We are leaving in a couple of days for a few weeks away on a trip that will take us on ten flight legs through several countries. I find myself a bit anxious. It’s not the anxiety of fear. It’s more of anticipation, the kind that children feel as they wait impatiently for Christmas. I’m a little surprised. Having spent a good part of my life traveling domestically and abroad, why is this trip different?
The answer, I think, is twofold. First, the combination of closely timed flights on airlines large, small, and unfamiliar, means that if any link fails in this technologically knitted fabric, the whole thing comes unraveled, and then what? Second, part of our trip will be in entirely new territory, and anticipation of the wholly unknown tends to raise a strange combination of eagerness and anxiousness.
There is probably something else as well. When I was younger, my attitude was more like, ‘What could possibly go wrong?,’ and when something did, it just added to the adventure. Now I’m old and know perfectly well what can go wrong. Moreover, not so many years ago we might have got a taste of breaking news in other parts of the world on the evening news. Now it’s splattered all over the electronic byways in instantaneous, hyperbolic ad nauseam, so that highly improbable events are presented as potential and immediate threats. It can’t help but have an effect, even on a calm, reasonable person like me.
So, we shall see what we shall see. I wonder if Paul felt like this as he prepared to set sail from Antioch?