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Preparing To Travel

I am in the throes of travel prep in a big way. I have alerted my bank that I am traveling, bought international data plans for a month, packed half a suitcase, bought too many new clothes at REI (all of which promise to keep me dry, cool, fashionable, and able to walk to at least a dozen chateaus without doing laundry in between) bought power converters, loaded my iPad with podcasts, realized I’ve lost my iPod, requiring me to borrow Kevin’s and load THAT with podcasts, fretted, sweated, bought an SeV travel hoodie that has more pockets than Inspector Gadget, so that I can lose my passport in new and exciting ways, and generally convinced myself that my pocket will be picked as I am coming off the plane and then my luggage will explode.

In addition, my mother is flying here first, marking the first time in over a decade that my Mom has actually seen where I live, and thus I am trying to wrangle a late summer garden into something that does not look like a cross between an abandoned homestead and a kindergarten class growing seeds in a paper cup. I know that this is futile. You cannot fix a garden in a week, not in this season, and there’s no real point in trying. Still, being at the end of a wooded drive means that my garden never has to stand up to scrutiny by anybody other than me and the deer and the UPS guy*—having another Real Gardener here makes me long to make it look, y’know, GOOD, not a weed-blown disaster area.

Naturally this is the year that the one section of the garden that has been effortless and no-maintenance for the last three years went to hell in a handbasket. Everything got rained down, the bee balm died of powdery mildew by mid-August and the perennial sunflowers are laying on the Black-Eyed Susans and the Salvia greggi. Deer ate the wild quinine. Under normal circumstances, they’ll eat the house and resort to cannibalism before they touch wild quinine. That’s why I plant it. There is no salvaging the sunflowers, which are going to get torn out and replaced with a ninebark shrub when I return, but it just goes to show that the minute you decide a section is done and can take care of itself, it will fall over, burst into flames and sink into the dark tarn.

Also, there’s the house. The house is in pretty good shape, or will be once I sweep and get the border collie hair off the stairs (where it will resettle ten minutes later.) And my mother doesn’t care at all and will just be impressed that I am still alive. Still, I think there is this inherent need to prove to your parents that you have moved beyond What Your Room Looked Like In Fifth Grade/College/That Stretch In Your Early Twenties. The last time she saw my apartment, there were posters of Bob Marley and marijuana leaves on the walls. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. If you can listen to No Woman No Cry without getting a little misty-eyed, I don’t want to hear about it. But my decor tastes have moved on.)

We leave Saturday. I already miss Kevin. Without his ability to make friends with absolutely anyone, regardless of language barrier, we will be reduced to looking slightly lost and harmless, which actually works pretty well, but is a helluva thing to have to fall back on.

It will be fine. I will be fine. We will eat exotic cheeses and visit the tomb of Richard the Lionheart and see a giant mechanical squid. It’ll be awesome. I hope.


*And you guys, but carefully cropped photography will fix any number of ills.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

Have a BLAST! I am jealous and excited for you. Cheese, and travel and excitement await!

(Deleted comment)
You cannot cuddle over an internet connection. Yet.

Have a GREAT time.
Pop off a Tweet if you need help. We will hear you.

You're still at the stage where you have a living parent. Treasure this.

Safe travels and excellent adventures!

Have fun!

And I'm so glad I'm not the only one who does the "Oh my Giants! MY PARENTS ARE COMING!" and madly cleans.

Good travels!

My mother loves me no matter what I do, and she'd be the gentlest person about ever criticizing me, and she would never say a thing, but nonetheless I would be scrubbing my house and repainting and sending the cats off to finishing school if she said she was coming to see me (travel is almost exclusively the other direction), because I know, in my heart of hearts, that if my house is not a perfect example of competant and sustained adulthood, I would be giving my mother reason to worry about me. She would do it in private and not mention it to me, but she'd still worry. And I hate to make my mother worry.

(other than that one winter where I was convinced no one in the world loved me or was thinking about me, so I called her up and told her I was outside without a hat on, just for the reassurance of being fussed at. I have long since apologized. She thought it was sort of sweet. But she still bought me a hat.)

That is sort of sweet. In a sad way because it sucks to need that reassurance, but it's cute that you have that fuss-on-demand available.

My basic travel tip:
photograph your passport and other ID and email the images to yourself.

Also make a photocopy of passport, credit cards etc. and keep that page with you.

Safe journey and have a marvelous time! Ham and cheese sandwiches are the best there.

I know you didn't want suggestions of where to go, but I really hope that Mont St. Michel is on your list, because it's impossible in the very best way. Any place that has a sign warning visitors that the parking lot will be under water later is worth seeing.


Your MOTHER will be FINE.

You will have a marvelous time!

Repeat 50 times a day until departure.

Can't hurt, right? Safe travels!

Hmmm, I think I heard that part of the Carolina Prairie life cycle was a complete burn over.

Just saying.

Has anyone ever mentioned before that Kevin is seven different kinds of awesome?

Be aware, travel is addictive! Have a great time.