Regulars; No doubt your lives are currently on hold, desperately waiting for any news of our up coming Trip of a Lifetime. Ok, so it’s a mini-break of merely five days, but for those of you who have already waded through Bricking It and Tripping, you know that ‘Trip of a Lifetime’ is probably not too far an exaggeration. It’s a big deal. I have to get on a plane. And twenty years ago I said I’d never ever do that again. Ever.
Non-Regulars; (Don’t let anyone shame you for that, you be as irregular as feels right), we have an up coming Trip of a Lifetime as per details above.
Assuming we arrive alive, our destination is to remain anonymous until our return. Our reasons are multi-faceted. Gracing the top of the list is wanting it to be ‘our thing’, warts and all. Our vacation nation is known only to us, our insurers and our airline. Even our cat-sitter won’t know where we’ve gone till she opens our ‘in case of emergency or should anything happen to us’ letter.
I’m throwing myself into the prep and making the trip a daily conversation, to force into normality the idea of stepping foot into the bare open sky, hence dampening some of the fear. Is it working? No. No it’s not. But the opportunity to do something that involves lists, charts and a colour-coordinated filing system has got me so giddy, I keep temporarily forgetting about Dooms Day.
My other distraction is, of course, this little camp fire here. So what better way to keep the ‘what the freaking hell are you thinking – getting yourself propelled to Shit Knows How High at Warp Factor Perilous’ thoughts at bay, then to regale you with the build-up to Dread Day. Pull up a log and prepare to marvel at how many unbelievably trivial details I’m worrying over. On second thoughts, those trivial details will offer clues to our landing pad. You’ll have to make do with this;
My devotion to all things organisable means I’ve been in my element with the researching, planning and purchasing. Here’s a little peek behind the door of the ‘Operation Foreign Vacation’ Control Room.
LUGGAGE; The multitude of bags we take camping won’t serve us for this purpose, so many an hour has been
wasted constructively used to identify that perfect piece of luggage. I feel like a kid who’s found a pair of high heels to play in, it all feels very grown-up, important and a teensy bit glamorous. My partner has packed. I’m still making a list. But my absolute favourite buy so far is my luggage label. ‘Did she just say luggage label?’ Yes. Yes I did. I love love LOVE my luggage label! It was cheap as chips, but it’s funky and exotic. I have no idea what I’m supposed to write on it. I’m thinking;
‘Hey, look at my funky and exotic luggage label. LOOK AT IT! LOOK AT IT!‘
CLOTHES; I hate clothes shopping. I hate trying stuff on. I hate spending money on trash I look crap in. They call clothes ‘garb’, because it’s short for ‘garbage’. But I hate my naked body more. So I’ve gathered my strength and purchased a few select items, all the while trying to adopt the attitude and demeanour of a thrilled and thoroughbred carefree traveller, burying my inner clothes-shopping grump. I’ve gone for an easy to pack, crease-free, simple wardrobe. But apparently a wardrobe will exceed my baggage allowance, so I’ll just use the case I bought. I’ve chosen a super-coordinated palette, mixing black, cream and sage, which speaks of cool sophistication. There are dashes of whimsy and a hint of sparkle, for understated allure. But that’s enough about my knickers.
SNACKS; The high jinks kick off with a road trip. And no road trip is complete without snacks. If that sentence is alien to you, then I suggest you leave right now and never sully my pages again. Little in the world makes me happier than anticipating, buying or eating food. So the snacks inventory of ‘Operation Foreign Vacation’ can be found in the file marked ‘Priority’ and is sub-indexed ‘Def-Con One’. I’d rather forget my suitcase than forget the snacks. We also have a stonking road trip playlist to munch along to, so it’s vital we get the quantity and quality of our travel picnic just right. There is also the return journey to consider. OpFoVac’s Reconnaissance Team (me) has enabled us to plan accordingly (best not buy anything fresh or refrigerated), so we will have a well-stocked car for either our homeward run, the car thieves or the car tow, depending on how the Universe plays this out.
So, luggage label, knickers and snacks; if that’s not travelling light, I don’t know what is. I’ve pencilled in a full dress rehearsal before Distress Day, just to make sure those diamantes don’t clash with my passport. In addition, I will be packing my own life-saving equipment (bandages, whistle, latex gloves and inflatable lifeboat), maybe finally making use of the skills learnt for my Girl Guide first-aid and orienteering badges. I also earned my firefighters badge, but should the need arise, I’m hoping for someone slightly more qualified and experienced than the twelve year old brain which can identify the difference between a black and red fire extinguisher, (by colour, not necessarily its use).
It’s a little way off yet, but if you’re not already tired of hearing about this subject, then just you wait till we get back. Or, I may never speak of it again. You’ll just catch glimpses of me, wandering round with a blank stare, looking like I’d licked my finger and put it in an electric socket. Wincing, every time a plane flies over.
If you enjoyed that little jaunt into my irrational life, you can find more turbulent tales within The Lockwood Echo’s Travel Section. If this left you feeling somewhat travel sick, feel free to write your experience on a postcard and send it to someone who cares more about your welfare than me.