In just two days (on Monday) I am going traveling for 6 weeks! First, I am going to Denmark (where I am from) for Christmas and New Year’s and then I am flying straight on to Spain (Fuerteventura) for another 3 weeks. I am finding it hard to be in this in-between space. I am preparing to leave, of course, but I can’t quite wrap everything up yet and fully pack as I am still working and using stuff. I have felt like I was a bit ‘on hold’ this week – not really being able to do much, and not really be able to fully relax. Now that we are getting closer, it is a little bit easier…
I am trying not to think too far ahead, cos that might overwhelm me, but I also need to think ahead so that I pack the things I need for all of my trip. My suitcase will be half and half of summer and winter clothes haha! I know that I always bring too much clothes! I just like to have a choice in what I wear, but I know that I very often end up wearing the same thing again and again, so I am trying to pack less this time, because I don’t really want to carry too much stuff around.
The other thing is also that I am not going to faraway countries where they don’t have shops! So, if I forgot to bring something, I can definitely buy it where I am going. So I really feel that I don’t need to bring as much as I think.
One thing is all the practical things to do and pack and prepare for, another is the emotional aspect of it. I am not actually too fond of the actual traveling like, the days where I travel – I can find them very stressful and intense. I try to prepare for them by making sure that I have all my documents handy, that I have packed in a smart way, so that I know where things are that I might need etc, and I also keep my itinerary close, so that I always know what the next step is. Then, on the day, I try to just focus on one step at a time, rather than think too far ahead about what might go wrong, for instance, delayed flights or missing a train etc. Just one step at a time.
So there is the emotional and practical stuff about the actual traveling, but then there is also the emotional aspect of family get-togethers for the holidays. Don’t get me wrong – I love my family and I am looking forward to spending time with them but – it can also be quite intense. I am introvert, meaning that I need my own space to re-charge. I am quite sensitive, meaning that I can quickly get overwhelmed by input and stimulus from other people and situations. And I am also just used to living on my own, having my own space and doing exactly what I want, meaning that being with people 24/7 for three weeks is quite a change for me.
I know that I have changed so much around all this over the years, and I have become so much better at speaking up for myself and asking for what I need, and I have no problem in saying that I need to go to my room and take a timeout once in a while, but it still requires that I stay alert and tune in regularly, in order to know what I need. And that can be tiring, especially when you are also dealing with family triggers, old patterns and roles within the family, and all the Christmas traditions and ideas about how things used to be and how they ‘should’ be. It just adds another layer to the mix.
I usually try to pick a couple of things that are ‘absolutes’ for me; things that I absolutely want or need while I am there. Because I know that I will be compromising on a lot of things, which is just how it is when many people are together trying to get along. But I have a few things that I really need, in order to be able to function and participate fully in the festivities. One is my morning pages (journaling). I really crave my own space in the morning, to check in with myself and see where I am at, and my morning pages is where that happens. So I usually ask for space and time in the morning to do that. And then I might ask for an hour of me-time later in the day, where I go to my room, close the door and do what I need to do for me, in order to re-charge. It might sound really simple, but ‘claiming’ those times for me makes a huge difference. Both because my family then knows to plan this in (my family loooves to plan!!) and because I know that I have that space and time for myself. This puts me much more at ease and allows me to then be much more present when we actually spend time together. Of course, one thing is me deciding on all this, but I also have a chat with my family about it, so that they know where I am at. It’s become so much easier over the years to have these conversations and they are so much better at hearing me on this.
Of course, there might be other things that I need too, and that I can ask for when I need them, but setting up a bit of a structure in advance helps me to relax more. Going out for walks are great too because it’s something we can do together, but also something where I can say “I am just going to walk a bit for myself here and not talk” so it gives me a bit of a breather too.
It might sound a bit rigid or over the top to plan all this ahead of time, but that is just how I am and how I function. I like to be able to plan ahead a bit and prepare, so that I can better be in the moments. Having a bit of structure, and setting the intention ahead of time, allows me to feel more free within it and to be more present. And it also frees me up here and now, because I know I don’t have to worry about it. I have set my intention, prepared what I can, and now I can relax more in this in-between space.
I am off tomorrow, so no blog post then, and since I will be traveling most of Monday I am not sure if I will get a chance to write then, but I will see.