Last Minute Anxiety

Day -2, Grand World Voyage 2020

Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, Dallas

Lately my days are divided in two categories – traveling or preparing to travel. The former is relaxing, but the latter can be stressful. And I am SO ready for the stress of preparation to end when I board the MS Amsterdam on Saturday.

It seems I am not the only one. In recent days, posters on our Cruise Critic roll call for Holland America’s 2020 Grand World Voyage have echoed these thoughts:

“This could be one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced head-on. I’ve been on many small cruises, and did some tours of duty in the Navy. Nothing compares to the magnitude of this (for me, anyway). It really IS “this hard”. But I intend to change that over the next few months. I’m just not there now. And “stressing out” comes with my baggage.”

“Part of my stress, I think, is excitement. I have done this once before and am excited and also wondering if it will be as fantastic the second time around.”

“I feel stress but take a deep breath because it will be worth it…. Being on a ship for more than 100 days is not like the experience of a shorter cruise. It has a rhythm of its own that is delightful….  But right now I am freaking out.  Tomorrow when that plane rotates for take off I will be fine.”

“I am very comforted by the fact that I am not alone on the anxiety issue. I share your excitement, and probably over worry about every detail…. We’ve been planning, preparing, re-planning, re-preparing since mid-2018… Sleepless nights? I guess we’re probably not the only card-carrying members of that club, either.”

“You folks are really stressing out way too much.  I am on [world cruise] number 11 and look at this as my winter home — if you forget something you can get it somewhere or from another guest…. Folks, it is really not this hard, I travel alone and just chill out… You will be fine.”

So today is our last day at home before leaving at 0’dark hundred Friday for our flight to Fort Lauderdale. We’ll visit friends there, join our travel agency group for dinner Friday night and board the ship on Saturday.

My alarm went off early this morning to remind me to check into my Southwest Airlines flight. I got boarding slot B06, which alleviates one worry — that I would be one of the unlucky passengers who couldn’t find room for my carry-on bag. It will be full of medication and electronics. Yes, that worry and 100 others have left me tossing and turning each night for a week. As I check items off my list, the associated worries are deemed unnecessary and banished.

Callie and Cooper think they can sneak into my new bag.

The latest issue was the realization yesterday that my large bag is five pounds over the weight limit. I thought I was clever to decide to also take a garment bag with our gala dresses, but now I realize that it won’t hold the overflow from the overweight bag. So I’m off today to buy a second large suitcase. (I’m indulging my cats by posting their pictures with the bags. I will miss them.)

Cooper says “take me!”

As I wrote earlier, my health insurance ends during the cruise, and I face the daunting task of determining – while on the cruise — which Medicare program will be best. But I learned on Tuesday that I should be able to extend my current coverage under COBRA for a month, so the big decisions can wait for my return. Another worry set aside.

Callie posing for the blog

Have we arranged to pay every bill? To pack at least the necessities? To account for every unexpected occurrence? I’m sure we haven’t. But we have a good friend house- and pet-sitting, and we have email access to address issues with her along the way.

A Cruise Critic fellow traveler gives the best advice to fight the anxiety of preparations:

“My main mindset right now is gratitude. I get to do this. Wow, we are lucky.”