Yes, I think some visceral awareness of the calendar changing over to fall still lingers in me, triggering a kind of atavistic reaction born of decades (centuries?) of educational clockwork.
I vividly recall the first August I spent completely outside of the school system, neither student nor teacher for the first time. I couldn’t sleep, had trouble concentrating, and was snappish and stressed… for absolutely no reason. My mother was the one to finally solve the problem, pointing out that I had been anticipating the start of the school year for the overwhelming majority of my life at that point.
For a few precious years I was able to lose most of that embarrassingly painful reaction, blissfully unconcerned, only noticing the season change by falling leaves and early evening chill.
But now, it comes again.
I’m not heading back to school full time, or taking up teaching again. Instead, I’m heading off to Europe on a multi-week journey that will land me on a total of 5 flights and 3 major cities (not including layovers and day trips) and only one country in which I’ll be able to converse somewhat fluently.
Berlin. Madrid. Paris. I’m coming for you!
The first two cities are specifically work-related, which makes them doubly exciting. Our EU HQ is in Berlin, and I’ll be visiting very briefly to train my sales counterparts in the finer points of selling to the jewelry industry.
That will be followed by a tradeshow adventure in Madrid — my first international show! — to train a Spanish reseller on… the finer points of selling to the jewelry industry.
The remaining portion of my time abroad is to be spent avec mon mari, wining and dining and reveling in a city I have dreamed about
living in visiting for my entire life.
To say that this is an incredible opportunity would be an understatement, but that doesn’t remove the tiny bit of anticipation I’m feeling as I make my packing lists and take care of all the pre-travel details. It’s the old butterflies-in-the-stomach, fingers crossed I picked a cute outfit, ohmygodwhereismypencilcase feeling rearing its obnoxious head.
I can safely say that facing down this beast as a confident and capable adult is making it much easier. But I’m open to any advice my more experienced readers might care to offer, and I don’t just mean the reminder to buy and pack a converter that works in all 3 countries (check!). How did you manage your first solo travels abroad, and what did you do to make a great first impression? What should I bring with me or leave at home? Did you survive on a single carry-on and laptop bag, as I intend to do?
Feature photo courtesy of mon père, who will certainly remind me to take my own version when I get there!