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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

booking my flight to London… or not

Oh, god, it’s really happening.

I was just at the point, this morning, of confirming my reservation to fly out of New York to London on Tuesday, January 18, when the British Airways Web site crashed — it’s apparently under heavy load from everyone whose travel got disrupted by the snow in England trying to rebook, or get information, or whatever. Gah!

It’s pretty clear now that I am not one of the winners of the British Airways small-business contest I had you all voting for me in last month. I haven’t heard a peep out of BA, not even a “Sorry, you didn’t win,” so I figured it was time to finally accept that, bite the bullet, and buy the ticket. I thought it might settle down my stomach, which has been doing flipflops for a few weeks now, as I contemplate the fact that it seems I really am doing this. I thought actually having a flight time and flight number and confirmation in hand might, at a minimum, trade one kind of nervous tummy for another one. And now I’m left in anxious limbo while I wait for the BA site to fix itself.
The thing I’m doing: Selling, giving away, recycling, or throwing out 95 percent of my possessions. Giving up my apartment. Putting some clothes and my laptop in a bag. Flying to another city in another country and seeing if I can make it work, both professionally and personally. Having no idea if I’ll return to New York in defeat before Easter, or whether I’ll end up making a new life in London. Starting over, one way or another, because even if I do end up back in NYC, I won’t have so much as a frying pan to my name. And unless things go pretty well, I won’t have the resources to get back to even the meager situation I’m currently in.

Am I crazy? I must be crazy. I’m terrified. Excited, too, of course. But also terrified. Things have been not so great on either the professional or personal fronts for a long while, and I knew it was time to take some proactive action. But still…

It’s not so much London itself, as a destination, that’s the terrifying thing. It’s the deciding to make big changes and maybe discovering that the problems can’t be solved, don’t have positive solutions. It’s easy, I suppose, if cowardly to not take any action, and then you can continue to blame everything else but yourself for your failings. It’s quite another thing to take a risk, try to force some change, and then learn, possibly, that yes, everything that’s wrong is your own fault.

I’m trying not to think that way. I’m trying to stay positive and hopeful and just think in small baby steps about moving toward the change.

And then that one baby step I tried to take this morning — buying the ticket — got thwarted.

I’ll be writing quite a bit about the move from New York to London over the next few weeks, and then about life in London. These posts won’t be movie related, so just skip right over them if you don’t want to hear me filosophize about it all.

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