20 April 2011

Pre-Italy for one nerves

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: travel

Last year, before I went to Napa for a week, I posted some of my pre-vacation fears because, well I was nervous. It was the first long trip I would take alone and I was still early in my travel for one adventures so anxiety was high. Some of my nerves were normal and maybe a little crazy but getting them out there helped.

And now it’s time to do that again.

In just a few days, I leave for my Italian vacation.

I’m excited and shocked that it’s finally time to go but I’m also scared as sh*t.

My mind cannot turn off about things I’m nervous and worried about, such as:

  • What if I don’t sleep on the flight? Will Advil PM really do the trick?
  • What if I have an awful time overseas?
  • What if I get lonely? Two weeks is a long time!
  • What if no one speaks English and they throw pasta or food at me when I butcher the language?
  • What if I get lost, miss my train or have literally no idea where I’m going?
  • What if my hotels are awful and I run out of stuff to do?
  • What if I don’t get to do everything I want?
  • What if I get flagged at customs and get the “friendly” security check?

Wow, re-reading this, it’s amazing I’m not clinically crazy. Goodness.

The thing is, no matter how much I research, ask questions of friends that went to Italy, etc., I have a tendency to get worked up about the unknown. Why? Because I have no idea what to expect, especially because it’s international travel.

I’m so grateful to those that have answered my questions and lent me books about the trip and I think I’m panicking because I’m feeling like I’m pretty prepared to go.

I guess what I’m most scared of is that after all this planning, travel and money, I’ll leave disappointed but I have to let that fear go.

So I’m trying to get everything done this week and then focus on the main thing, being able to go off the grid while I’m gone so I can really relax.

Woo! Here we go!

What about you? Do you ever get pre-travel nerves?


  1. Elizabeth says:

    I am so incredibly behind–I’m sure you’re already back! I can’t wait to read about whether your jitters were legitimate or if they were all for nothing. Either way, I’m excited to see what you did and how you felt during it all!

  2. Hebah says:

    I don’t travel much but when ever I do, I get pre travel nerves==all the time—

  3. Stephanie says:

    Your fears are totally legit! I always get pre-travel nerves, but never have I gone on a trip like this! When I went to Morocco, we were visiting my sister and she was in charge!

  4. E.P. says:

    You are going to be FINE! And it will go better than expected. And you’re going to have the best time.

    Cannot wait to hear all about it, lovely!

  5. allison says:

    you make me laugh! of course you won’t have a bad time, it’s freaking Italy!

  6. Carolina says:

    Hello! I just found you while looking through my “explore” folder in Reader and your post caught my attention.

    I currently live in Naples, Italy (originally from California but got married to a military man, so here I am!) and since you’re a little stressed out about your vacation (which, honestly, I can’t blame you – going on vacation by yourself? You kick major ass. Major.) I thought since I was here I could give you some tidbits to calm you :)

    First off, almost everywhere you go in Italy, someone will speak English – maybe not fluently, but probably a few words. Worst case scenario, they are great at charades here. The first few months I lived here I knew like 3 words and would just awkwardly act out whatever it was I was trying to get across – and given the people here are prone to large hand movements when talking anyways, they also would act out their replies.

    Also, I don’t know how much of the language you know but just practice a handful of helpful phrases. Hello (buongiorno), thank you (gratzie), please (per favore), where is the bathroom? (dove il bagno?). I’ve found that many Italians are just so pleased if someone (ie: tourists) make an effort to be a part of the culture and use the language that they’re very friendly even if you butcher whatever it is you’re trying to say.

    But the key: being humble and respecting their culture. It’s so different from America and there are a lot of things that Italians do regularly that Americans would never do – you just have to embrace it and take it all in stride.

    You’re going to have a blast! I love it here and am actually in the middle of getting ready to move in May (sad). There is so much to see, so much to eat, and so many people to watch – it’s incredible. The feeling of walking around here is so heavy with history that sometimes I get lost in thinking about just how many people have stood in the place where I’m standing over the centuries. Unbelievable!

    If you have any questions or want any tips – email me, I’d be happy to help!

    All my best,

  7. Akirah says:

    You will have a fabulous time and I can’t wait to see the pictures of all the awesome things you ate. That’s my favorite thing about your traveling posts.

