I'm not usually one to focus on the negatives, but for anyone thinking of just up and leaving - whether you're backpacking or moving to the next state - here are some of the challenges you might face.
1) The guilt trip - People will try to make you feel guilty for moving forward with your life. Honestly, nothing pisses me off more than this. When someone tells me, "I can't believe you're leaving me here!" I just want to give them a big "fuck you!" People like this should have no room in your decision making paradigm. Over a year and a half ago one of my best friends decided she was going to move to Colorado because she had always wanted to live there. Was I sad to be losing my best friend to what felt like a foreign land? Yes. But I was proud of her more than anything. She had a dream and she was pursuing it. Besides, it's only a 10 hour drive from my place to hers, and who doesn't love a good road trip?! Plus, now I had somewhere to stay when I wanted to go snowboarding! That same friend has been nothing but supportive of me and my decision to go to Europe. The friends who support me are the ones I'm going to actually want to keep up with while I'm gone. The ones who try and guilt trip me? I don't think I can even consider them friends..
2) Preparing - Due to my extensive planning and laid back nature, I am probably one of the least anxious people on the planet. I'm a 9-1-1 dispatcher, I have to be. But somewhere under this calm demeanor is a little minion wringing his hands. When I find him, I'm going to punch him in the throat. As with any move, I've had a ton of things to do to get ready before I leave. I finally managed to sell my car, so that has relieved a lot of stress for me. I had to get new lenses in my glasses before leaving, which is proving more of a hassle than it should be. Apparently, they got my prescription wrong on my glasses and are having to send them back. They're saying it may take two weeks, and I'm leaving in two and a half. I'm hoping they get it right this time.. I'd love to be able to actually see the sights.. Every trip will face it's prepping challenges. Just remember that life isn't out to get you, it's just happening to you. Learn from the mistake and move on.
3) Loved ones - While most people may find this to be the primary source of their moving anxieties, I've never had much of an issue with leaving my family behind. My parents raised me and my siblings to be independent, and it took quite well. I'm not one to miss people, and I'll be able to keep up with them via facebook whenever I have wifi. They'll still be here when I get back, so it'll be fine. That being said, I am desperately going to miss my morning gym time with my little sister. She is my best friend and every morning when we go to the gym it's like morning therapy session. And my mom. I can talk to her about just about anything. To me, she knows pretty much everything. If she doesn't, she knows what advice to give you to find out. It took me over twenty years to find out that little gem of information, but now that I know it, it's proven quite useful. Can't find something in walmart? Call mom. Need to diffuse a bomb? Call mom.
4) The noose of familiarity - Aahhh the familiar. The comforts of your own home. Seeing people you know. Eating at restaurants you love. Not having to look at a map before you switch gears from park to drive. Hearing your own language. These are all things I feel both excited and slightly anxious about leaving behind. Especially since I've never been out of the country before. In fact, I've never even been to either coast of these United States. Were this trip only meant to last for a week or even a month, I'm certain my inner anxiety minion wouldn't be wringing his hands, but since I don't have a clue how long I'm going for, or where all I'm going, it makes me slightly anxious. Truth be told, I've only ever used public transportation once before and it was a complete disaster. In my defense, the stop I was supposed to get off at was "down for maintenance" whatever that meant. Either way, my experience with it has been anything but stellar, and that will be my primary mode of transportation in Europe. I'm not one to back away from a challenge though. Navigating a new continent on my own in a language I don't speak? Sounds like a challenge to me.
These probably aren't the only four challenges I'm facing. To be completely honest, it took some thinking for me to come up with them, just because I don't think of life in terms of challenges. I've always been the type of person to just put my head down and power through and look for the next adventure. And I don't have a solution other than that. I know that if you feel the weight of these challenges, you can't just will them away. Anxieties will only subside with positive experiences and a bit of courage. And if you feel fear, drape that shit in a blanket of courage.