The problem was, I had written down the address, but I didn’t have it on me. I thought I did. I was sure I knew where I was going. That’s the strange thing about all of this. One can feel so confidently on target, yet one is lost.
Maybe it’s hard for you to believe that on my first trip to Europe I lost my destination.
My girlfriend was taking a trip to Italy and she asked me to meet her in Palermo, Sicily.
Not wanting to reveal my lack of adventure, nor my wide-eyed fear of flying, I casually accepted. I had two months to figure out how I was going to tackle crossing the great Atlantic.
My first order of business was obtaining a passport. I strolled over to the post office and proceeded to have them take the worst picture of my entire life. I worried Customs would stop me for exporting excessive ugliness. But solace embraced me when I realized I would be using this photo to internationally identify myself for only the next ten years. (Thank God for my ability to occasionally see the big picture!)
Next plan of action was deciding what to bring. It was a three week trip, so I packed accordingly. I stuffed 50% of my wardrobe into two big suitcases and a bulging, bursting, backpack. It was too difficult to decide what to read so I put all eight books under consideration into a large plastic bag and used that as my second carry on. Due to my allergies to wheat, dairy and citrus I also made sure I had an assortment of snacks: six energy bars, two 77-proof dark chocolate bars, bananas, grapes, granola, hummus, a big bag of baked tortilla chips, and 16 quarts of rice milk. I realize that seems like a lot of rice milk, but it’s only 1 case, and I would need enough for three weeks. At my usual consumption rate of a quart a day, I would be depriving myself of quite a bit of rice milk!
Somehow, the months of trip preparation became weeks, days, hours. Actually, all of the packing I’ve described began three hours before plane departure. After staying up all night until I was exhausted, confused, wired, and filled with white-knuckle flyer fear,with just sixty minutes to go , I was finally ready! The taxi arrived, we loaded up and I was headed for the airport.