    Anyway, I crazy envy and admire you and the way you just travel everywhere, on your own, like a badass. I love it. LOVE. IT. Have a safe and fun time in Italy. You deserve it!

  8. You WON’T have an awful time, and you WON’T run out of things to do. It’s Italy for freak’s sake! :)

    Now, the Advil PM may not work, but you’ll power through because it’s Italy! Also, you may get lost, but that may be the best way to enjoy the city. And there will always be someone around to give you directions when you need to get found again.

  9. Heidi Renée says:

    The men will leer at you, but no good Italian would ever waste pasta like that.

  10. I totally admire you, just so you know.

    Going on a vacation by myself is on my bucket list. :)

    (Me? I’m actually a really calm traveler, since just about every awful situation has happened to me while traveling. Including mass screenings for SARS in south east Asia, missing many flights, losing luggage, patdowns, getting searched, losing my passport, losing my tickets, etc. Ha. Anything is just an adventure, right?)

  11. I have thought about traveling solo overseas for a long time. So basically you are my hero right now. I would probably be just as nervous…but I have zero doubts good (no, GREAT) things are ahead.

  12. Marjolein says:

    I definitely get pre-travel nerves, big time.

    About Italy, in all touristy places you’ll find people who speak basic English, but why not get yourself a little language book with helpful phrases? And you won’t have an awful time in Italy, and you won’t run out of stuff to do (trust me) and if you don’t have time to see everything you want to see… well, you’re just going to have to go back some day! :)

  13. katelin says:

    i have a feeling everything will go swimmingly for you! so so excited and hope you have a most fabulous and amazing time, you deserve it!! ciao bella! :)

  14. I was DEFINITELY nervous about our trip to Europe but it blew my expectations out of the water. Most amazing time of my life, by far.

    You are going to have SUCH a good time and meet some fabulous people, nothing to worry about :)

    Will you be blogging at all while there?

  15. andyuk says:

    Europe welcomes you. I hope you enjoy your stay in Italy and have a magnificent time.

  16. Steph T. says:

    You will have a great time! Don’t worry about seeing everything. I have ruined vacations by doing that. Just relax and enjoy each experience. If you miss a train, then you were meant to experience something different that day. Take it all in stride and remember that this is your adventure…do exactly what you want. As for sleeping on the plane, I prefer just to go straight to the benadryl without the advil. Two of those suckers knock me out for a good 6 hours…and I’m not sensitive to medication. :) Have a great time and I can’t wait to hear all about it!

  17. Lil Woman says:

    You’ll have a blast….I get nerves but it usually is about flights and trying not to miss them

  18. charlotte says:

    ok so for sleep – i have thoughts! until recently i traveled a lot overseas for work and have tried lots of things and yeah you could take a sleep aid but i would say dont. you are going to be SO EXCITED when you get there it wont matter, and you will acclimate fast. youll be able to watch movies, read, have a glass of wine, drink lots of water (they always say it but its true).

    also, if youre worried about feeling isolated bc its two weeks, bring a couple books. yeah they take up space but you can always sit at a resto or cafe and read and eat and sop up the feel of the place. its awesome.

    ive only been to rome but i have a great cheat sheet document a friend put together of restos and cafes and stuff that arent tourist traps. email me if you want it!!

    SO much fun. this kind of stress is good bc its exciting and will end with adventures. also you can also usually find “original version” movies in the cities if you get really lonely. not perfect idea but find a subtitled americna movie (NOT DUBBED!) and get a dose of america then head back into the land of vino and pane.

  19. You, me = same. Except for the fact that you’re way more independent and a bold world traveler.

    First, run to Walgreens and get some Sleep II. When I went to Australia, I popped two of those suckers and was out for 8 glorious hours. Maybe just take one. :-)

    Also, are you bringing a laptop? Because Skype makes everything a LOT less lonely. When Dave was in China, Skype saved his sanity. Okay, fine, MY sanity.

    You will have an incredible time.

  20. Carolyn says:

    I always always get really nervous before I travel. those same questions you have, I get too!!

