Ground Control To Major Tom…

What’s a traveller to do when she finds herself floating in the most peculiar way? How to deal with unexpected problems while traveling…

I mean, most of us who travel love that feeling, right? The weightlessness, the feeling of being bouyed upon the air of infinite possibilities. The feeling of satisfaction and empowerment as we master each new situation, it’s a rush… except when it’s not.

When you are tired and dirty and smelly and unsure where you’ll be laying your head next evening, it’s just plain stressful.

After a lovely visit to Copenhagen, of which I will regale my gentle readers fully at a later date, I crash landed in Berlin. Folks, it’s been bumpy. I know I usually keep this blog on a positive tip, I realize how fortunate I am to have the opportunities to do the kind of exploring I do and I just generally hate complaining, but I also want my blog to be truthful. The truth is that even after the months spent planning and looking forward to this trip, I had a moment where I considered packing my bags, saying, “Tschüss, Berlin!” And heading home.

It all started with a hiccouch with my accommodations. I ended up in a situation that didn’t feel safe or comfortable to me. I considered just putting up with it, but going to my first day of German classes wrecked from not having been able to sleep the night before made me realize that this wasn’t the right thing to do. I couldn’t concentrate, and I wasn’t learning anything. So I took to the internet to try and find a new place to be… as you can imagine this was no piece of strudel during high tourist season in a major European city.

All the while I felt guilty for flaking out on my studies, supremely stressed about where I was going end up and resentful that I was standing  smack dab in the middle of this raw, pulsating incredible city and unable to enjoy any of it, because I was on the phone.

Things were a little touch and go there for a few days, I had a couple of options fall through on me and ended up sleeping in three different places in as many nights, but the silver lining is that now I’m settled in a great flat.

But folks, I’m tired, and I hate it. Life in Zürich has turned me into a country mouse, becasue the loud noises, crowds and constant stimulation of Berlin feels like too much for me right now. I feel so adrift and disconnected. I’m torn between listening to my body when it tells me I need to rest and recuperate, and pushing right through it because I’m in Berlin, goddamnit! How could I waste this opportunity???

Once again, life is teaching me that lesson I just don’t want to learn. Aparigraha, non attachment to my itinerary and my picture in my head of what Berlin was supposed to be. And above all, nonviolence, Ahimsa, starting with myself. Don’t push, Apple. Don’t push. Let it be. 

I have decided to accept my need to ground myself. Tonight was devoted to practical things such as doing laundry ( so I won’t be so smelly) shopping for leafy greens (so I won’t be so hungry) and getting a decent amount of shut-eye (so I won’t be so grumpy).

Tomorrow I will go to class and then return to explore this new neighborhood I’m calling my home in Berlin. It is full of rich history and a vibrant present and I can’t wait to discover it. Slowly.

Om, shanti, peace my loves.

What do you do to ground yourself when travel plans go awry? 

2 thoughts on “Ground Control To Major Tom…

  1. I think so many of us put pressure on ourselves when we realize things didn’t turn out as we had them in our minds. For you to be travelling so much outside your comfort zone, it is amazing that you didn’t crash before now. Accept that maybe this isn’t going to be your favorite place and allow yourself to wallow…and do laundry. We are here for you (in the blogosphere anyway.) and in spirit.

    1. Thank you for the support! It is much appreciated. It’s not that Berlin isn’t my favorite– its more that it is chock full of things to do and I need to accept that I’m here for two weeks so I can ease into it if I need to. Berlin is a capital city on par with Paris, London or New York, in that one could spend a lifetime here and still not do it all. Especially since I’m here to study, I need to manage my expectations.

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