Schizophrenia and air travel

I have schizophrenia. I think this is common amongst modern air travelers. It’s a schizophrenia of alternating love and hate.

I’m in the air on my way to Bali. It’ll be my first time there, and I’m excited to experience a new place. I’ve heard that it is beautiful and the people are kind.

One side of me says: this is amazing that I can do this. It is incredible that in under two days I can go from the mountains of Idaho to the pacific Isle of Bali, part of Indonesia. Imagine attempting this journey 50 years ago. Or 100. It would be a complete ordeal, and the likelihood of making it safely was lower the longer ago you roll back the calendar.

That part of me definitely appreciates my freedom, the abundance, the miracles of this modern way of traveling across the world.

And yet another part of me rejects this. It’s that weaker part of me, that after over 30 hours of traveling and only 4 hours of sleep, feels worn out. That part of me – we can call her Morgan 2 – is not ready for navigating a brand new culture and country with her reserves depleted.

Morgan 2 heard that there’s going to be an onslaught of people that will greet her at the airport with arms waving and voices crowing about services they offer. Morgan 2 pictures people crowding in, pushing her to take advantage of their services, with eyes averted and lots of head shaking in an unspoken “no.”

Morgan 2 is experiencing claustrophobia after being packed into coach for 30 hours (3 long flights).

Do you ever feel like there are competing parts of you like this? I think all of us experience the different aspects of ourselves from time to time. The light side and the dark side. The optimistic and the pessimistic.

I think that a big part of life is just choosing which side we let dominate on a day to day basis. This is far more of a conscious choice than most of us like to admit.

Morgan 2 resents that I went against the advice from a mentor:  upgrade to first class… treat yourself like royalty! Morgan 2 thinks that it’s a pain that I got myself stuck here in coach, where I can barely fit my elbows in to type this as I feel the overly large thighs of the woman next to me rubbing against my side.

Yet Morgan 1 knows that I chose to ride in coach because a big goal right now is to build savings and wealth. You can’t do that when you’re spending every penny you earn. Morgan 1 knows that there’s a longer-term plan at work here, and that long-term financial freedom is more important than the short-term pleasure of riding up front with “the royalty.”

Morgan 1 knows I’m sick of carrying debt, some of which is from years ago due to the bike shop we closed in 2011. Treating myself like a queen is not just about riding in first class, it’s about getting to a position of total financial freedom.

So here I am in coach, packed into a small tube with 130 strangers, watching the battle of the two versions of Morgan play out in my head. Fortunately they don’t have mind readers yet, or I may just get locked up for being so schizophrenic. Though if they had mind readers, I’ll bet I wouldn’t be the only one fitted with the little white suit and the bearded dude staring at me through spectacles as he “analyzes” what’s wrong with me….

Morgan 2 comes out less and less for me these days, but she still pops up when I get tired. She also got a big boost from a travel experience in 2010. I was traveling through Paris, jet lagged, and I had my brand new iPad stolen out of my hands on a train, right before the guy proceeded to hop off at a station stop and run away. Morgan 2 said: “see, I told you so… bad stuff happens!”

Morgan 1 wants to love air travel. She wants to appreciate it for the amazing opportunities it brings. She just wishes that the airlines would make it easier to do.  They pack us in here, and we, willing victims, agree to being sardines in a tube.  Morgan 2 has a lot she could complain about.

But I choose. I choose to let Morgan 1 dominate this conversation. Appreciation always feels better, and brings better things in life back to us. Morgan 1 is the version of me responsible for all the big leaps forward in life, the big breakthroughs. Without her, I’d be in rough shape.

So today, like many of my days, is for Morgan 1. I will sit in appreciation for the amazingness that is this fast, convenient, and inexpensive form of traveling all the way across the world. I will sit in appreciation for my good fortune to be able to visit so many parts of the world in my life. I will enjoy this experience, and I will let the voice of Morgan 1 – the fearful voice – fade into the background.

How about you? How do you relate to travel and long trips? Do you love them, or hate them, or do you have a love/hate thing going on like your schizophrenic author?

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