I forgot to pack my travel journal on this trip. To the pile of papers and books labeled, for weeks, Take to Colombia! I somehow failed to add my narrow book with the sunflower on the cover. I bought it when I was 14, the summer I (finally*!) headed to Europe for the first time. That summer Mom and I spent ten days in Berlin, primarily for gymnastics, before meeting up with Dad and brother in Frankfurt, then a week in Paris, and several days each in Rome and Florence. On that trip I mainly filled the pages with dry daily itineraries of the places we visited with the occasional dip into puppy love over a boy I met in Berlin.
Last summer I again filled pages with copious notes on museums and restaurants and a list of all the things I had taken pictures of in Dublin, but also all the things I was figuring out about my Mom and I. Bits of my personality that clearly came from her, others that were clearly in reaction to her, and a million family baggage things. It was wonderful.
This trip has been so filled with work, I honestly haven't paused much to be present and reflect. But tonight especially I find myself missing those lined pages. I'm pushing myself to be more courageous on this trip, which is a good thing. My intern is pretty fearless, actually dangerously so, but the two of us seem to make a reasonably balanced pair when out exploring. I'm still not entirely convinced that I'm cut out for this, but I'm trying not to cast my mind too much in the future...I'll cross those other daunting bridges when I get to them**.
*yes, I know this 'finally' makes me sound like a privileged asshole, which I pretty much am. But I grew up hearing my parents' stories of multiple Europe trips - they both went on various school trips and spent an entire summer there for their honeymoon, plus later Dad had business trips to England and they took my brother when he was two. So I begged to be taken to Europe pretty much as soon as I knew the word.
**I said all along that of the places my job was most likely to send me, I hoped to go to Bogota first. I figured it was a good way to get my feet wet on this whole traveling thing. We have local hosts and it's a major city with potable water and reliable internet. And I have to say I've felt pretty good about it - if I'm being totally honest, I was worried that landing in a new, potentially scary place after a full day of flying and sleep deprivation would send me tumbling back down the anxiety rabbit hole. But I've been pretty ok. But I've also had plenty of diversions - delicious restaurants, parks, hell, a shopping mall showing Harry Potter! And while my boss and intern were out of town I kept myself entertained at night watching tv shows online. All of which starts me to wondering what it will be like working in other, less developed cities. How does one entertain oneself without a reliable internet connection? What to do once the sun goes down and the electricity clicks off? How to keep the anxiety at bay?