One year from today, my plane from the States will be touching down in Amsterdam to begin my three-week adventure through Western Europe. The good news is, I've taken care of some of the "big rocks" in my trip, such as settling on where I want to go, and with whom. However, there is still much to do, including:
- Finish paying for the tour. Will take care of (TCO) December 2008.
- Book and pay for air travel. Will TCO late September 2008.
- Learn German, French, and Italian. In work, one language per night, for ~1.5 hours.
- Buy basic first aid kit (incl. Band-Aids, gastrointestinal defenses, cold medicine, and whatever else I can come up with). Will TCO between December and August 2009.
- Buy sewing kit? (Right, because I'm such a friggin' sewing genius. This was a recommendation of RickSteeves.com. I could always buy new clothes over in Europe, assuming they have stores that cater to semi-chunky Americans.)
- Buy rain jacket w/hood. Will TCO between December and August 2009.
- Buy a few more tour books on specific destinations (Venice, Rothenburg, Amsterdam, Paris, Austria/Switzerland). Will TCO between December and August 2009.
- Learn how to do laundry in the sink. Won't that be fun?! Will TCO between December and August 2009.
- Acquire enough detergent to get a start on clothes washing, but not so much that I get stopped by the TSA. Will TCO between December and August 2009.
- Purchase travel/trip insurance. Will TCO October 2008, after airline flights booked.
- Buy an iPod. I didn't expect to buy one of these, but there will come a point where I'll need some familiar music to keep myself Americanly sane. What the heck, it took me until 2004 before I bought my first cell phone, and 2007 until I started blogging regularly. I am what technology marketers refer to as a "laggard." My buddy Dede tactfully refers to me as a "Luddite in techie's clothing." Guilty as charged. Will TCO between December and August 2009.
- Learn "Geek French, Geek German, and Geek Italian." That means, once I learn the basics of ordering drinks, finding the bathroom, and asking for the check and directions to the hotel, eventually I'll probably want to explain to the natives what I do with myself when I'm not in their countries irritating them. That means learning how to talk about space-geek stuff in the local argot. Will TCO between June and August 2009.
- A paying writing assignment or two, assuming anyone's interested in the journeys of a 40-year-old space geek through Europe. All depends on what I do there, doesn't it? As long as I don't write about space stuff, my employer seems okay (though not thrilled) with freelancing. Will TCO between May and August 2009.
No sweat, right? Relaxing is for quitters!