boots.