Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Planning Ahead

image credit: Emilie Ogez, Flickr

Lets talk about...not putting things off until the last possible minute!

I wish I could say I knew a lot about this topic, but sadly, no. In college, I was queen of "finish the paper an hour before class starts." Now, I wait until the day of the deadline party to buy the groceries and clean the house. My worst last minute trait is how long I can put off packing. Often when I am taking a car trip, I actually start packing about 15 minutes before I plan to leave. This means I am always late, and I think it leads to extra luggage because I end up tossing things into the bag willy-nilly rather than taking time to decide what I really need.

Last week, before I left for Ireland, somehow the universe aligned correctly and I was 95% packed the day before I left! It was great and it took so much stress out of the process. I had the time to really think about what I was bringing, and how to best get it packed. I still had a fairly inappropriate amount of luggage, but after all this is more of a journey than a destination.

Packing in advance meant that I could meet some friends for a drink the night before. It meant that I could get up at a decent hour in the morning and hit the gym before spending 10 hours strapped into a tiny seat. It meant that I spent the better part of the day feeling calm and not frazzled.

I can't imagine that I will kick the procrastination habit entirely, but this was a really great example of why it's better to do things ahead of time. The next travel challenge will be learning to bring just what I want in a less giant suitcase. We stayed in a different hotel each night on the tour, and a lot stairs were involved- some of the older hotels have expanded into the next building, so to get to the third floor you have to take the elevator to the second, go up a flight of stairs, down another flight, across a hallaway and through two fire doors.  I refuse to make someone else carry my luggage, so needless to say it was a challenging process with a 40-pound suitcase.

You didn't think I would get through an entire post without making you look at some photos, did you? Here are just a few so I don't crash your server!

A swan in St. Stephen's Green, Dublin

Belfast City Hall, with a statue of Queen Victoria

Obligatory Georgian Door shot

Looking down from the cliffs at Torr Head, in Northern Ireland

Our tour guide, Mark, reciting "The Stolen Child" at the grave of WB Yeats

A wee scone at Bewleys on Grafton Street

So long for now, more on Ireland soon! Until next time, KISS (keep it simple, stupid), and try planning ahead now and then.

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