Why do I put myself through this? It is meant to be enjoyable, something I've missed throughout the pandemic to date, something I've been looking forward to for almost twelve months. Yet, here I am on the eve of my first foreign holiday in over two years? Lying in bed with a churning stomach, worrying about what's to come.
It has always been the big contradiction of travel for me. I love a good journey, and visiting new places, yet I book trips in the full knowledge that I will spend the days immediately preceding departure feeling sick with anxiety, waiting for the starting gun to sound.
It must be because, deep down, I know that I'm doing the right thing, that there's no gain without a little pain, and that once it begins, once I step onboard that first train to London, all that pent up stress and worry will miraculously evaporate, enabling me to enjoy the experience. Of course it won't be the end of all anxiety, I know my body too well to expect that realistically, but those future worry pangs will mostly be constrained to the pressure points of the trip - finding my way through Terminal 5 alone, arriving at my St Lucian hotel in the dark, whiling away a day on my own in Rodney Bay before the others arrive, and somehow avoiding catching COVID when unavoidably in busy areas.
It should be quite a trip all told. Eighteen nights door to door, one at Heathrow's only five star hotel, two at a St Lucian resort, fourteen sailing aboard a yacht with the silliest name, and one squashed into an economy seat on the flight back home. It will include only my second ever transatlantic return flight, the longest time I will have spent on a yacht in one go, the furthest I have travelled alone and the longest time I have spent in a foreign land enjoying my own company. But it involves plenty of things I love, from a day long private tour of St Lucia, to some potentially exhilarating sailing, not to mention escaping wintry England for somewhere with daily temperatures in the high twenties and guaranteed sunshine.
I can't wait!