We leave again for a trip next Monday, and I'm noticing all the familiar signs of pre-travel nerves: restlessness, difficulty in falling asleep, low levels of fear and anger promoting a general sense of malaise. It's not a long trip this time; we're just heading to the East Coast--Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington DC, mostly to visit museums and spend some time with friends. You'll be reading about it, surely, on The Buddha Diaries. I'll take the laptop along. I'm looking forward to it with the usual mix of excitement and dread.
There's something in me that wants to stay put. Perhaps we still carry the ancient genes of our ancestors, for whom it was inconceivable to travel more than a few miles from home. Our journey to Pittsburgh, a matter of some four hours from Los Angeles, would likely have taken us four months a century and a half ago; before that, it would have been unimaginable. It's my suspicion that our body-minds have not evolved at the same pace as our technology. I know that mine--my body-mind--recoils from such radical dislocation, and that restlessness and malaise result from its anxieties.
Last night, having gone to bed early, I woke before midnight and couldn't get back to sleep. My mind was racing, and my stomach churned. Beside me, Ellie was also wide awake, suffering from leg cramps and insomnia. A fine pair of travelers. I got up, swallowed down a couple of gulps of Mylanta with a half an Ambien and returned to bed. I slept until morning.
Am I alone in experiencing these symptoms? I'm sure not. I'd love to hear what strategies others might have found, to make those symptoms easier to live with...