To tell you the absolute truth: I’m a little scared.
I’ve reached the point here where most of the events I’m starting to hear about are all happening in April. On Facebook, I’m getting invites to parties and shows, and in my email I’m hearing about work events to demo a game or hit up a convention. And it’s starting to become very apparent to me that if anything happens in the United States of America in April of 2012, I won’t be a part of it. I’ll be overseas, farther away that I’ve ever been from my stuff, my friends, my world, and my life.
And to be honest, that’s a little scary. I wouldn’t say that I planned this trip on a whim — I’ve wanted to do this for over twenty years, and it was almost eight months ago now that I actually decided to make the leap on April 1. But at the same time, there’s really no pressing reason for me to go. I’m going just because I want to, just because I’ve never done anything like this and I’ve decided it’s time. And I almost wonder if that’s presumptuous of me — if maybe the world will decide that no, it would rather keep me in Los Angeles for now.
I have this kind of feeling before almost any big trip, the thought that maybe I should just call the whole thing off and play things safe. This afternoon, I went to the bookstore to finally look through guidebooks to see if there was something I should buy or use, and the enormity of what I’m going to see in the next month hit me pretty hard. I don’t think I’ll have too many issues in England, and France, I think, is enough of a tourist destination that even without a strong knowledge of the language, I’ll probably be able to play the stupid American and make it through. Even so, that’s two full weeks — I can’t remember ever being away from home for that long since college, at least.
And after that, things will get tougher, I imagine. I’ll be headed into Germany, where I don’t speak a word of the language, where even the smallest bits of culture and tradition might be different from what I know. Amsterdam is even more foreign: I looked at the names of the streets in the guidebooks, and there’s not a “Maple” or “Main” among them. Even German streets, I know, are strasse. Amsterdam’s are things like Herengracht, Zeedijk, and Oudebrugsteeg. Oudebrugsteeg! It’s like a cat walked across the keyboard, and that’s what the street name turned out to be.
I’m scared of the usual things, too — I’m a little scared of getting lost (though I am usually good about that), and I’m scared of not having a place to stay one night, or getting robbed, or worse. I have the first week’s nights (well, the first few nights, at least) planned out in a hostel in London, and just the idea of hostels themselves seems less than safe. I worry I’ll miss something, my bag will get stolen, and I’ll lose everything. Maybe I’ll end up in the middle of a foreign city, penniless and alone. Or even worse, maybe I’ll get hurt. I can barely stay healthy in the US as it is, apparently.
And after all of that worrying, I get yet another invite from a friend, reminding me that they’re having a party right in the middle of the month, or I get invited out to go see PAX East for work, which I’ve also never gotten to see or do. Late at night, sometimes a little panic will hit me. What am I doing? Am I making the right choice here? Going on vacation is one thing. Setting out across another continent, heretofore unseen, is something else.
But I’ll conquer that fear, I’m sure. I get on the plane in exactly one week — in fact, as I write this, one week from now I’ll be hurtling in a metal tube somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. So yes, I’m a little scared. But I’m going anyway, and I’m sure, on that second flight one month after that, it’ll all have been worth it.
Posted on Sunday, March 25th, 2012 at 11:50 pm. Filed under general.