30 June 2006

The Mother Land

So I'm off soon for my trip to England and Scotland. Ostensibly I'm going to attend a professional conference in Durham and to visit two of our university partners there, in Lancaster and Manchester. I'm also planning to spend four or five days backpacking around Scotland.

By now, I would think I have all the international travel preparations down. This is my sixth trip abroad, for Pete's sake. I know where my passport is, don't need a visa, have made sure my bills are paid, have bought proper squishable clothes, have told the credit card people that it is actually me who will be suddenly purchasing random items in a foreign country and please don't shut down my account, bought exactly the size of shampoo etc so I won't run out but won't be carrying extra weight, loaded the MP3 player with my best music, packed a ziploc bag of laundry detergent so I can do daily laundry in the sink and torn out the "England and Scotland" pages of an old guidebook. And yet the feeling remains that I have forgotten something.

Perhaps it's because I'm relying on ATMs in England to provide me with money. I have always gotten at least some cash before I left, but not this time. Am I pushing my luck? I do feel like a hypocrite, since I tell all my students to get some local currency before they go, so they can get used to what the bills look like.

What have I forgotten?

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