Travelling with a Control Freak

Map of Switzerland, published in a 1913 Baedek...

Travelling with a control freak is, I imagine, really difficult and perhaps not that much fun.  I wouldn’t know.  Probably because in a travelling duo, I am the control freak.

With the exception of the Russia debacle, I am relentlessly organised before a trip.  Every destination is thoroughly researched.  Every journey is googled using a number of booking websites, stop overs and airlines.  Travel forums are inundated with my questions.  And while all of these things are immensely time-consuming, I really enjoy the researching and organising stage.  So, at this point, any travelling companion of mine can consider themselves pretty lucky.  I will happily provide them with all the information on the chosen destination, including a thorough break down of costs.

So what about the actually travelling, you know, that bit between leaving home and returning?  That’s perhaps where being a control freak is a less beneficial characteristic.

While I hope that I am a wonderful travel companion in many ways, I do have an obsessive need to check that my passport is where I left it throughout the journey.  And for most of the journey, I will rack my brains wondering what it is that could possibly be creating that ‘forgotten something’ feeling that I can’t seem to shake.  And I might even have  a mini meltdown when I think I’ve lost something when in fact I am holding it.  I will insist on bringing my guide book with me, in case I get lost, and the pages will probably be covered in markings, underlinings and highlighting.  I will pat my pockets at regular intervals to ensure that nothing has magically escaped.  I will search for my phone again and again, just in case I stupidly dropped it.  (Once, in Verona, I ended up on the brink of tears, convinced that I had lost my phone, only to find it my bag fifteen minutes later – but that’s another story).

However, I have come to realise that these silly obsessions tend to detract from the entire experience.  So, while I can’t guarantee that I won’t indulge in any of them (because I will still annotate my guide book), I have tried to cut down.  Last year, I nervously handed over my passport at the beginning of the journey, letting someone else be in charge.  I even handed over my file full of confirmations and booking references.  Because I really think it is much easier for a non-control freak to take charge from the point of leaving home.  In Russia, I may take it a step further.  I might hand over my phone (or perhaps, leave it somewhere safe?).  I certainly won’t plan too much or create a ‘Things To Do’ list.  In fact, so far I only have one thing planned for St Petersburg.


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