The pre-trip begins after the adventure has been set in concrete. And this pre-trip pretty much refers to any big decision that is going to drastically affect your life.
What cemented my trip was buying my ticket. As I sit here in the SFO airport, I have realized there are 7 stages of emotions that are experienced. So without further ado, this was my emotional rollercoaster throughout this process.
It’s that moment where you KNOW this is the right decision. You’ve got this in the bag, and absolutely no one can put an idea in your head that it’s not. It just feels right in your soul. Please note that this feeling lasts a solid week before you experience symptoms of shock.
The confidence is still there, but in a different way. It’s like Rapunzel after she takes a leap of faith from her tower. There’s a sudden high after you’ve hit the ground that makes you say “I can’t believe I DID THIS.” This shock lasts a little longer than the confidence, but will still fade to give way to forgetfulness.
I realize this isn’t an emotion, but for a spell, you totally forget about the decision you’ve made, and there is really no emotions to be had. This isn’t forgetting things you need for the trip, or details you have sketched out for it. It’s just… irrelevant to worry about right now, and your subconscious knows this, but slowly it will wake you up to reality.
Then the panic sets in. You realize “Merde.” I don’t have anything ready. What exactly are you doing this for? What country am I going to again? I have no idea what I’m doing homestly. Have I ever even stepped outside of my room?
In order to cope with all this, your brain defaults to denial. This is different from forget, because you are reminded daily of this, but you think it’s too good to be true. “There’s no way I’m leaving in a week.” *scoffs*
I was asked from day one “Are you excited?!” And to answer honestly, I had to say, “I’m not excited yet, actually. It just hasn’t hit me yet.” But when it does hit you, it’s in a big way. For me, it wasn’t until the day of when my mom started talking about driving me to the airport, and the specific details of the trip. I actually squealed a little. It’s a radical mix of butterflies, and “I’m about to pee my pants.” Your whole body just kind of loses control, like a dog about to eat dinner. “Like I literally cannot even!” (My sister’s going to hate me for that one.)
Oh, the relief, just sitting on the airplane. I have never been so calm in my life. Everything is right in the world, and that initial confidence reappears for you, and you know it’s there to stay. Everything is going to be alright.