People generally fall into one of two camps. There are those who begin packing a week before a trip, give at least two neighbors keys to the house, just in case, and leave for the airport six hours in advance.
Then there's the rest of us.
Because my husband, who is driving us to the airport, is of the former camp, we left the house two and a half hours before departure time. A judicious compromise since our airport is just fifteen minutes away. Because he will be staying behind, I do not have to worry about house plants or dog sitters. Late last night, that left packing, loading my iPod and getting a good night's sleep.
Did I leave too much for the last minute? I tried not to panic, remember to breathe and think it through. Instead of choking over what I haven't done, what have I done to lower my pre-trip jitters?
1) Planned an itinerary.
This is a special trip for me. It is a workman's holiday since the big incentive for it is to meet and work with Stephen O'Bryan of Smack Smog. Steve is my marketing and business coach based in Southern California. Steve and I have worked together for three years and yet we have never met! Much of the success of Explore What's Next is due to Steve. He is brilliant. Over the phone and through emails, we have become good friends as well as business collaborators.
A few months ago we started to update and merge the EWN website with the blog. The upgrade was needed because EWN has grown. With the addition of Dylan Broggio, LCSW, and the intention of inviting more exceptional therapists to join the practice, the old design using only my name has become outdated.
Here was an opportunity to get together for a week to hammer out the new design, discuss every aspect of the business and update the business plan. The decision to make the trip to L.A. was made easier since my sister and her family lives close by.
Steve and I had many pre-trip discussions of what our meeting schedule would look like and what our objectives were for the trip. I did the same with my sister. That way I have a good sense of what to expect without feeling over-scheduled or rigid about it.
2) Have a packing list.
Having a list that I keep in my computer files has really helped me keep calm. Some things change from trip to trip but there is always a core of stuff that is always needed no matter where I go. Toothbrush, chargers for iPod and phone, pajamas and a fun, distracting book (a good romance or mystery will do) are among some of the things that are always on the list.
3) Bring the comfort of home on the plane.
My carry-on has food (a peanut butter sandwich, an apple, orange, carrots and chocolate), my iPod is loaded with music, podcasts and games. There are a few DVDs to play my laptop (Despicable Me and Glee).
I plan way ahead of time what I will wear on the plane to maximize comfort but not look like I just rolled out of bed.
4) Review fear of flying techniques.
I love the articles provided by Captain Bunn on the SOAR website. Remembering the science of flying and reviewing self-soothing techniques helps me keep the old fear of flying I used to have from creeping back up too badly.
5) Let it go.
Now that I am at the airport, sitting at the gate typing this post, I am content. The worst is over. There is no use worrying about what I didn’t pack, or what didn’t get done before I left home. It's not like I'm going to the Moon.
I’m pretty sure they have shampoo in California.