Getting Ready
In just a days, I’ll take off for Paris and the start of a six-week odyssey. We’ve spent months preparing for this trip–every detail is accounted for. Or is it? I think the Internet has contributed to our stress rather than alleviated it. With so much information available, we are in danger of feeling overwhelmed. In the good old days, you booked your flight and then just showed up in Europe. If you were really prepared, you booked your first night in a hotel, but after that you were on your own. No cell phones, no Internet, no digital world of any kind. And we survived!

Now I can plot every inch of every day if I so choose. With Google maps, I can find the best route from any place to any place–walking or driving, and on the accommodation sites I can see every detail about every hotel–from the configuration of the bathroom to the width of the bed.

There are no surprises.

And don’t we travel to be surprised? We used to. But now — well, I’m not so sure! We travel perhaps to get out of our normal rut, but I’m not sure we expect any longer to be surprised. We know where we’re staying every night, we know the exact trains we are catching (and already have the reservations in hand), and we even have tickets for some of the more popular sites like the Alhambra all booked and ready to be picked up. Thanks to the Internet, I should have no lines to wait in, no stressful searches for hotels in the pouring rain, no disappointments.

That’s the theory!

But we are excited–almost more excited by this trip than we have by any other. Perhaps it’s because we’ve planned so thoroughly that we are nervous if all the plans will work out. If you have no plans, you can’t be worried, right?

G. leaves tomorrow and I leave on Friday. We will rendezvous in Paris. G. is supposed to get to our Paris apartment and check in, and then a few hours later I come in on the RER and Metro from Charles de Gaulle. Then, we join forces and sally forth for our first Parisian dinner. I could even figure out where we could eat and print a map showing our route, but perhaps I’ll leave that detail to chance. On the other hand, what if we choose unwisely and end up having a bad meal? It’s possible to do so in Paris–I have several times eaten meals that, to be charitable, were unmemorable.

So to be on the safe side, perhaps I should go online and check the reviews of eating establishments near our apartment. Should I?

Three days to go and then all the overthinking and discussing and fretting will be over. We will be in Paris ready to begin a six week adventure that includes two art exhibitions, a car trip through southern Spain, and lots of time to write and think.

Well, that’s the theory.

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