• Traveling and New Orleans

    Date: 2010.06.04 | Category: Travel, Work | Tags:

    I am currently in New Orleans for a work thing, and have had to come to terms, once again, with my love-hate relationship with travel.

    I could easily be a great spokesperson for travel. I always know what to do, where to go, what I should see, and research the cheapest and best places to stay, eat and visit.  I’ve been blessed to have traveled extensively, both domestically and internationally. I am a firm believer in seeing as much of the world as you can and having amazing cultural experiences. It opens my eyes to other people and helps me appreciate the things I love about my own home.

    That being said, I also live with this terrible anxiety when I travel. Like, palm-itching, heart-palpitating anxiety over the unexpected. Maybe it’s the control freak in me, but I worry. I worry about finding where I need to be, especially when I’m traveling alone. I worry about getting to the next step, whether that be catching the right train, driving to the right hotel and parking, or navigating the new city.

    This neurosis is even worse when I’m traveling without my husband. I get this irrational mode like, “Oh my gosh, what if this is the last time I see him?”

    And I actually go through a short phase where I think, “Why am I even doing this? Why don’t I just sit on the couch with my dogs, close my eyes and be happy with what I see every day?”

    But when I finally get there, find where I need to be, put my things down and call home, then everything settles back down to where it should be and I have a fantastic time.

    This time in New Orleans, I’m at a conference, by myself, surrounded by hundreds of strangers. There are a few familiar faces, but most are either caught up in working, or are part of the group of people who have been coming to this thing for over 20 years. This can make for a somewhat socially awkward situation, but I’ve managed to meet some new people and have fun. My breakthrough came last night when I met several folks under 35. They were all fairly new to the job field and were so much friendlier and willing to meet new people. No longer do I have to cling to some of the more experienced coattails!

    New Orleans has been great. The city is thriving, but there is a looming anxiety over what this oil spill will do to a city that is still living with memories of Hurricane Katrina. Everyone mentions the oil spill and their worries. The car rental guy, who was driving me back to the hotel and was a New Orleanian to the core, told me that he was worried about what a hurricane might do to the oil. But then he laughed and said, “It’s going to be raining black gold all over New Orleans. We’re all going to be rich! Something good has to come out of this…”

    And while I have never lived in this great city, during my past four visits in a little over a year, I feel like me and the Crescent City have gotten to be good friends. And after seeing the city in all its glory through the Saints winning the Super Bowl, a number of fantastic and culturally true weddings, and even the choirs I’ve seen sing at two Masses this week, it is heartbreaking to think about what the oil could do to this recovering city.

    I’m not sure how I ended up on that note after telling you about my weird traveling disorder, but somehow, it’s fitting.

    Here’s the view from my hotel room. Let’s just hope it stays this way.

    New Orleans