Hello fellow bloggers, I’m back! If you hadn’t noticed I took a bit of a blogging hiatus (and by hiatus I mean it’s been about a year- sorry) but it’s time to start up again, and I’ll tell you why… This August I am leaving the country to travel Europe for 10 months. I will be studying abroad through my university in the beautiful (or so I’ve heard) Spanish city of Sevilla from September through mid-December and in Edinburgh, Scotland from January until May or June, after which I will return home probably kicking and screaming. Between semesters, I’ve decided to save the money it would cost to fly home from Spain and subsequently back to the UK, and put it towards a little trip of my own for Christmas break.
I originally planned on waiting to start up the blog again until right before I left to discuss my plans and preparation for departure, but as the dog days of summer wind down, I am coming to the realization that it does actually takes months of pre-planning and prep work in order to be ready for a trip of this size, which I guess I knew from the beginning but it hasn’t hit me until now. To study in Spain for longer than 90 days requires that I have a visa, so that was the first step I was worried about taking care of. Now that my visa application is in the process of getting approval, I have had time to sit back and think about the 100 or so other things I need to get done prior to departure as well.
I am currently working as a nanny for my summer job, so during the mornings when I have time to rest and the kids are watching their morning TV shows, I have taken to a mental packing of sorts. Just this month I have discovered the wonderful app that is Pinterest, so I have created a board titled “Abroad” and thus far have been filling it with things like travel hacks and advice on how to pack light. Based off of this alone, it’s almost as if I have already packed; I simply have to put the items I have pinned in my suitcase before I leave. Another “hobby” I have taken to in order to fill my free time is doing research on various travel apps. I have already downloaded 13 different apps, almost too many for my phone to handle. Some are more basic ones like Airbnb, Google Earth, etc., while others have taken more digging around to discover. My favorite thus far is Packing Pro, which you can download on the app store for $2.99. While I must admit that I was hesitant to actually pay for an app, the reviews swayed me to give in to the purchase, and I haven’t regretted it since. The app is basically a glorified and interactive packing list, but it already comes with a list of so many basic and necessary things I couldn’t have thought of myself. Additionally, if you don’t check off all of the items on your lists before your departure date, it will send you a notification reminder about what you are forgetting.
Yesterday I was able to complete a rather large step in the preparation process: booking my flight. For the last month I have been tossing different travel dates around based on what was cheapest and when I would be done working, but yesterday I finally sealed the deal. I will be leaving from JFK via Norwegian Airlines (my absolute favorite) on August 22 and, after a quick layover in Oslo, arriving in Alicante, España on the afternoon of August 23. The most difficult part of the booking process was having to decide how many bags I would be checking and deciding on only two, a decision I cannot switch due to excess fees. Packing a year’s worth of my life into one suitcase and a backpack is gong to be a struggle, but I’ll save that for another day.
My next step in preparing to leave is actually going out and purchasing all of the things I need, which I have been putting off quite a bit. However, on Father’s Day, my dad and I took a ride up to Eastern Mountain Sports in Bridgewater to begin looking for hiking gear and pricing out different options. Strangely enough, the store was having a sale in the parking lot with all of their slightly-used, rented items and some of the products ended up being really cheap. Luckily for me, they had one single backpacking backpack in my size and basically new condition marked down for $50.00, compared to the online prices of $200-300+. We were also able to snag a pair of hiking boots and a rain jacket, but otherwise I have no been very active in obtaining what I need to go abroad.
Up to this point I have no other news, other than that I will again be more active on the blog in order to document the adventure that is ahead of me. Thanks for reading!