Confession: I don’t usually like traveling. I know: everyone likes to travel, right? If you don’t, then you are a boring lame homebody with no friends and nothing interesting to say and also a racist (I think this is the case, who knows). This is the general face I make when I am about to travel:
Every time I travel, I’m anxious for at least two days beforehand. A lot of this anxiety is similar to how I feel sometimes about just leaving the house, but some of it is very travel-specific, including:
Packing: Can we all just admit that the TSA carry-on liquid requirement is horrible and also sexist? If society expects women to maintain a perfect standard of beauty at all times, then it cannot also expect us to fit all of our necessary toiletries into a tiny ziplock bag in stupid 3 oz bottles, especially if we wear contact lenses and have to make a difficult choice between that mini sunscreen and that bottle of lens cleaner. I believe that it is a conspiracy between the TSA and the companies that make travel-size toiletries. It’s the TSA/MiniToiletries Industrial Complex.
Being on a plane: Being on planes is THE WORST. You are cramped, and your back hurts, and someone is ALWAYS farting, and the guy next to you is almost certainly going to spend the majority of the flight elbowing you or accidentally falling asleep on your shoulder. It is just awful, unless you are in first class, and even then you’re still on a plane, and your skin will dry out, your nasal passages will contract or something and you will die of dehydration, probably.
Luggage: Luggage is also the worst. It is heavy and rolls downhill when you are not holding onto it, and then you have to chase after it and you’re sweating, and everyone looks at you and points and laughs. Ughhh. Can’t we just invent transporters and replicators already?
Bathrooms: Never there when you need one, especially when you’re on your period (sorry boys, but get over it it’s a real issue and is also the reason we are all alive).
Despite all this, I voluntarily travel all the time, and I’m finally learning to like it. Don’t get me wrong, all the above things still stuck, but I’m finally, at the age of thirty, figuring out that going to a new city or country is almost always well worth the anxiety and trouble of getting there, which is really the part I hate. That may sound like the most obvious thought ever, but anxiety is not always rational and I’ve definitely chosen not to go places or do things in the past because I was too worried or upset about the process of getting to where I needed to go to see those places or do those things.
It was this weekend that clinched actually liking travel for me. I spent a few days in San Diego with a friend and they were just perfect. I went to Comic Con; I visited the San Diego Zoo; I saw Seaport Village and the Gaslamp Quarter; I went on a Harbor Cruise; I toured the Midway; I saw Old Town. Now, the trip from SF to San Diego is very short and painless, but I experienced the same horrible anxiety before leaving last week that I have so many times in the past, only to be surprised to experience three perfect days (even at Comic Con, where I was ridiculously nervous about fainting/dying in the crowds). Now, I’m planning a trip to Italy at the end of August, and my anxiety level is so much lower than it ever has been in the past regarding traveling. I think I’ve hit a turning point – who knows, maybe I’ll do something really crazy like travel completely alone sometime soon?
This post is sort of random, but I’m just grateful that I’m finally able to enjoy something that I’ve been doing for so long without constant worry. While I’m off to look at flights (GAH SO MUCH MONEY) to Florence, Italy, enjoy some highlights from my trip. Hope you’re traveling someplace fun yourself, soon!
Enjoy this cake, virtually! (I will be eating it live tonight, MWAHAHAHAHAH!)
And remember, when in doubt about what to do on Independence Day…watch Independence Day! Nothing brings tears to an American’s eyes more than Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, and President Bill Pullman kicking a bunch of alien ass.
It was Mark Twain who said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” To which I say, “Really, Mark Twain? The coldest winter? Didn’t you live in Connecticut? That’s a tad hyperbolic, dude.”
Literary license aside (which is fine, he was only one of America’s finest authors, whatevs I’ll forgive him), he had a point: SF summers are distinctly un-summery, especially for an East Coast transplant who’s accustomed to sweltering ninety-degree beach days and sunny backyard grill-outs. To give you a concrete example, this was what the California Academy of Sciences looked like on my athletic run ambling walk through Golden Gate Park this very morning:
As any San Franciscan knows, we are now entering the foggy season, when temperatures occasionally dip into the forties and most days are spent navigating an ever-present haze of fog and trying desperately to un-frizz one’s hair. It can be rough, but after living here for years, I’m going to share with you my strategies to survive summer in San Francisco:
Schadenfreude (#1): Revel in the bewildered disappointment of tourists, all of whom came to SF thinking, oh, it’s California – it’s going to be so sunny and warm! I’m only going to pack shorts and tiny tank tops and look SO cute and hot! Hahah, mofos, you got OWNED! Shoulda gone to San Diego! You’ll have no problem identifying tourists – they all look cold and miserable and are wearing this sweatshirt that they bought for seventy-five dollars at Pier 39 before going on their Alcatraz tour:
Be a sweaty person (aka schadenfreude #2*): Some people are naturally overheated and sweaty (*cough* me). These people LOVE San Francisco summers – it is the perfect temperature to walk around town for hours and even run for the bus without breaking a sweat. Constantly chilly people are the losers, here, and are the ones wearing parkas in August. Hahahaha, you’re cold but I’m FOOTLOOSE AND PERSPIRATION-FREE! This schadenfreude also applies to all your friends on Facebook in the rest of the country complaining about how hot it is and how sweaty and gross they are.
Pretend you are in a murder mystery/London/it is Halloween: San Francisco in the fog looks SO cool and possibly haunted, so why not roll with it? Imagine you’re helping Sherlock Holmes catch Jack the Ripper or that a hot, sparkly, rich vampire who thrives in the fog is going to whisk you off your feet on your way to Whole Foods to stock up on organic kale.**
Layer up: Even the aforementioned Constantly Sweaty People get cold during SF summers, so make sure to invest in layers. You can still wear that cute sundress – just put heavy-duty winter tights on underneath and a giant cardigan on top. It’s resort wear meets Alaskan dog musher!
Eat food: I mean, you should be doing this daily anyways, but when it is foggy inside this is an extra-good excuse to blow your paycheck on dinner at Boulevard.
Drink alcohol: Self-explanatory.
Pretend it is real summer anyways, screw it: Jealous of friends/family in warmer climes? Fuck it, get ice cream for lunch and lie out in the park even though it’s only sixty degrees and laugh in the face of nature as your toes turn blue.
Get out (leave), right now***: At some point, no matter how sweaty you are or how much you enjoy foggy vistas, you are going to get fed up with San Francisco’s summer being a complete joke, so you’re going to have to leave. Luckily, you only have to drive ~30 minutes on any highway to be warm. Of course, this means you will have to leave San Francisco city limits (GAH!!), but it’s worth it.
You’re welcome. Good luck out there.
*I fully recognize I am a terrible person for enjoying the misery of others. #sorrynotsorry
**I apologize for the Twilight reference. I don’t know what I was thinking. He’s really not hot, anyways. Just insert whatever vampire you think is hot here. Probably a True Blood one (Skarsgard).
***On the other hand, I 100% stand by this JoJo reference, no shame.