Carnival Anxiety

Going to start this post by saying I recognize that there are people who suffer from daily and constant anxiety. This post is in no way attempting to make light of what they go through regularly nor to compare to that struggle. With this post I wanted to talk about how something that is usually as simple as planning a trip (usually, a joyous occasion) turns into something giving you anxious feelings. 

I love planning trips.

There is nothing that gives me a calmer and happier feeling than figuring out logistics and full travel itineraries for myself. I love it so much that I do it for other people as a hobby because PLANNING IS MY HAPPY PLACE. While others may be annoyed by such processes, I look to take part in as many as I can. 

I know some people that are afraid of flying and that gives them regular anxiety. I also know those who would rather not travel alone because that would give them unnerving feelings of loneliness or not feeling so safe. I understand this must be hell to constantly worry about especially for those who may have aging family abroad or have to travel for work.

While MY happiness may rest in planning and executing travel, for others it can be an overload in anxiety when it comes to; putting together the money to pay for it, planning for it, the actual process of flying to the destination etc. 

Usually it is pretty straightforward with me:

  1. Imagine somewhere I want to go
  2. Randomly search how much it would cost me
  3. Within 15 minutes have an idea of flight and stays for which time of year (even if this hypothetical trip may not even happen within the next year)
  4. Look at Instagram pictures of said place
  5. Read. Read. Read some more on Tripadvisor
  6. Book it
  7. Go on said trip

This year was the first time I can remember ever feeling anxious about a trip. Me. The person who does this stuff as a hobby. Me. Who has even been to the same event before in the same country. Me. The person who never gets anxious for any damn thing. 

I felt it. I am feeling it. Carnival anxiety.

My friends who have been going for years to Trinidad would always exhibit these emotions. I never understood it because it was so simple in Barbados when I went the past two times for Cropover. I would book my villa, my flight, maybe 2-3 fetes and put my deposit in for a costume. Was never worrisome and was never rushed. Everything came so easily with it and the vacation was always incredible. 

I did not/am not (I leave in three days) feeling any type of EASY, nor RELAXED about Cropover this year. The whole thing has felt like a whirlwind of; 'fuck, I hope I get these tickets in time' to 'fuck, why is our dollar so shit?' and finally now 'fuck, I got all these fete tickets, when the hell will I have time to pick up my costume(s)?' I even wrote a blog post for the sole purpose of explaining the costs of it this year

The process of finding decent flight prices, to making sure to register in your band/section before it sells out, to dealing with these committee-member-approval-needing-fetes and to accurately manage your schedule to get to fetes and pick ups after touching down in Barbados = stressful.

I will say one benefit to Barbados is accommodations vs. what my friends tell me for Trinidad, is that they are more readily available and also cost less. Also, I lucked out because some of my wonderful Twitter followers had great links on fete tickets and for a cabbie to use for the week.

I'm not sure if I can put myself through this again. Yesterday a picture was posted for the Trinidadian Carnival Band Tribe with starting prices for a backline costume being $936.00 CAD. That is more than my rent. Plus to get into the actual band is a maneuver around which links I have and who I'd have to beg to let me into any section in the band. There is other bands in Trinidad that I'm sure are a bit cheaper and less difficult to get into, but, from what all of my friends that have gone tell me - THIS is the band. Furthermore, finding accommodation that doesn't cost two months rent for one week seems to be a chore in itself that you need to begin two years ahead to have a chance at. 

Adding trying to get tickets to fetes for Trinidad carnival and how much more elaborate and complicated it is than Barbados - I don't think I can do it. Talking about going through this process again while writing this post is making my heart race as it is. Maybe I'm just not made to withstand these bigger carnivals.

There are just too many moving pieces to carnival that regular trips do not have and I find it hard coping with that you may miss out on something. Most vacations you just need to find a good flight and accommodations, while with carnival that is just the beginning of a long and drawn out process. I suppose I could have just gone to Barbados and laid on a beach for 6 days and played mas on day 7 - but that sounds remarkably boring to me. Self-inflicted wounds in the name of getting on and being worried I'd miss out on something awesome. 

I am planning to go to Jamaica in April of 2018 for their carnival as I hear that because it is somewhat still new (compared to Barbados and Trinidad) the costumes and fetes are still accessible and not complicated. Maybe Jamaica will be simpler and I will be relieved of my Carnival anxiety. Here's hoping.

- Mirna