Sunday, June 6, 2010

Prelude to a Trip

I'm freakin out man!
The experience I'm about to embark on has caused the anxiety demons I used to struggle with to stir. In order to quell my fears and better prepare myself for the trip, I've been reading the travel blogs of those who have gone to Montanita Spanish school before me. Unfortunately, the memoirs of travelers past all confirmed my biggest worries: Loud noises will keep me from getting a decent nights sleep, I will most likely get food poisoning, and hot surfer boys will be going at great lengths to win my heart. Woe is me.

To others it may seem that I have a devil may care attitude about heading out alone to a foreign land. But honestly, I'm more nervous than I am excited right now. Reasons? I am a light sleeper and solid shuteye isn't possible where I'm headed. Sleep deprivation makes me sick. The thought of being sick or hurt far from home petrifies me. What if someone steals my belongings while I'm in the hospital? How can I deal with that? One way is to drink. If I choose to cope that way, I'm headed to the right place.

Apparently, Montanita Beach is the Miami of Ecuador. Citizens of the country flock to the town on the weekends to fiesta 48 hours straight. Friday afternoon, stands set up in an alley lovingly nicknamed “calle cocktail.” Lucky for the vendors, a beer olympic champion is about to arrive.

I must keep my eyes on the prize though and not forget the reason I decided to finally jump head first into this adventure. If I wanted to drink all summer long and recline in the sun I would have got a stress free share at the Jersey Shore. But my goal is to finally be fluent in Spanish. I believe the skill will give me the edge in the job hunt. I also enjoy the respect I get at Casa del Pan when I order pan de queso blanco en Espanol.

However, before I get to learning and lusching, I have unfinished business to attend to here. Bills to pay and memberships to freeze. My cobra expires the day after I get back from the Galapagos. I need to find healthcare stat. What if I hop off the plane and one of my teeth go flying out? It's happened before and it nearly drained my savings account.

And the money thing in general... it's been flying out the window lately. Bug repellent, hiking shoes, charcoal pills and suntan lotion all add up. It's ironic that I can take a trip like this because I don't have a permanent full time job. But because I don't have a permanent full time job, it's hard to relax and buy the things I need to enjoy it. When I return to America, I'm going back to being the cheapest recessionista in town. Guard your bread Cosi, I'll be sticking my hands in your freshly filled, free bread basket before you know it.

Volcanos erupting, thunderstorms causing flooding, shark attacks, theft and health insurance. Many things are weighing on me right now and the stress of trying to deal with them all at once is keeping me up at night.

In order to prevent my anxiety disorder from ruining my educational safari, I've opted to channel my inner Jack Shepard, letting the demons in for five agonizing seconds and allowing them to take over. By the fifth count, my fear has diminished and I start making a to do list. Writing each individual task rather than trying to attack it all at once reminds me to drink the world in one day at a time. Life is one crazy cocktail.  Enjoy responsibly.

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