27-Day Backpacking Excursion / Studying Abroad at UCC

If something is not to your liking, change your liking.

I am hoping to find the time to write two other blogs today (in the midst of checking into our flights and finishing packing), but this is not one of those two. This post is messing up the chronological order of my blog posts, but I guess I’m willing to compromise on that. Just as I’m [struggling to] going to compromise style for comfort during our backpacking trip. Yesterday I tested out the whole ‘tennies with skinny jeans/leggings’ situation. I’m going to be honest…not quite sold on the whole idea. But we are traveling a  whole lot, so I’m thinking that just maybe I will be grateful in hindsight.

First of all, for those of you who do not know, our 27-day backpacking journey through Europe begins at roughly 4:00 am today (which is 10 pm for those of you in the states!). This adventure includes meeting up with six of our friends at different points along the way, but the core of the trip is Taylor and I. We will most often be with groups any where between 3 and 6 people and will be spending between 1.5 to 4 days in each country (once you subtract the time it takes to travel to each location). (In alphabetical order) We will be visiting: Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, and The Netherlands.
Screen shot 2013-04-07 at 8.58.27 AM
So back to how I was feeling right when I woke up this morning. I’m pretty confident that my stomach dropped…and then literally fell out of my bed. I would equate it to how I felt on the morning of my driver’s test, or the morning I realized I was moving away to college for the first time, or perhaps the morning I woke up and realized I was flying to Ireland. All of which turned out completely fine, but they kept me anxious for a good while. Don’t get me wrong, I am going to LOVE this month and it’s literally going to be the adventure of a life time, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a little terrified. But I know all we have to do is begin, because the anticipation is always the worst.

It’s one of those days when you wake up and once your mind realizes what day it is, you’re done for. There is no hope of falling back asleep. It doesn’t matter how much you have slept, or how much time you have before your alarm is suppose to go off, you are awake. So that’s that. I’m hoping I’ll get a little nap in later this afternoon before I have to wake back up around 3:30 am.

So needless to say, I feel like a travel agent/mom. I have a binder with all our hostel bookings and transportation passes and have highlighted the most important information. We have literally been planning the logistics of our trip for over a month. From planes to trains to buses, the transportation aspect is what gets you. The flights are easy, it’s the smallish distances from the airport to the hostel or from the hostel to the train station that are tricky to figure out…and I’m sure they will be the trickiest to navigate when the time comes. But we feel well prepared. I feel pretty ready and I still have an entire day to quadruple-check everything.

Packing. I’ve read a million packing list recommendations and primarily based my list off of Rick Steve’s list (http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/rick-steves-packing-checklist.pdf). I have been collecting miscellaneous items for a good time now. And though my room looked like a war zone last night, it’s shaping up nicely. Zip-lock plastic bags and some ebags packing cubes are helping me stay nice and organized, and for anyone who knows me, that’s a vital component to my life…especially when it comes to living out of a backpacking that is 55cm X 40cm X 20cm. The fact that I’m only going to have about 6 or 7 shirts, including the one on my back, is a novel idea. Refreshing. Not necessarily fresh per se, but refreshing to not be overrun by clothing. And don’t worry, I did remember to pack laundry detergent. Hello sink washing.

IMG_0541
This was during the war zone period, but things are looking up.

So Taylor and I are heading to the library in about a half an hour to check into our flights and print out our boarding passes, some maps, and key addresses. Other than that, today I have to pick up a few items from town, literally pack the stuff that is laying on my floor into my bag, probably walk around my apartment and test out the weight of my backpack, and then whittle it down a little further. I also have a little internship application work to do and I have to send some emails regarding class registration for my senior year!! How crazy is that?! Let’s not think about it. If I’m lucky, I’ll get to writing the 2 blogs I need to write and then I’ll be all caught up.

And here’s my theme for the next 27-days:

“Be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic. If something is not to your liking, change your liking.” -Rick Steves

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