Dec 112012
Is the trip worth the planning and preparation?

My husband and I have been looking forward to our first winter as snowbirds. We’ve talked about it for years. We arranged our house rental in Mesa Arizona six months ago and have been preparing and planning since then. Given this, you’d think I would be excited as the day of departure drew near. Instead I found myself anxious and, oddly, melancholy.  


The week before our departure was busy with last minute items, but overall I was well organized and prepared. Still I worried.
Would I remember everything? What if the car breaks down? What if we can’t fit everything in the car? What if the dogs don’t travel well? What if the arrangements we’ve made to access money don’t work out? What if something important gets lost in a delivery time warp with our temporary redirection of mail? What if we get seriously ill and need to substantially alter or cut short our stay?
Before I retired, I worked as an information technology project manager. I needed to consider risks, the what ifs, and prepare mitigation and contingency plans. Perhaps that thinking was what made me think about all the what ifs now. Or perhaps it is because I think this way that I was suited to being a project manager. Being prepared can make things easier, but obsessing and dwelling on what can go wrong can be paralyzing. One cannot prepare for every eventuality. Some things are completely unexpected.
I remember my mother in the latter years of her life complaining about the work involved in preparing to go away for vacation, even a short weekend trip. She’d say it didn’t seem worth it. She always wound up enjoying herself, but fussed ahead of time. It exasperated me at the time, but now I sometimes find myself thinking the same way. It feels easier to just stay home.
It can seem easier to stay where we are. We are less likely to have to deal with the new, the unknown, the unexpected. We can stay where we are comfortable. But we miss experiencing the beauty and intrigue of other places. We miss learning new things. We miss getting to know fascinating people. We miss getting to know everything we can be.
We have now completed our first day of driving. Most of the stuff did fit in the car. The dogs are travelling well. The car hasn’t broken down yet. I have relaxed some and am enjoying the drive, excited about our destination.

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