The countdown has begun. I now have less than 24 hours before my flight to Europe and as usual, this is proving to be a most hectic period of time. Even though I’ve had to prepare for dozens of flights, trips and adventures over the years, I still find myself a bit overwhelmed upon realizing that I only have one day left to ensure that I’m ready for whatever may lie ahead.
And what does such preparation involve?
Well, the preparation for this Eurail trip has been somewhat different than the norm for me. To begin with, this may very well be the first time that I’ve had to pack a backpack full of warm weather clothes and as a result, I have found myself in disturbingly unfamiliar territory. My backpack has never before failed me in terms of having enough space to fit all of my possessions, however, those possessions have always included t-shirts, shorts and…well, not much else. Now I’m trying to stuff my heavy fleece, an extra jumper, a few long-sleeved shirts, thick socks, a scarf and two pairs of pants into my pack, which is being forced to endure an intense yoga-like session of stretching that it has never before had to deal with.
And in addition to suffering from winter clothes confusion, I’ve also been trying to complete the following list of tasks before I fly out to Zurich this very evening…
- Switch my mobile phone plan so that I don’t lose my phone number while away
- Go to the bank to take out some cash
- Buy some extra contact lens cleaning solution (because this stuff tends to be super expensive overseas)
- Eat one last chicken salad sandwich on a bagel from my favorite Brooklyn bagel shop
- Do a load of laundry
- Publish this post to my blog
- Visit some family and friends to say goodbye
- Send my broken external hard drive back to the manufacturer
- Purchase some vitamins to take with me
- Clean out my backpack
- Find a good book to take with me
I’m perfectly aware that not a single item on that list is so vital to the success of my upcoming trip that I should really spend more than a few minutes thinking about or trying to accomplish it, but in reality, every time I look at that list, my muscles tense and I start to wonder how I’ll ever survive if I leave any item unaccomplished. And of course, the more I dwell on this thought, the more overwhelmed I become and the less I’m able to concentrate on doing anything that needs to get done. In fact, the only thing I’ve crossed off my list so far is eating my favorite bagel sandwich.
Most likely, at least half of the items on my list will remain undone by the time I step foot onto my flight later this evening. And while at first that seems troubling to me, after a couple of deep breaths, and perhaps a glass of wine or two, I’m sure I’ll realize that it’s not so terrible after all. Actually, I already know what’s going to happen based upon previous experience. At some point, which very well may be in a few minutes from now, I’ll just throw in the towel and make the decision to forget about my silly list so that I can enjoy my last few hours in NYC.
It’s not as if Switzerland doesn’t have washing machines or ATMs or even stores that sell contact lens cleaning solution at prices that are most likely not as outrageous as I might imagine. I shall soon remember these facts and as a result, I shall survive, just as I have done dozens of times before.
Then, as soon as I’m able to let go of that list and stop worrying about things that just aren’t so important, my mind will instantly quiet down. The result will be a calm, happy me, and when I do board my flight this evening, my mind shall also be clear, fresh and fully prepared for the upcoming journey.
And once that happens, once any traveler stops worrying about whether or not they’ll find toothpaste in Bangkok, if they’re bringing enough socks or what might happen if they don’t buy extra batteries for their flashlight, they’re free to concentrate on much more important things, such as how fortunate they are to be getting on an airplane, about to travel and discover and learn, first-hand, about this world of ours.
So, as I finish this post, I myself have certainly begun to forget about my To-Do List above (apart from the item listed as ‘publish a post to my blog’) and I’m actually quite relaxed. My clothes are dirty, I don’t have any vitamins and I never made it to the bank, but I really do think I’ll be alright in the end.
Off to the airport I go, ready for Europe.
Hopefully I’m not the only one that gets a little overwhelmed before a trip…I’m sure some of you other travelers go through a similar stage before leaving as well, right?
For those who have yet to travel, do you think you’d spend your final day trying to run around accomplishing everything on your final To-Do list?