I can never tell if it is excitement or anxiety that keeps me up. My parents were both truck drivers, and I like to think traveling is in my blood. That I'm genetically dispositioned to feel like I have a semi truck I need to load and perform a safety check on before I can leave. Whatever the reason, I usually have that "One Thing" that needs to be accomplished before I can rest easy. I can't give you advice on how to mentally prepare for travel, because what works for me might not work for you. Everyone is different. I can tell you that once I'm done packing, and I've completed my "One Thing" I tell myself the only thing left to do is JUST SHOW UP. It's silly and so simple, but for whatever reason it is a reminder that calms me nearly every time. Once everything on the to-do list has been completed, you know the usual... the boarding passes have been downloaded, headphones and phone chargers have all been packed, knowing all that is left is to just be at the place I'm supposed to be, somehow gives me peace of mind.
My "One Thing" is my Superpower
My husband and our daughter traveled to France for seven weeks this spring. This trip was longer then any we had ever taken before, and required a lot of planning (as you can imagine). But once again, after all the planning and checklists were completed, my brain got fixated on that "One Thing".
Okay, so here's the part where I share my "One Thing" and reveal to the world just how looney I am. Bear with me, or in French, Supporter avec moi! This time my "One Thing" was learning about the French Revolution. Yup, and not just reading the Wikipedia summary, noooo I went full throttle into a college course. I signed up for a month membership to Great Courses online and watched the entire French Revolution course by Professor Suzanne M. Desan, Ph.D. of University of Wisconsin, Madison. The course ran somewhere around 1440 minutes... That's 24 hours for those of you who don't want to do the math. Time I could have spent learning french, Lord knows I needed it! But no, my brain somehow got fixated on the idea that I needed to know more about French history before traveling to the country, and what better place to start then the revolution itself!
I'm writing this as we are in the last week of our trip and I have to laugh at myself just a little. Not because I feel that learning about the French Revolution was a waste of time, knowledge is never a waste. But because I haven't been able to apply my new found knowledge of history in anyway I had imagined. The French are proud of their history, this is true. I have witnessed examples of this many times on our trip. But my dreams of discussing at length French history at a café with a stranger over a double espresso and a croissant were very much in vain.
What I did discover taught me that my instincts weren't completely nuts (as you might be thinking right now). As it turns out, learning about that specific period of French history gave me a foundation of knowledge about this country that has enriched every experienced I've had.
"learning about that specific period of French history gave me a foundation of knowledge about this country that has enriched every experienced I've had."
When we traveled through the countryside I admired the beauty of the red poppies and green rolling hills, but my thoughts took me back to the people who belonged to the Third Estate. The peasants, the working poor, and the farmers who once worked those fields, and their fight against a system of privilege that helped shape the France we know today.
And when I watched the Yellow Vest protesters march below my Airbnb window, I didn't understand what they were shouting, but I had appreciation for them as well. Because France in many ways, is a country still trying to figure out what the right way to do government is - and I love that. Let me clarify - I think our country is too, along with the rest of the world. I just think France is more honest about it.
As it turns out, my "One Thing" as taught me a little bit more about myself and my spirit. I love to travel, and I love to take pictures of beautiful things, but now I know that understanding what makes something special or beautiful is so much more meaningful to me, then the object or place itself.
So what's your "One Thing"? I challenge you to think about it and see if you can identify what your "One Thing" is. Share what you find in the comments! Does it reveal something about your character? You might be surprised!