1- Double check all your documents. Take time before you depart to go over each item you will need. Passport, credit cards, driver’s license, all vouchers and tickets: air, train, car, hotel, transfer and etc. Many items are electronic but some are still paper! Good to photo copy much of it, especially credit cards and passports. I left a few documents at home, but nothing a credit card and time could not fix!
2- Break the rules. My rules are: not to take any electronic devices, watch TV or read newspapers while away. I want to be totally in the present. On this trip I broke the rules and this did not seem to break the magic of being away. Actually I spoke and heard so little English I needed a fix at night and would occasionally turn on CNN or BBC. But just for a bit of time. I also sent my family post cards which I have never done before!
3- Be flexible. Planning details are always a very good thing to do. Or at least know all your options. In Barcelona, it was so very hot I needed to cancel so much of what I wanted to do. I could just not find the energy. I prioritized and did want I most wanted to do early in the day. In Bordeaux, I went shopping one day instead of a museum!
Traveling in another country, experiencing their way of life, learning a bit of their culture and history is so very interesting for me. Did you know in 1850 Bordeaux was the second largest seaport in Europe next to London and the second largest city in France next to Paris? Now I know why and what happened and what is going on today, a very interesting story.
Here is a quote from Maya Angelou a colleague sent to me: “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”
Be on the lookout for the detailed account of my most recent travels!