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Mission Europe 2: The Countdown Begins

So I have officially reached that place where I should be jumping for joy and urging the days to go faster… Well, in theory. For some reason, right before a trip this big, this important and this adventurous, I always just feel like it is all still an idea and none of it is real.

I know that I leave in 12 days. I know that I am returning to a country I absolutely love. I know I will be learning tons of new stuff and discovering many, many new things.  Somehow though it just doesn’t feel real.

Let me share what I currently have ready and what is still missing. So I finally have my own suitcases. I purchased a carry-on that is very vintage looking and lovely. It cost me $5 at a 2nd hand shop in Austin Texas. I also purchased a suitcase that I have had my eye on for years. It is colorful and therefore easy to pick out from the endless black travel bags in the airport. It is also specially designed to be extra lightweight, under 5 pounds to be exact. This enables me to bring back more awesome trinkets and goodies.

I spent all of last week working a personal chef gig and hustling for a tip. Love my new clients, very likely I will be called back for more services. My assistant was a nightmare, but I worked my tail off and landed a 3 figure tip that allowed me to pay for new uniforms.  I have selected and purchased gifts for my hosts and many of the Michelin chefs I will be meeting with.  I designed and printed thank-you cards and bookmarks with a Costa Rican essence to give out to cool people I will come across. I purchased a little black notebook to keep track of my class notes and interviews. I have over 150 business cards ready to be handed out as well.

So what’s missing? I have to finish my pre-pack system. I usually pack my stuff at least 2 weeks in advance. The system is a bit crazy. I set out my selection of items, make a list, weigh everything individually and then pack my suitcases, tally the total weight and revise the list. Packing so far ahead of time allows me time to mull over my packing list and downsize it as I eventually come to the conclusion that I can do without many of the things on my original list.  I also have to select my travel outfit.  It has to be a combination of comfortable with bulky or heavier items that are better left out of my suitcase.

I am also crossing my fingers that my camera lens will be fixed in time for my trip. An internal piece of the lens broke about a month ago and I took it to get repaired. In today’s world of technology it seems that if an item is over 5 years old the spare parts are almost impossible to find.  Like I said, fingers crossed.

I also need to properly investigate each Michelin chef I intend to meet, draft a profile summary and interview questions. I was invited to do an internship of the duration of my liking in Spain with a chef I met during my last trip, Oriol Rovira. I am flattered and honored and now have to decide how long I can stay in Spain, who can hold on to my stuff for me in Italy (tighter baggage restrictions on cheap European inter-country flights) and if I can afford the plane ticket.

So there you have it.  12 days to go and I still feel like it is so far away and there is still so much to do.  I am excited, although it may be hard for you to tell.  As soon as the surreal feeling wears off, it will take everything I have not to write a post that consists of incessant repetitions and variations of : “Woohoo!  Italy!  Mission Europe 2 here I come!  I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it…”

Until next time!

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