Coping with the “Leaving-Soon Crazies”

I love traveling, exploring new places, finding out new things. But right before I go, the last day or so, I have every doubt under the sun. What if a doberman attacks my little dog on a walk while I’m away and he’s scared and sad I’m not there? What if my husband has a health crisis, and I’m not there? What if facilities decides that the only time they can move my office to our new location is this coming week while I’m gone, and since I wasn’t there they wash their hands of the whole mess and I have to play mover as best I can? What if I’m robbed and tossed in a river while I’m away and my son has to go live with his dad and they never find my body?

I’m a real joy the day before I travel, I tell you.

I call these type of thoughts and feelings the “leaving-soon crazies.” They suck. I’ve learned to treat them like an unpleasant but short-lived virus; I know what it is, I know it will pass, and I just have to press through. I also have a few tactics to make the departure less fraught for me.

* Over-prepare like you would not believe. How many times have I packed for this trip? Three. And that doesn’t count adding and subtracting one or two things here or there. I’m talking ‘lay out all of the clothes and things, fold them cleverly, and stow tightly in a bag’ packing, from scratch, each time and with major wardrobe changes. And in three different bags, no less. Every time I do a repack I realize some of what I thought I needed I really don’t so I pare down. I also remembered something important I *do* need during my last packing yesterday, and was able to duck out this morning and buy a replacement. Drives my husband nuts – he tosses things in a backpack the night before he leaves for a week-long trip and is satisfied. But it is my process and I feel so much better being my version of prepared.

* Tie up loose ends that would otherwise bother me. All dishes are done, nothing is in the sink. The dog is freshly bathed. My towels are in the laundry. I have a new box of coffee pods so that I know when I get home I have my favorite coffee waiting.

* Address what didn’t work well on previous trips. This time, my big fix focus is: What is going to happen to my mail? I’m the only one traveling so a mail stop won’t work – it stops mail for everyone at an address. No bueno if others at home want to get their bills and correspondence. The last time I went on a trip a small package got lost because my son forgot he brought it in and stashed it somewhere safe in my office. I had contacted the shipper to let them know it had not arrived and had gotten an apology and a replacement, and then I found the package. Horrifying, people! (Of course I contacted the seller and paid for the new shipment as well, and apologized profusely.) This time around I’ve set up a basket with a lid for all of my mail and any packages. Nothing should fall out, be stashed somewhere for me to hunt for like an Easter egg, or otherwise go astray.

* Leave surprises. Normally I leave cards for people when I travel – DH gets a love letter, DS gets a nice note, and DD gets something cute and funny mailed to her (she doesn’t live at home). I didn’t do that this time because I figure it will be more fun to get little cards there and mail them back so they get fun mail. I also got the dog a new box of his favorite tiny treats, and a new chew Nylabone toy.

Wish I had remembered to fill the Xanax prescription, though.

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