When everything else going on in my life, there is now the long-awaited Trip To France coming up at warp speed. We (my sister and I) leave August 24th to head to Seattle so we can catch our plane the next day. There is so much to do, time and money are threatening to strangle me in my sleep. Wait? Did I say sleep? Sleep has been elusive lately. My mind keeps on ticking and rolling things over long past my initial attempts to fall asleep.
I have never traveled abroad. Okay, I went to Canada as a kid, but that doesn’t count. All we had to do was drive up the freeway and get on a ferry. Back then, no passports were required to go into Canada on a day trip. This time is different. I NEED things to make this trip a smooth one. So much has changed since that decades ago trip to Canada. I had no luggage, no packing goodies, no little plastic travel sized thingie ma bobs.
My sister is a veteran traveler. She has been to France, Scotland, England, Italy and Croatia. She has done several tours with Rick Steves Tours. She has all the goodies to make it easy. In short, she has her travel crap together.
She has been an enormous help to me.
First off, she gave me her old Rick Steves brand carry on bag. That sucker holds a ton of stuff with a little careful packing. She took me shopping at the Rick Steves shop in Edmonds. Yup, we went to The Ricks Steves travel store. We also went to a another travel store, Ricks Steves (believe it or not) does not have everything. My generous sister bought me packing cubes, good luggage tags, a money belt and a few other travel items to make my life a little easier. She has made very good packing suggestions, and recounted some her more interesting encounters with tiny hotel elevators, miniscule bathrooms and how to wash your under things and socks in a sink. She has made all, and I mean ALL, the arrangements for this trip. From the airline tickets to ordering Euros. She pulled out her very best French (and French books) to write to the hotels and gites in France to secure us accommodations. She reserved a car (a Renault Twingo -who wouldn’t want a car called a Twingo?) and our rail passes. She has asked me what I want to see in Paris and made an itinerary of the sites we want to hit. We sat down together and plotted our course from Paris to Tours to Cognac. She has been a whirlwind (in both French and English) and done an excellent job. I never, in a million years, could have done this. If my had depended on it, I’d be long dead.
So what is left? I know, I know! My sister has done it all! I shouldn’t have a darn thing to do, right? Just pack my bags, grab my passport and hop in the car.
Yeah – right.
I have a dog who needs a place to stay while we are gone. I have started the process with a local boarding facility that is fantastic. The dog must pass an interview and test visit. Both are done. Now she will go on Mondays for ‘day care’ to get used to the place and people. And this costs money. It ain’t cheap. I am negotiating paying ahead so I don’t come back to an enormous board bill. She also needs all of her vaccinations updated.
I still need a few things. Travel stuff is rarely cheap (okay, inexpensive) and travel clothes do not come in tall sizes. I am looking at my wardrobe and making a few decisions about what I will bring for sure. I may a couple of things. A lot of it can’t be decided right now. We don’t know if the weather is going to turn cool or stay hot. We won’t know until we get closer to our departure date.
Our departure date is about 1 month away now. It seems like loads of time when you look at it from a distance. If you have ever made plans ahead, you know how the calendar works. Time crawls along, fooling you into thinking you have all the time in world to get ‘that’ done. Then all of a sudden, it’s time drop off the dog, get your hair cut, get your nails done, pack your bag, grab your passport, load up the car and catch your plane. It feels as if you are caught up in a whirl wind. And you just know something will not go as planned.
All this is followed by airport security, the endless flight, time change, jet lag, customs, immigration and finding the way to your hotel in strange city where you can’t really speak the language.
I can’t wait.