Reality Check

Monday, November 22, 2010

I've been looking forward to traveling to the Philippines before I knew for certain that I would be going.  Just the possibility had me ecstatic.  You've seen my excitement for the Philippines before, and I know that very soon I will be jabbering on and on with how excited I am.

But right now, reality has set in.  Actually, my reality check was last Monday at 2pm as I spoke with our Travel Department to book my flights.  I'm not sure if it was the shock in her voice as she confirmed that my return flights was three months after my arrival, or the slight gasp in response to my "no" after she asked if I would be returning home in the middle.  Sigh.  Even the travel agent knew I was in for an adventure.

Up until a week ago, this trip has been theoretical.  Yes, I would go to the Philippines.  Yes, I would be there for about three months.  But making airline reservations brought a new level of reality to this trip.

For 89 days this spring, I'll live on my own in an apartment in Manila, Philippines.  I have quite a few unknowns for this trip - where will my apartment be? Will I be able to text message? The longest I've been away from friends and family back in Des Moines is about six weeks.  This will be twice that long.  My longest trip out of the country is 21 days, or about a quarter of this trip.  While away, my childhood best friend will give birth to her first child, another dear friend is expecting her 2nd child and by the time I see them, they'll be two months old. 

I'm not sharing this to be a downer or to seek pity; but I think its only fair to share every aspect of my life of travel.  I've heard people say "I envy your travel" or they are "living vicariously" through me, and the reality is that its not always perfect.  In comparison, friends of mine are moving to Africa for two years.  It makes my 3 months look pretty darn easy.

The ups more than outweigh the downs of traveling, and this too shall pass. :)


  1. US Passport ServicesNovember 23, 2010 at 7:34 PM

    Lauren, you have really provided a stimulating story. Of course, traveling entails fun and excitement. However, you will never avoid missing some events and happenings at home while you're away. To get the best out of your travel, all of the booking, scheduling and flight reservations should be done at least 6 months earlier, most especially if you're traveling abroad, on a very different country than that of yours. By that, there is still plenty of time for you to prepare and re-schedule events for your convenience..

  2. Thanks so much for your words of encouragement! What a great perspective - and great advice!


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