One of my great ambitions in life is to travel. I want to see oceans, mountains, and forests. But if you have any inkling of how weird and out of place I am in America, it's so much worse abroad. I lumber about wearing a stylish fanny pack, asking questions loudly such as "where is the city hall located?" I stick out like a thumb that has been smashed with a mallet.
In a few short weeks I will be traveling to the continent. I will slap a large Canadian sticker on my backpack and trudge across Europe. But before all that comes the planning, packing, and panicking.
Planning: I have a notebook full of lists, information about youth hostels (Free of Eli Roth), local customs, exchange rates, local festivals and the number of the US consulate. I scanned two copies of my passport in case I lose it. I wrote a living will (Zach I bequeath you my iPod stereo).
Packing: I have been pre-packing (praking) for about a month now. I bought space bags, I made a list of every item of clothing I will require. I made intricate charts estimating how much crap is coming home with me. I carefully chose which pieces of luggage will be accompanying me on my (mis)adventure.
Panicking: What if I get kidnapped in Prague and funneled into the sex trade? What if a gypsy curses me on the London underground and all my hair falls out? What if I forget to pack underwear? What if I get food poisoning? What if a volcano explodes next to the bus terminal I'm sleeping in?
When all that is done I'll be on my way, neurotically careening across the old country. I will accidentally insult time-honored cultural traditions, fall down in large crowds, take cheesy pictures of me holding up famous landmarks, and make a fool of myself.
It's going to be awesome.