Why Do I Feel So Guilty?
The Asia Jaunt is about to begin. The day after tomorrow, I leave for New York; the next day, I fly to Bangkok via Seoul.
You’d think I’m excited — and I am. I’m very excited, and I’m very much looking forward to my adventure. It’s just that an overwhelming guilt has taken over my body.
My parents are both really upset.
For the past four years, my sister and I have lived in Boston. My parents, who are divorced, both live 20 minutes north of the city. It was easy for us to see each other all the time. Now, that’s gone.
I wouldn’t feel as bad if my sister were still around…but she just moved to New York. And my parents are struggling with that as well.
While I know how upset they are, I hear the worst parts secondhand and thirdhand. Family members and friends are telling me that my mom is crying all the time, that my dad is convinced I’m going to come home in a body bag. They both worry they’re never going to see me alive again.
And I don’t want to do this to them!
I’ve promised to drop them a quick “I’m alive” email every day, at least until I get way off the beaten path, and we plan to Skype. My mom wants to visit me in Thailand; I hope my dad can, too.
But this guilt is consuming everything I do. Why can’t I just be excited for this trip like a normal person?
Then I started thinking more. I’m excited for this trip, of course, but I have some worries:
What if I run out of money and need to come home early? I’ve been trying so hard to achieve my dream of becoming a digital nomad. It would be humiliating to fail.
What if I become so shy I can’t climb out of my shell? This happens to me in new situations. I know, you wouldn’t think so. 😉 I’m trying to fight it, but it’s so hard.
There are little fears. What if none of my credit cards work when I arrive? What if I can’t find tampons anywhere?
And the big fears: Illness. Injury. Robbery. Things I don’t want to think about.
What if I hate this trip? The darkest fear of all. WHAT IF MY LIFE TURNS OUT TO BE A LIE, AND THE TRIP I’VE WANTED TO DO FOR SO LONG ENDS UP BEING AWFUL?
Worrying about how my parents are going to deal with my absence is giving me something to think about instead of my own fears. I know my parents will be fine.
I just hope that I’m able to get over my own fears and enjoy my trip to the fullest.
Long-term travelers, have you ever felt conflicting emotions like these? Does it get any easier? What should I do?