Tranticipation (noun): a made-up word formed as an amalgamation of the words ‘trip’ and ‘anticipation’ designed to define the often intangible feelings of hope and positive expectation that precede a trip abroad.
For those of you who have followed this blog for awhile (or read my book You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper), you know by now that I have a penchant for inserting my own made-up vocabulary to describe various aspects of the travel process (for a somewhat exaggerated example, see the post Maximization and Other Made-Up Travel Philosophies). As I near the homestretch before embarking on my latest voyage to Scandinavia, Italy and the Netherlands, I again find myself needing to invent terms in order to explain the oh-too-subtle-nuances of a travel junkie about to get a fix. If you know what I mean (or would like to) read on for the what, where, and how that makes tranticipation such a desirable experience – even if I only made up the term this morning.
What’s In Store?
There are always a lot of ‘whats’ that stoke my tranticipation before leaving on a trip. In this case, some of the whats that are busying my mind are: What will Sweden really be like on the summer solstice? Will I ever be able to eat a Swedish meatball, fish or walk into an IKEA without being reminded of the time I will have spent there? If I duck into the kitchen of a restaurant in Gothenburg, will the (presumably) Swedish chef really be a crooning clown with a ridiculous accent, or have the Muppets been lying to me all along?
There are so many open-ended questions; so many answers to be discovered that can only be satisfactorily resolved by actually embarking on the voyage and exploring the multiverse of possibility firsthand. And that’s just for my first night!
Where’s It Gonna Be?
Inevitably, in every voyage, there is that one place where you’re taken by surprise at how lovely/interesting/fascinating/insert-favorite-adjective-here a location can be. Usually it’s someplace you didn’t even expect. Acute tranticipation has me wondering where in the next few weeks that place will be. Will it be at some random lookout point over the Norwegian fjords? Will it be sitting at a terrace with a bottle of wine on the Amalfi Coast? Or perhaps strolling across the quaint canals of Amersterdam?
The fact is, there’ s no way to pinpoint that amazing place ahead of time. That means that half the fun is discovering where on the trip that inevitable moment decides to reveal itself. Tranticipation indeed.
How Will This Play Out
You never know how a trip will go before leaving home. The same can be said – and more – about how a trip will affect you even after you return. For instance, I find myself wondering how I will view New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park – which at this moment in time is what I consider the most beautiful place on earth – after being exposed to its more famous counterparts in the far northern hemisphere. Will I have a new favorite?
I wonder how I will feel about the magnificent Italian island of Ponza now that I return for a third time, though under very different circumstances than the previous visits. Will it still seem a home away from home for me, or have my travels since then eroded my emotional ties to the place?
Such uncertainty breeds tranticipation, which as mentioned before, can only be sated by the act of traveling. So as I head off for Europe, perhaps you too can relate to the sensations described here, even if you didn’t know what it was called. And I also hope that you too get the chance to add your own definitions, as I set out to expand my own.
Is there an aspect of tranticipation that you feel before a trip? Please share by commenting below.