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Saturday, October 1, 2022

(Literal) Travel Nightmares

Happy Spooky Season! I have decided to kick this month off with a thematic post:

A lot of things can go wrong when you travel, and learning to roll with the punches is a valuable skill, but what if the problems you have are literal nightmares and not real at all, because you have weird anxiety? I know it's not just me, but I'm the first to raise my hand and admit that when my anxiety is climbing, I have travel nightmares or inconvenient travel scenario dreams. 

A lot of things can go wrong when you travel, and learning to roll with the punches is valuable, but what if your problems are literal nightmares?

The second I feel like something in my life is out of my control, I have weird travel dreams. Like, anything that can go wrong on a trip will and there's nothing I can do about it. I often have reoccurring dreams in this category, so I know where I am, but still can't fix my own issues. Here are my most common:

Where's my boarding pass?

I have this dream a lot. I'm at the airport, in line at security - which I can't get out of - and I don't have a boarding pass. I know I have a ticket for a flight I'm about to get on. I know it's an international flight. I know I'm in the right line. Somewhere along the way I've either never printed my boarding pass, lost it, or never gotten it and now I'm in a line and have to explain to some stranger that I'm an idiot. 

Why didn't I pack?

I wake up, realize I'm headed on a trip, I'm late, and I grab my carry-on, only to realize that I haven't packed. I throw in everything I can find, which isn't much. I end up with 3 mismatched shoes, a shirt, a pair of shorts, and no underwear or phone charger. How tf am I supposed to survive for any amount of time with these things and what I'm wearing? I don't know, but I freak out the entire time I'm leaving, because I can't do anything about it. This dream might be the reason I pack and repack 3 times before any trip and make packing lists and also start packing a month before my travel date.

You're going to ask why I can't just buy what I need when I get to where I'm going, but this dream usually coincides with the next one:

Where's my money?

I'm on my way to a trip of varying length and my bank account has, literally, $12 in it. Sometimes I don't even have a bank account and I'm just relegated to the 3 one-dollar bills in my pocket or purse. Why didn't I prep at all for this trip? Sometimes I know I planned it myself and other times the trip is a total surprise, but I always have pretty much no money to sustain me more than the trip through the airport. 

So, now I have no money and no stuff. 

None of these things have ever happened to me when taking a trip, but I continually subconsciously worry about them anyway for some reason. Maybe it's not about being prepared for a trip at all, but a metaphor for life in general, but easier for me to understand in dream form. Usually, I figure out that something in life is stressing me out and address that, then I move on with my day. 

Other nightmare scenarios:

On our trip to France, I was so tired most days that I just fell into bed and slept the second my eyes closed and had dreamless sleeps, but near the end, probably because we had a few snafus with checking in online with our airline and me low-key freaking out about nothing important, like buying a metro ticket for our ride from Paris to Disney, I had a travel dream with all new problems all in one night:

  • My phone developed a virus and was unusable. Hilarious, since I have extra virus protection and a VPN on it. 
  • Eric got bitten by a snake and we had to go to the ER in a foreign country. This took much too long to do and we never actually got there in my dream and in real life he would have died if the snake had been venomous.
  • Our flight home got cancelled and we had no options. Well, I'm not sure if we didn't have any options, but none were presented to me. I just got an alert, apparently on my unusable virus-having phone, while we were trying to figure out how to get to the ER. 
Waking up, I realized how stupid it all was and I didn't feel like I was stressing too hard about anything, except getting up on time to get to Disney early for our Extra Magic Hour, but it may have been because this was the first time in a long time that I didn't plan out our Disney days. I just made reservations for dinner and decided to see how things looked and figure out what to do in the moment. 

It turned out fine, because we were there for 3 days and the Paris parks are smaller than Disneyland at home, so we basically did everything we wanted and ate all the food and did all the walking and were more than happy when it was time to head out. 

Of course, maybe some of it was a bit of foreshadowing, because on our trip back I had a fight with the lady at check-in for our flight and unexpectedly had to check a bag (for free, at least) and then had to go to the counter during our short layover to get our next set of boarding passes printed, and our bag, which did make it to Baltimore with us, came out on the wrong carousel. But again, none of it was a big deal and everything was fine in the end and now we're home and still have everything we left with.

I know my brain likes to keep me guessing and give me a little extra anxiety from time to time. The key to it is to not let it get to you and learn to breathe and assess the situation.

Do you also get stress dreams? Are they travel-related? Please share so I know I'm not entirely alone.

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