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April 30, 2015

Yesterday I almost did something that my 25-year-old self would have beat me senseless over: I almost refused a free trip to Turkey.

I had been hemming and hawing over this opportunity for weeks. The invite came through Turkish Airlines (Europe’s #1 airline, and no they did not pay me to say that; I’m just bragging). I found every reason to question it: it doesn’t seem legit, they didn’t provide much info, I don’t know how safe this is going to be…

The number one item on my life bucket list is travel. I am constantly frustrated that I didn’t spend the first year after college back-packing around the world. R and I save $5 bills for the sole purpose of taking trips for Fodor’s sake, and yet I was trying to find excuses not go on an all-expenses paid trip to one of the top destinations in the world. Why?

Because I was scared.

Venturing abroad without every single detail set made me nervous. The idea of not knowing a single travel companion of 30 total people gave me anxiety. I literally thought, what if my stomach is a mess over there and I’m the girl with a bad stomach and then ugh I get motion sick…they’re going to hate me.

Right there is around where my 25-year-old self would have laid the smack down. She went to Sicily on a boat with zero hotels booked and three people she just met. She took an overnight train from San Sebastian to Paris without a way to contact the guy she was meeting on the other end. She did a few other things that she can’t publish here because her mother reads this blog.

So where the hell did she go? I’m afraid that the answer might be into her 30’s.

Is it possible that we get more anxious with age? Maybe because we know more? That’s why our parents are always so nervous, right? There’s something fair about that, and maybe even smart.

But in this circumstance it also had to do with my comfort zone. It seems to have shrunk. Is that because I’m more set in my ways now than I was as a carefree 20-something? Has the fact that I’ve stopped meeting tons and tons of new people at every turn made me more nervous about meeting 29 fellow writers, in Turkey? My life is more controlled now. Does that mean I crave control more than I did before I had so much?

It seems like the answer to all of the above is, yes, even though that is an answer I absolutely hate. I makes me feel like my 20-something self was superior to this nervous Nelly version. Or at least, it makes me miss her.

Lucky for me she still exists, in a way, just a phone call away. I have three little sisters between the ages of 21 and 29.

“GO!” Dani said. She is the sister who has already traveled to Turkey. “You’ll regret it if you don’t,” she continued. And then said something wiser than either of our 20-something selves could have come up with: “It’s like Amy Poehler says…”

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We agreed that, when in doubt, do as Amy Poehler would do. And she’s older than both of us, so I guess that means age is just a number, and fear is just a feeling.

…A feeling that I thankfully overcame in this instance. I leave for Turkey on Monday evening.

With me luck and an iron stomach!


1 comment

  1. Jessie, I’ll be in Turkey with you facing the ‘same stuff’ as you will be and I’m a 75 year old Bubby:) Pleased to meet you!

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