and then I turned into a blob

This past weekend, I attended a Fresh Air Conference in New York City. We stayed at a fancy hotel and ate fancy food and watched the fancy Olympics and went to a fancy nightclub and used fancy little bars of soap and rode in fancy elevators.

It was nice.

But after three days of sitting in conferences, milling around the city, eating, eating, and more eating, and spending hours on plans, trains, and metros, I was done. I missed my ordinary existence. I missed making stuff. After awhile I started to feel numb. I was slowly turning into a blob.

There were only a couple times I felt truly alive.

1. At the nightclub, I pulled out my camera and started fiddling with the settings, trying to figure out how to capture the opulent darkness. For a few minutes I was absorbed in what I was doing. It felt good.

Actually, that’s the only time I can think of. There were many enjoyable moments—listening to stories, good conversations, figuring out the art of train travel (trains are awesome)—but there was only that one time that I got deeply absorbed in doing something.

Is this odd?

I don’t consider myself a busy do-do-do person. I have no trouble putting my feet up and being waited on. I’m quite fond of sitting on my arse.

But I need a creative outlet: writing, cooking, making lists, scheming. My much-loved non-productive times are normally measured in hours, not days. And I like my independence; tourism, public transportation, and conference attending are all about being dependent. Or at least they involve a different sort of independent.

On the train ride home, my friend commented that she doesn’t know anyone else who dreads travel as much as I do. It doesn’t matter where I’m going or how much I want to go, for days in advance, I get depressed and sluggish and cranky. It’s like there’s a dread weight pressing in on me, a dark cloud at the end of the tunnel.

My friend, on the other hand (and everyone else I know), looks forward to trips. She savors the planning and anticipation. I think she’s nuts. She thinks I’m weird.

Do I just not transition well? This could be it, I suppose. Come to think of it, I dread most things. I dread hosting and appointments and busy days. Once I’m out and about (or the guests have arrived and the event has started), I enjoy myself completely. I get a rush from the activity and love the settling-back-into-my-life tired feeling that I get at the end. The accomplishment of Having Done feels good. But I don’t look forward to events. (Unless it’s something really different, like auditioning for a play or teaching a class or going out all by myself for a morning of writing. But then again, those are creative outlets.)

What about you? Do you dread trips and events and anything that requires you to shift gears and go out? To be contented, do you require the constant pressure of creating?


  • Anonymous

    I hate the actual travel part. If I could snap my fingers and be at the final destination, then I would happily go anywhere. The travel seems like a waste of time and I dread it and want to cancel the whole thing because of it.

  • katie

    I'm much more comfortable at home too and of course it is way easier to just stay home instead of packing and moving kids around and imposing on others. But gosh if pushing past my comfort zone isn't a, if not THE most, important thing I try to do in my life. Therefore, I travel. And I bring my kids.

  • Mavis

    I LOVE to travel. I especially like waiting until 2 hours before I have to leave for the airport to plan and and pack for my trip. It's awesome. Life is an ADVENTURE. As long as I can find tea. If there is not tea, all bets are off.

  • Anonymous

    I need to get away to renew my energy for all things at home. Only after some nonactiviy do I have the motivation for activity! So, I love getting away! Camping gives me some dread…it requires as much activity away as at home, if not more so that type of get away is not my favorite kind, until we are there.
    L in Elkton

  • Camille

    Never would have thought this of you Jennifer! 🙂 I enjoy travel. I enjoy planning it and doing it. I don't mind prepping for it. There is even some sort of satisfaction afterward in putting everything back where it belongs. Yup…I guess I like pretty much the whole experience. By the sound of it, from this post and your commenting friends, I am the strange one. 😉 Happy weekend to you! Camille

  • beckster

    I feel just like you do about "events". I am much more comfortable in my own environment, in my own routine. Over the years, I have come to the conclusion that I have performance anxiety about doing anything out of my routine. I also do not enjoy travel, never have, and have never understood why people are so excited about doing it. I guess I am just content to be myself in my usual space, and while others may find that odd, I find it comforting.

  • Rebecca

    I didn't realize I had so much company! I hate travel and anticipate events and functions with dread. I'm glad I had company after the fact and I visit relatives just so my family does't stage some sort of intervention. But comfort and bliss come only when I'm steadily working away in my little sphere.

  • melodie davis

    Hmm, interesting. Somewhere in my family background, I think, I learned to love and anticipate and live for the next chance to travel, even work related. I love being around "different." After you all did the Guatemala thing etc., this surprises me. But that doesn't mean you're bad and I'm good: we are all different! (I'm probably bad.) My work bud Wayne would be the same way on this, he talks about this "zone" he gets into when he travels and calls it the stupid zone where he can't think as well.

  • Mama Pea

    I'd rather spend the day doing hard, physical labor (digging a 5' deep ditch, moving huge boulders, carrying bales of hay up a ladder) than packing for a trip away from home and my own comfy bed. If some reason keeps me from doing something constructive (that means creative) around home, I become a terrible grouch dragging around like a giant sloth.

    I'm sure that makes me seem very maladjusted to many people. Oh, well.

  • Melissa @ thelittlegrayhouse

    I always want to somewhere/plan/host something…until a day or so before it happens. Then I get all lethargic and sad. I thought I was the only one who had difficulty "pulling the trigger" and actually doing stuff. I can't tell you how many times I've cancelled last minute and felt a huge wave of relief like a rock had been tied around my neck! On the other hand when I go thru with plans I almost always enjoy myself

  • Anonymous

    I absolutely DREAD and DESPISE travel. Packing (everything but the kitchen sink), trying to get my kids to pack, trying to get my husband to stop doing his last-minute projects and pack, riding while my husband drives, being at the wheel myself: all of this I hate. If most of our trips weren't to visit relatives, I might have more anticipation and excitement. Maybe.

    – K

  • You Can Call Me Jane

    My favorite trips are those where I go there, stay put and come back. Whether it's a cabin, a condo, what have you. And I prefer to travel by car. With my family (extended is okay). All other trips (any flying, cities, anything unknown/unfamiliar) and my heart constricts and shoulders form instant knots. I consider you incredibly brave to take these trips. And a tad crazy. xo

  • Zoë

    I DESPISE travel. I also dread a lot of the same things you do (except having people over….love the anticipation almost more than the event).

    And yes, I require the creativity. If I'm not doing something productive, I feel lazy and laziness bugs the DAYLIGHTS out of me (in myself and other people). Perhaps I should get off the computer and start supper… hahahaha!

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