It’s a Journey

IMG_20160616_183615 IMG_20160616_203934Spent a lovely and lively morning with an old friend and got to meet her love and hear about her new life on the West Coast.
Modesto has been a great stop for that alone!
In the way we saw a young bear running across the road and enjoyed the trees and streams and waterfalls of the High Sierras. Stopped in Folsom, CA for a taste of Atlanta and Got a few more precious hours with my love before we say goodbye.
Next stop: San Francisco!

Saying Goodbye

80 days is a long time to be away from home, and that’s hard, but leaving a contract with a team you’ve enjoyed working with and not knowing if you’ll see them again is even harder.

Had such a good time working with everyone – loved the work that they were doing and the joy and energy they put into it. Totally changed my thinking about State employees! The State may be crazy and insane, but there are some damned good people there.

Will miss you guys.

The Planning Puzzle

We’ve been planning and making reservations since December for our trip that starts in just two weeks. We’re not done yet. For less complicated, shorter trips, I’ve really just winged it for years, but for 80 days in 7 countries and 21 cities (and half of those are the 3 week Spain driving tour) it has been necessary to bring a little more project management to the  game.

There’s so much to be done and organized. I have to confess, I thought I was organized, but find that I need a check list for each city we are going to visit so that nothing slips through. Here’s what I’m using now:

 City Name London
Wake up in San Francisco, CA
Arrival United Air to London, Gatwick
Gatwick Express to Victoria
Underground from Victoria to Putney
Transportation Oyster Card – pay as you go
No rental car
Lodging Staying with friends (thank you!)
Food &  Entertainment 8 tourist days (plus 2 travel days)
See London Itinerary (includes sites and list of restaurants to check out)
London Pass for 10 days (it was on sale)
 Departure Bus/Tube to Stansted Airport
RyanAir to Edinburgh

Because we are going in high season, we’ve also booked tickets for a few things we really don’t want to miss, like Stonehenge and Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. We’re going to my godson’s school fete, and Jacob has a long list of things he wants to see, so we’ll created a detailed itinerary in calendar form to make sure we don’t forget anything. (Or double book ourselves!)

By doing this, I realized I’d accidentally booked hotels for two different cities on the same night (non-refundable for one, so guess which one we are doing?) and a rental car in Crete for the week we are in Santorini. The good news is that when I re-booked, the rates were cheaper and we got a convertible for the same price. Score!

I am now at the obsessively checking stage where I Google map the distance from the airport or ferry to our lodgings and then back again. I have to check and note car rental closing times, last ferry and flights in or out and even sunset and sunrise (our tickets for the Eiffel tower are timed for one hour before sunset so we can watch the sun set over Paris. Jacob’s idea!

We are putting together a travel folder with copies of car vouchers, airline tickets, directions to lodging, etc. Also making a backup on Google drive and sending it to ourselves in email in case we lose it and need to reprint anything.

Any suggestions for trip planning are always appreciated!


Practice Packing

2 weeks, 4 days to go and practice packing may be done this week. I have my ONE small backpack down to 18 pounds and a cross-body purse. Inside the backpack is my “under the seat” bag so if I do buy anything (what? Me? Shop?) then I can take that out and still meet super tight international carry on baggage restrictions. Taking just 1 dress, 1 skirt and wearing 1 pair of pants. I was going to take a pair of shorts, but I don’t actually wear shorts, so those are out. For shoes – just 1 pair of tevas to wear in airports and the beach and 1 pair nice but comfy walking sandals that work with the dress and skirt. 5 shirts that layer, mix and match, undies, socks, pjs and toiletries. I do have a rain jacket, sweater and umbrella that I might ditch once we get to the Mediterranean.

I’ll be practice dressing all week again but I’m feeling confident. Of course, said that about the other skirt which I’m now trading out, so we’ll see. The true test is in the wearing. If I don’t want to wear something, then it needs to come out of the bag.