So, last night Donnie and I went to grab a beer at our favorite taproom before going to watch an amazing performance of Newsies. I was a bit frazzled because the dog had been crazy and so my mind was scattered when Donnie said, “I finished planning my next trip today.”
Now, Donnie has had some changes at work that require more travel and so of course that’s what I thought he was talking about, but it immediately reminded me I had seen a weird entry in our budgeting app which I assumed was an error on his part.
“Hey, speaking of, why did our AirBnB purchase for Boone show up as a purchase from Expedia? Did you enter it wrong?”
“Nope. That’s the trip I booked today. Guess where I’m going?”
“Somewhere that costs quite a bit?”
“New York City in November…for a week, and you’re going too.”
Now, my brain was immediately thinking he was going for work which was weird because he works in the tech industry, all of his US offices are in Silicon Valley or at least somewhere on the West Coast. I was panicking at the idea of me just being a tag-a-long for work because that does NOT ease my travel anxieties.
“What?” was all I said because my brain was not on the same page as his.
“Yep. I planned it. We’re going for 8 days. And guess what we’re doing on Wednesday of that week?”
This is when it started hitting me what was happening. My husband, who has not planned one major trip our entire almost 20 years together, had booked hotel and accommodations for a week-long trip to a city I don’t even think he was that interested in visiting. When we talk about planning big trips, NYC is NEVER something that comes up. EVER. So I was still slowly processing what he had done when he asked me to guess what we’re doing.
“I don’t know…”
“3rd row orchestra seats to see Hamilton.”
And that’s when I lost it. BUT WE ARE SITTING AT MY FAVORITE BAR AND IT IS CROWDED. So I put my hands on either side of my eyes like horse blinders and just started crying and saying, “What? Are you serious? What? WHAT IS HAPPENING?”
Y’all. I have wanted to see Hamilton for years. It’s been touring, I could have found a way to buy tickets but it’s still SO EXPENSIVE, and my love for the show kept me from doing it because I really wanted to see it on the original spinning stage in NYC. BUT DONNIE DID NOT KNOW THIS. I never even discussed this with Donnie because it would be so outside our budget considerations it’s not even funny. Y’all – we only go on week-long vacations once every few years because it’s expensive. We are solidly middle class, but we do not spend that money on travel or vacations.
Donnie somehow managed to plan a dream trip and he didn’t even know how much it was – quite seriously – just a dream. It’s not that loving gestures are out of character for him at all, but vacation planning is MY thing. And live theatre is MY thing. And going to Strand Bookstore (the second thing on my NYC Wish List after Hamilton) is my thing. So he did my job and planned a trip that he’ll obviously love, but built around MY things.
I spent the next hour or so just randomly crying and fanning my eyes and he was LOVING it because – like I said – WE ARE SITTING AT OUR FAVORITE TAP ROOM WHERE EVERYONE CAN SEE ME!
Of course, the reason he didn’t know how much I wanted to see Hamilton in NYC is because I can never get past my anxieties enough to even think about going to NYC. And I’m not going to ruin this amazing trip he planned with my panic attacks.
And that’s where you all come in.
My major anxiety triggers are: 1) Crowds and 2) Unfamiliar travel/transportation situations
(You see why I never even let myself dream of a trip to NYC.)
I’m okay with flying, I’ve done that enough that it’s kinda familiar. But everything else – taxis, trains, busses, subways – cause me MAJOR panic. I’ve used Uber and Lyft but only in cities like Nashville. Does it work the same in NYC?
And the crowds. Oh, dear Lord. How do I prepare myself for that?
So I need to plan the next 7 month to A) learn to understand traveling around NYC and to B) fill in the other days on our week-long trip.
The only thing I have to do is go to MoMA and Strand Bookstore. That’s it. We are staying in Midtown Manhattan, 4 blocks from Central Park near Carnegie Hall. I love culture…history and art. What should we do?
The main thing that helps my acute anxiety in these situations…well, is medication and I’ll be stocking up on that. BUT! The other thing is PLANNING. Knowing the best hours to avoid the subway. Knowing the best restaurants to eat at where there won’t be terrible crowds. Knowing the slowest hours the visit the biggest attractions.
And also the medication.
So fill my ears with your stories. Your fails. Your successes, and most especially if you’re a high-anxiety traveler like myself. Tell me things I need to know so I don’t seem like an annoying tourist because nothing will make me panic more than simply feeling DUMB in an unfamiliar situation. I feel like I need a chaperone. I mean, my husband will obviously hold my hand, but he loves new and exciting things and it will all make him smile with adventure while I’ll be cowering in the corner popping benzos.
NYC…here I come.