These days, travel is one of the most stressful self-induced processes we go through. There are questions of how to get to our destinations, where to stay, what to pack, and a hundred other things that would be too long to list in one paragraph.
Last week, I got back from 10 days on the east coast with my mom. I was going to a conference, touring the universities I had applied to, visiting family, and exploring new places.
Travel is, by no means, new to me. I flew for the first time when I was four months old, and I had my first solo trip when I was ten. My parents raised me and my brothers on vacation and taught us how to navigate airports as soon as we could read the signs. Still, this trip was more busy and important than most of my previous trips. I was really excited, but beyond nervous.
To prepare, I set up a travel journal.
The journal was actually just eleven spreads of a journal I already used to keep track of my day. In the first spread, I included: the format of the following pages, my flight information, a to-do list, and phone numbers I may need on one page; and my week itinerary on the other. (You can get this journal here). I spent an afternoon about a week before the trip hanging out at a coffee shop to figure out how I wanted it to look.
MY DAYS WERE:
- 4/5 – Fly to JFK
- 4/6 – Check into hotel for fashion conference and go to cocktail hour/movie
- 4/7 – SuperGoop Breakfast, Bus Tour, Explore Manhattan, Party, Meet a friend
- 4/8 – Checkout and Breakfast at ManRepeller HQ, then Check into Hilton and meet with Mom
- 4/9 – Tour NYU, drive to Syracuse
- 4/10 – Tour Syracuse and Dinner in Albany w cousins
- 4/11 – Hang w cousin in New Haven
- 4/12 – Drive to Boston, class visit at Emerson, visit a cousin
- 4/13 – Tour Northeastern, explore Boston
- 4/14 – See Grandma’s childhood neighborhood, tour Emerson, dinner with Uncle
- 4/15 – Drive back to JFK, Fly Home
The outfits for the fashion conference were planned extensively, and I was even more nervously-excited because they were more outgoing than my normal day to day clothing choice. Below, you can see the notes app on my phone, filled with outfit ideas.
I flew out on Thursday night and there was a lot to do. To keep myself calm, I kept my eye on the To-Do list of the travel journal, I had some incense burning, I had my travel crystal set nearby (with the crystal’s intentions already set to let my trip go smoothly), and I maintained a plan to leave 30 minutes earlier than I needed to (this was at the suggestion of my friend, who told me Jupiter was in retrograde and would mess with travel plans).
I arrived in NYC on Friday morning after a five-hour red-eye, checked into the hotel, and (before anything else, of course) went through the goodie bag that was given me and the other guests.
After I got my fix of Ooh’s and Ah’s, I collected my bag for the day and went out to get some lunch before I would meet the group for drinks and a movie later.
Throughout the entire trip (but especially the first couple days), the Travel Crystal Set came with me almost everywhere. I would keep them in my bag, and despite the fact I wouldn’t stop and hold them during the day, I felt more at ease knowing they were near and looking after me. The intention I had set seemed to be working, and just knowing that they were there made me calmer.
I will mention, having the crystal set with me wasn’t to say I had perfect travels where nothing went wrong. I still got on the metro the wrong direction (ending up in Brooklyn instead of Greenwich Village), my phone still died and left me wandering to find the closest station that could take me back to the hotel, Ubers still arrived late, etc. Normal, crappy travel things still happened, the difference was I felt calmer throughout them happening. Where I may have panicked before, I shrugged and found my way, and I would attribute that to the travel set’s energy.
THE OTHER THING THAT REALLY HELPED ME KEEP TRACK OF MY DAYS WAS MY PREVIOUSLY-MENTIONED TRAVEL JOURNAL.
I would start my day filling in the Left side of a spread. Writing out the plan for the day, entering my outfit(s) for the day, and adding any ToDo list items to keep track of. This set me up with a plan for the day and something I could reference so I wasn’t stressed and wondering where to go.
Then, after a full and busy day, I would fill out the Right side of a spread. This would be a Dear Diary type section. Writing out notable experiences, what I thought about the University I toured, how it was to see family members, etc.
I’d repeat this spread for each day of my trip, and I think it really helped to cement the days in my mind. I didn’t simply go through the trip not reflecting on what I had done. I had to rethink how I felt about a day and what I did, making me remember more details about each day. This journal also gave me something to look back on in the future.
Like I said, a large reason for this trip was to tour Universities I had applied to and was waiting to hear back from. I should have all my decisions from them in the next month and will be making my final choice as to where I’ll end up in the Fall. Having this journal to look back on (and remember how I felt about each University the day I saw it for the first time) should really help me in making my decision. Maybe, on my summer travels to move out to my University, I’ll put another Travel Journal in this same book and later I can look back and see the differences in how I perceived my college of choice.
The day I flew home was bittersweet. I was happy to be back in warm weather and with my friends, but I would miss the excitement and potential of travel. To make it worse, I had an odd bout of anxiety as we left the rental car and entered the overcrowded airport. I don’t normally get anxious when flying or traveling in general, but I think my body knew that when I got home I’d just be that much closer to having to make the decisions about my future, and was reacting accordingly. I was afraid of not getting accepted to the schools I was crazy about. As the wave of uncertainty came over me, I pulled out the crystals for luck and safety, and let my fears be soothed by the smooth crystals that had been looking out for me the whole time.
I SAID GOODBYE TO NEW YORK AND THE EAST COAST, AND HELLO TO MY HOME AND THE FUTURE.
*Queue Adele’s Hello, and check out the extra links below for more travel help*