[one_third]Travelling is an incredible luxury. That we can climb into a comfortable, relatively affordable aluminum tube, watch movies, drink beer and arrive on the other side of the globe for our getaway or business trip is nuts.

But even for its convenience, its associated adventure, its exotic appeal, travelling can be really hard. Beyond the excitement of leaving home on a long-planned sojourn, and well before the anticipation of returning home, there are moments, hours, and days that can be some of the most trying of our lives.

I’m exactly halfway around the world in Moscow, Russia. I’m on my way home after two weeks on assignment in Sochi. It’s been an adventure, and now, with a 24-hour layover in Moscow, I am heading into the downtown during heinous rush-hour traffic. My nerves are frayed, to say the least. It isn’t helping that my cabbie is hell bent on saving every precious second, regardless of six gridlocked lanes honking and cutting, stopping and going; he’s confident his shit-kicked Lada can survive close calls with massive Kadaz dump trucks.[/one_third][one_third]The directions to my hotel are off. According to the website, it’s not a traditional hotel, but a hotel “house.” Cheaper is always more of a hassle. I have directions from the last time I had wireless, but they’re in English. The door we see is in between two cafés, and both cafés named in my iPhone directions are in my native tongue. And, well, all the signs are in Russian.

The cabby gets me close, but the hotel house is nowhere to be found. I phone the number, tapping into $2.50 a minute, but I don’t care. I’m getting desperate, I’m feeling exposed and very far from home. The woman on the other end of the phone no speaka my language. My iPhone needs an app that can directly translate without an internet connection or pre-purchased data plan — again, cheaper is more of a hassle.

Even though I know I’m not going to die, and the situation is not extreme, I’m as nervous and worried as I have been the whole trip. Stuck with all of my crap, feeling totally on my own and not knowing anyone in this foreign city of 12 million, my mind starts to spiral into[/one_third][one_third]the abyss, and I begin to imagine every single bad thing that could happen to me right now.

Like climbing mountains or venturing deep into the backcountry, travelling gets us into places we may not be entirely familiar with. We’re forced to question ourselves, dig deep into our bag of tricks, test fear and derive enough resolve to get us through—to get us back to where we feel safe, secure, relaxed.

My Moscow blip was nothing more than that. I figured it out. But those few moments of pure aloneness and worry make the final turn into my driveway evermore powerful. There it is, the once-distant, now gleaming light of that place I call home.[one_third_last]

Photo: Jordan Manley