Travel planning is like shopping – it can consume you for hours. The FOT has been 50 years’ in the making, so there is a lot of anticipation. But I was surprised to find that when the time came to actually start booking flights and hotels, some of the excitement turned to anxiety.
The problems began when the Covid lockdown played havoc with my plans of a lifetime. I was supposed to go to France a week or two after my son finished his exams. Then they kept postponing the exams week by week, until I had completely missed my French course. So then I had to rethink everything. Should I go to France first or the USA? Beach holiday or snow? Soon it was like shopping at Ikea… so overwhelming that I was in danger of abandoning my trolley at the checkout. And that’s when it began. The uncharacteristic indecisiveness. The second guessing and even worse, the lack of interest.
Was this the universe’s idea of a stitch up? Falling over at the finish line? I wasn’t Stephen Bradbury, I was all those other guys. Yeah you know them – they are so forgettable we never even knew their names. Was the whole idea best left as an unfulfilled fantasy?
So right at the start of the FOT, the stress was suddenly all-consuming. I was about to pull the trigger. Blow $6500 on business class flights around the world even though our borders were still closed and I might not be allowed out. But the stress wasn’t about spending the money. It was about the fear of reality. What if I booked it, then realised I didn’t want to go and that the idea of the trip was better than the real thing?
Well guess what happened when I booked the trip? Nothing. I didn’t change my mind. And after a few days just sitting with the exciting news, the fun really started. Down the rabbit hole I went. I spent one whole day watching YouTube videos about Amtrak train journeys in the USA and another on Disneyland. I’ve booked apartments in New York and France. I’m staying on a boat in Sacramento, gazing at the Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas then catching a train through the Rocky Mountains. Planning the adventure is such a big part of the journey. The FOT has now begun!