(james benedict brown) on the road

Pre-trip nerves…

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 21 December, 2005

It’s Wednesday night in Montréal. This time tomorrow, I will be in Cuba. I will have travelled further south than I have ever been before, and crossed the Tropic of Cancer for the first time. I’ll be staying near the middle of the city of Havana in a small casa (a modest guesthouse). And to be honest, I am, at this very moment, very nervous… my head is clear and logical as I pack clothes, toileteries, tickets, money, passport etc. But my stomach and my heart are churning.

For the first time since I was seventeen, I am going somewhere far away all on my own. Like my baptismal trip to Slovenia six years ago, I don’t speak the language, I’ve never been there before, and I won’t know anyone when I get there. I remember these sensations of nervousness and almost physical queasiness from that trip. I can’t explain it; I am normally a very balanced and brave traveller, but suddenly it seems I am nervous again about travelling on my own and travelling into a soft version of the unknown. Montréal has been tough, but it the difficulties I have encountered here have been on a familiar territory: i.e. a city that I have visited before and with languages I speak. Tomorrow I go somewhere very new, where all the co-ordinates have shifted, and all the sounds will be different.

As I left work today, my French speaking colleagues all wished me bon vacances! Somehow, this doesn’t feel like it will be holiday, and thank god because I think I’ve realised that I prefer to make trips than take holidays. And after a good trip, I’ll probably need a holiday :)


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