12 Emotional Stages of Your Travel Plans Going Absolutely Wrong in Every Way

‘Tis the season of merriment, guiltless consumption of cheese, and, of course, reading the impressive slew of public transportation-related complaints blowing up your Twitter feed. We’re all just gettin’ where we’re goin’ and unfortunately, when we all try to get where we're going at the same time, it generates this thing scientists call “traffic.” You’ve probably experienced the phenomenon firsthand if you have ever heard the song “Happy” loop five times in an hour on the same radio station and lost all semblance of chill. We’ve all been there; as I am typing this, I am there right now, stuck on a bus to New York that apparently is going nowhere. I know I am not alone: traveling is always a tiny nightmare, but at no time is it more haphazard than the holidays.

Watching your travel plans fall apart is stressful. But the thing about travelers is that we forge on and remain painfully optimistic that our situations will improve, even if we are trapped in the middle of the highway in Delaware stuck in front of the World’s Most Inconsiderate Bus Passenger who is yakking on her cell phone about how, “I can smell Nicky all over my hand. Like I rubbed him or something. Ew.” (Side note: please send help). If you’re enduring anything like the tragically awkward agony I'm in right now, then you have likely also gone through each of the following stages:

Throwing yourself into an organizational frenzy that puts Martha Stewart to shame

Game on, mass transit. The night before you leave – nay, the week before – you make lists, perfectly arrange backpacks, and print out all your tickets in a neat little folder that you have secretly labeled the “Look How Smug I Am About Organizing Things” folder. (Mine is red).

Being lulled into a false sense of security

Just because everyone else’s plans are going haywire doesn’t mean it’s going to happen to you. By preparing for every possible disaster, you’ve cosmically avoided all of the disasters already. Right?

Creeping anxiety starts to settle in your bones

This manifests in several ways, but the most common among them is weird dreams in the middle of the night about your car getting hijacked by Voldemort or the entire city flooding so that you have to swim your way to wherever you’re going. You know it's not real, but the uneasiness that follows is as real as it gets.

Reassuring yourself you'll be fine

The morning of your planned travel, you'll promise yourself that you will not lose your cool. You're fine—you have back up plans for your back up plans! You are the inception of back-up plan makers. You drink panic for BREAKFAST. You've got this.

Suffering the first big setback

Sometimes this is recoverable. Maybe it's something small, like realizing halfway to the airport that someone forgot their passport. Yes, turning around will be stressful, but it’s not undoable. You still have a chance at this day not being completely wrecked. If you do what my family did and stroll up to the wrong airport altogether, I can tell you from experience that you’re all kinds of screwed.

Being slightly irritated, but forging onward anyway

You handled it like a champ, just like you knew you would. You deserve a damn cookie, and you know what? You’re gonna get that cookie at the next possible availability.

Suffering the second big setback

Why is the universe conspiring against you? Is it because you lied to your teacher about why your sixth grade book report was late? Is it because you laughed at that video of a guy who had a trash can fall on his head taking the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Feeling an insufferable hatred for humanity you didn’t know you were capable of


Hearing “Eye of the tiger” start playing in your head

You are better than whatever this hot mess is happening here. You will conquer it. You survived too many finals weeks to give up on this trip now.

You stop feeling emotions altogether

Emotions will not make the cars in front of you move faster, nor will they make the broken down bus spontaneously fix itself. Feelings will not cause the snow to melt from the runway. Life is not a Disney movie. You cannot solve impossible problems with Rapunzel’s magic tears.

Suffering the third big setback

It will be a miracle if you ever gather up enough gumption to leave the house again.

Feeling pure, blissful calmness

Either you finally made it wherever the hell you're going...or you're so far off the edge of insanity that it doesn't matter anymore.

Images: New Line Cinema; Giphy (12)