WHY WORRY? CHAPTER XII
THE WORRIER ON HIS TRAVELS

Do not worry. Manifest your destiny.
WHY WORRY?
BY: GEORGE LINCOLN WALTON, M.D.
CONSULTING NEUROLOGIST TO THE MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL

XII.

THE WORRIER ON HIS TRAVELS

After all, is it not a part of the fine art of living to take the enjoyment of the moment as it comes without lamenting that it is not something else?

--LILIAN WHITING: Landof Enchantment

In no phase of life is the worrying and the "fussy" habit more noticeable than in travel. This is, perhaps, partly because the lack of self-confidence, which so often unsettles the worrier, is peculiarly effective when he has relinquished the security of his accustomed anchorage. This applies surely to the over-solicitous attention paid by the traveler to the possible dangers of rail and sea. Here is a verse from Wallace Irwin:

"'Suppose that this here vessel,' says the skipper with a groan,
  'Should lose 'er bearin's, run away and bump upon a stone;
  Suppose she'd shiver and go down when save ourselves we could'nt.'
  The mate replies,
  'Oh, blow me eyes!
  Suppose agin she shouldn't?'"

TravelersA common direction taken by the worrying habit, in the traveler, is that of taking in advance each step of the journey, preparing for every contingency, and suffering beforehand every imaginable hardship and inconvenience. I do not vouch for the story (though I can match it without going far afield) of the gentleman who abandoned his trip from Paris to Budapesth because he found he would be delayed in Vienna six hours, "too long time to wait in the station, and not long enough to go to the hotel." It is the imperative duty of every traveler to discover interests which shall tide him over a few hours' delay wherever it may occur.

It is by no means a waste of time to familiarize ourselves with the geography at least of our own country; to know the situation and appearance of every city of importance, and to know something about the different railroads besides their initials, and their rating in the stock market. Again, if we take up the study of the trees, flowers and birds, with the aid of the admirable popular works now available, we shall not only view the scenery with new eyes, but shall welcome, rather than be driven to despair, by a breakdown in the woods.

It is a mistake to shun our fellow-travelers, from whom we should rather try to learn something. This is a solace in traveling alone, for the boon companion may handicap us in cultivating new acquaintances and gaining new impressions. Though the main object of recreation is diversion from the daily round of thought, the fact need not be lost sight of that the busy man will find his practical interests furthered, rather than hindered, by a little widening of the horizon. Nor should he forget, meantime, the admonition of Seneca that if he would wish his travels delightful he must first make himself delightful.

It is inevitable that uncomfortable, as well as agreeable, experiences occur in travel. But the man who spends his time and thought in avoiding the one and seeking the other is steadily forging chains whose gall shall one day surpass the discomforts of a journey around the world. Arthur Benson in "Beside Still Waters" says that Hugh learned one thing at school, namely, that the disagreeable was not necessarily the intolerable. Some of us would do well to go back to school and learn this over again. I know of only two ways by which the discomforts of travel can be avoided. One is to ignore them, the other to stay at home.

A fellow traveler told me that on one occasion, in the presence of a beautiful bit of mountain scenery, he overheard two ladies in anxious consultation comparing, article by article, the corresponding _menus_ of two rival hotels. The fact that three varieties of fish were offered at one, while only two were offered at the other, opened so animated a discussion of quantity as opposed to probable quality that the listener discretely withdrew.

A lady on the Florida express, after reading a novel all day with an occasional interim, during which she gazed through her lorgnette with bored and anxious air, finally said to her companion, "I have not seen a single estate which compares to those in Brookline."

Among the varieties of needless worry imposed upon the traveler by the insistent habit, none is more common, or more easily overcome, than the refusal to sleep unless noise and light are quite shut out. If the sufferer make of his insistent habit a servant, rather than a master, and instead of reiterating "I must have quiet and darkness," will confidently assert, "I must get over this nonsense," he will speedily learn that freedom from resentment, and a good circulation of air, are more conducive to sleep than either darkness or silence.

The best drug for the sleepless traveler is the quo animo of Cicero.

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Why Worry - The Worrier on His Travels

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