Europe Trip Stage 1: Planning

A few things about me when I’m in planning mode:

  1. I’m a heavy planner
  2. I’m a worrier
  3. I can’t wait (i.e., patience has never been a strong virtue of mine)

That being known, my desk is an absolute mess right now. I feel like I’m trying to plan a year’s worth instead of just a few weeks. The majority of it is because there is so much I don’t know as I’ve never been out of the US and I’ve never been away for so long. To put it into perspective: I’ve watched hours of youtube packing videos. Literally. Hours. Taking ideas from this one and that one and picking up on the most light-weight, versatile, best value items to pack. Every time someone shows a non-liquid way to do a thing, I add it to my amazon cart. Then I’ll watch another video and maybe there’s another way to do it. I’ll add that to my amazon cart, too, and compare. Then I watch videos reviewing those items.

That’s how far from prepared I am, and how overboard I go into research mode.

So many resources say to pack light, don’t pack for the worst-case scenario, etc., etc., and I’m trying to stick close to that advice. However, there’s no way to get around the need to keep your clothes and body clean. Being a fat woman, I won’t compromise on those things. If I die in Italy, I will do so smelling of juniper with glossy curls. Get at me.

In addition to the luggage, there’s so much MORE to plan geographically. Good god! I made a huge list of places to see, a “Dream Big” trip, if you will. Of course, a person can’t see all of Europe in 6 weeks, so I  narrowed down the list to a handful of countries. To get a smaller list, I had to determine “What kind of traveler” I am. Well, that’s easy. If I go to a beautiful, exotic beach with nothing but sun and alcohol and beautiful people, I’ll shoot myself. I’d go mad with boredom – I’m definitely a city hopper. I’ve got to be engaged and see beautiful human innovations and learn something while I’m out. I can’t relax the way the other half relaxes, and I’m okay with that.

The final cut (from west to east): Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Italy. This is still pretty loosey goosey; nothing’s set in stone except France.

Tackling one country at a time, city by city, the activities are slowly coming together. While all this is well and good and I’m slightly peppier in my day to day, I’m so anxious about this trip I can’t be content with only planning. To satisfy my need to get hands-on in the planning, I’m ordering a few things to try out and practice.

First up is cosmetics (re above about being a fat woman). Solid shampoo and conditioner are going to be essential, I believe, to reduce weight, reduce hazards, and keep my bag carry-on compliant. I’ve ordered Ethique’s Hair Sampler that comes with three shampoos and two conditioners to mix and match and see which combination works best for me instead of being stuck with a half-ass, last-minute pick that might completely destroy my hair (and self esteem).

Second is laundry (re above about being a fat woman). I fully expect to wash clothes in a sink on several occasions and use a line to dry. I found these Breezeo Detergent Strips that might be the best light weight, measurable alternative to liquid. I know some resources talk about using a single item for multiple uses, but I’ll be damned if I use body soap for clothes soap. I’ll carry an extra 2oz. in order to ensure my clothes don’t have a weird moisturizer residue.

Third is a few things for comfort: wax-based earplugs, a sleeping mask, and something I’ve never seen before – a “flight flap.” I’m not a huge fan of foam earplugs, they tend to hurt my ears overnight due to small ear canals and my being a side-sleeper. I’m hoping the wax plugs will be a good fit and will get the job done. I’m still debating on a face mask as it would be nice to have one of those suped-up 3D masks for attempting to snooze in-transit, but I basically sleep ON my face, so a flat one would be better for overnight. This magical “flight flap” contraption I am particularly interested in testing out as my last trip to Vegas nearly killed my neck. Holding a phone in your lap and trying to watch a movie is not the way to live life.

Lastly is a few practical things for luggage: Osprey Fairview 40 backpack, Eagle Creek packing cubes and compression cubes, and a pacsafe MetroSafe crossbody bag.

I’m hoping these last few things come in soon as I’m taking a mini-trip in two weeks. I’ll get to road-test these things on an actual airline and around a town I’ve never been to. Couldn’t ask for a better trial run in my opinion.

Oop! Which reminds me – I need to make plans for Kansas City!


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