    •What if I don’t sleep on the flight? Will Advil PM really do the trick? Buy melatonin It works WAY better than advil PM

    •What if I have an awful time overseas? not possible

    •What if I get lonely? Two weeks is a long time! you might get a little lonely. but just make friends with everyone you meet!! put yourself out there!

    •What if no one speaks English and they throw pasta or food at me when I butcher the language? a lot of people will speak english. Those who dont’ will still try to help!! they are very friendly there!

    •What if I get lost, miss my train or have literally no idea where I’m going? you get lost you get lost. You’ll find your way eventually!

    •What if my hotels are awful and I run out of stuff to do? you’re in Italy. There is NO WAY yuo can run out of stuff to do. You hotel will have tons of brochures of excursions you can take. Plus you’ll barely be in the hotel to care how bad it might be.

    •What if I don’t get to do everything I want? Then you’ll just have to go back! lol

    •What if I get flagged at customs and get the “friendly” security check? it happens and it isn’t so bad!

  21. A Super Girl says:

    You definitely won’t leave disappointed! I will tell you that the lack of English shocked me when I went. It’s not that they don’t speak it, it’s just that it’s not the first language you hear. And even the tourists are speaking other languages, so it totally threw me off. But, I also didn’t learn the language at all, so that was maybe a mistake on my part :-)

    It’ll be great fun and no one seemed to mind when I tried (and failed) to speak the language. Italy was very nice and very welcoming!

  22. kimmy says:

    i promise you that you will not be bored in italy, if anything there will be so much to do and see that you can’t cram it all in!! :) if you get lonely, just think of all your readers who are stuck in the states or sitting at work bored out of our minds, anxiously awaiting your blog updates and photos.

    i have a feeling that if this trip goes well, you will have inspired me to plan my own solo vacation. :)

  23. Jenn says:

    I think you’re going to get there and find that you’re not as afraid as you thought you were. It’s going to be an adventure. Trust yourself and let go!

  24. Eliza says:

    I’ve had nearly all of your concerns realized at some time during int’l travel and they drastically improved the overall experience. Seriously and promise – the more things run amiss, the better the story. And you’ll learn about yourself and the culture. Ohhhhweeee I can’t wait to read the blog posts about your trip!

  25. I doubt you will have an awful time. My advice as a solo traveler is to just talk with people you meet, that’s how I ended up going out to dinner and such with other people when I was just in Europe. My advice is to go on a walking tour or something slightly scheduled like that and just start a convo with the people around you. I found that sometimes I was lonely but it was was nice to just sit in a cafe with my kindle and read or people watch.
    I found in Italy enough people spoke enough English where I has NO problem with my limited guide book English. I tried to order in Italian using the phrases and it was fine, I was a bit nervous about the trains though (especially when i was in czech/hungary) but i found the train stations in Italy were pretty easy and yay for pictures on signs! And I stopped in each city’s tourism office and grabbed a good local map (along with the ones in my books) and while i sometimes went the wrong way I was always able to find myself on the map and walk to something familiar, plus a lot of cities have the signs for x so i would always look for those to point me towards something familiar.
    I’m sure you won’t get to see everything because things pop up that sound cool or whatever but have the list of MUSTs and I recommend going to the top of the Duomo in Florence at sunset – gorgeous!! Hopefully the hotels won’t be awful and if they are try talking to the front desk but usually the ratings on tripadvisor and such I’ve found to be pretty accurate but remember the different standard for things in europe sometimes too.

    I hate to admit it but before i left for my eurotrip in jan i was freaking out a bit, but i had an amazing time and just had fun and tried not to worry abou the little things!
    (sorry for the novel)

  26. Mega says:

    You’re going to have a blast. Everything will be great! So jealous.

  27. lbluca77 says:

    But even if all those things happen, which I really doubt, I know you will have an amazing time. I’m so jealous you are going to Italy. Have a blast.

  28. i will pray that no one throws pasta at you ;)

  29. molly says:

    HAVE SO MUCH FUN!!! It’s going to be awesome!

  30. mandy says:

    Just a few days until Italy? Fantastic!! Everything will be great. I always get worked out and slightly freaked out before big trips too (and I’ve never traveled overseas). I would imagine what you’re feeling is pretty normal. Just take some deep breaths and think of all the amazing wine you’ll soon be drinking.