I am arguably one of the worst travelers. And when I say this, I mean that I am terrible with directions, I walk at California/West Coast speed 90% of the time, I have a weak stomach, I always end up packing too much, and— did I mention?—I have absolutely no sense of direction (I blame it on my grid cells and lack of iron). To me, directions like “Turn right at the tree with the yellow leaves, keep going straight until you see the tall building, and then left at the first stop sign” make complete sense to me. You can put a map in front of me, and I can stare it it for hours, but I still couldn’t tell you how to get to that restaurant (Okay, maybe after the first 4 times).

Planning day-to-day itineraries are completely non-existent to me. I can tell you a list of things I’d like to see or do, but I couldn’t tell you when or what time we should go. I can tell you that my friend suggested a cool neighborhood, but I can’t tell you the history of it or the exact reasons why. I can tell you that I want to see certain landmarks, but I won’t shoot myself if I don’t see them. I have the urge to visit off-the-grid places and restaurants, but I also don’t mind terribly seeing or doing the touristy things.

I tend to make it to my flights and train rides by a hair, and I’ll oftentimes spend too much money on a cab ride. I am almost always at the mercy of the locals. I am a terrible traveler.

I’d like to call myself and “adventure seeker” and a “traveler,” but then I’d be a liar. As many places as I go to, I still can’t tell east from west. My stomach always acts up when I start eating new food, and no travel book in the world can convince me how to get over my fear of heights.

But God knows, I’ll try my damndest. I will read that “useful” phrasebook and pronunciation guide over and over again (at sometimes at no success). I’ll cry when I make it to the top of that hill I dreaded, but I’ll still force myself to do it. I’ll loathe the idea of walking around the city for a full day, but then I’ll go back home and avoid driving at all costs. And that return flight never gets any easier, and the terrible turbulence still makes my stomach turn inside out, and I still find myself muttering, “Please, god, please, god, don’t let me die, don’t let me die,” but I will still do it over and over and over and over again.

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