Ok, true confession: I am a neurotic traveler. Well, to be more specific: I am a neurotic pre-traveler. With one week to go before heading off to Aranjuez, Spain to give my first international talk (El uso de los blogs dentro de los museos de corte tradicional/New World Blogging in a Traditional Museum Setting), I’d sleep much better if I was entirely packed and ready to go. I’m always afraid I’ll forget something. A MacGyver I’m not.
Spanish translated PowerPoint: check (on thumb drive, on CD, on .mac drive and ftp site –yeah, that should cover it); clothes decisions made (hot weather, casual conference they tell me): check. Laptop: check and already nestled in my new international trip backpack. While not entirely a “light” traveler, I like to travel as light as I can: unencumbered both physically and mentally. Until now I’ve managed never to have taken my laptop on any trip, business or pleasure. But then again, I haven’t traveled out of the country for nine years. Yes, I’ll admit to that too.
When I started to consider international calling plans to keep in touch with the family, I suddenly discovered Skype. For someone who’s supposed to be on the technological cusp this was a long overdue revelation. Free PC-to-PC telephony –a new tech development since my last international trip. That, alone, made taking my computer irresistible. Tested on our laptops, my two girls now think they have an in-house walkie-talkie. It’s not that I haven’t traveled to far-flung places: the interior of China twice, way way off the beaten tourist paths. I’ve just been focused on domestic issues for a while. Yeah, that’s a good way of spinning my isolationism.
Oh yeah, don’t forget your opening remarks in Spanish (although I need to practice). I had fantasies of giving my whole talk in Español but I only got through the first 20 lessons of Coffee Break Spanish. Should it come up I can say with confidence: Tengo dos hijas. I have two daughters. I guess I haven’t come to the lesson “So you’re giving a talk on museum blogging in Spain” yet.
What’s really funny about these language lessons is that I learn more useful phrases when they talk to you in Spanish about the lesson itself. I experimented with Pimsleur a bit and came away remembering that most useful phrase Escuchar y repetir: listen and repeat. Well, they repeated so often I couldn’t help but remember it. And in Coffee Break Spanish I will be able to weave into my presentation: Vamos a empezar: Let’s begin.
So, there’s a pile of travel stuff starting to grow in the corner of our bedroom. And I keep some paper and a pencil next to my bed so I can write down additional items I need to take when I suddenly remember them in the middle of the night.
Forget the excitement of arriving in Madrid. I can’t wait for the excitement at my airport arrival for takeoff. By then I’ll have remembered everything or not. And I can just relax and enjoy the trip. Geez, Jeff, it’s only a week.