So the big day’s just around the corner. In a few hours, I’ll be standing on the platform of Reading Station waiting for the first of three trains to arrive so I can start my journey down to Barcelona for my work placement. I. Am. Buzzing. Partly with excitement for what’s to come, but equally with fear for the very same thing. It’s a strange feeling, knowing that I’m about to go and spend the next four months away from home in completely foreign surroundings, but I genuinely cannot wait to get started.
Unfortunately, before I can even get in the car to go to the station, there’s one final hurdle to deal with. And that is…packing. Probably the only seven letter word in the English language that can give me instant cold sweats. As you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m not a huge fan of packing, but it is a fairly important thing to have to do when you need to get everything you need for four months in a foreign country into a few suitcases and rucksacks. Especially when that foreign country happens to be in Southern Europe, meaning I’m having to get the balance right between shorts and T-shirts, for the warmer earlier months, and jeans and jumpers for when it gets cold later on. And then trying to cram in sports gear, bed sheets and most of the other uni essentials.
When I’d finally finished, several hours and many mini breakdowns later (including a major one after I realised I’d lost my gum shield and would have to race to get one before the shops closed) I took a long look at my bags. And then tried to pick one up. It just about left the floor, so I left it at that and called it a job well done. I’d packed everything I thought I needed in AND could still move the bag in question.
Which brings me to here, writing this entry. And looking back on my packing ordeal, I thought I’d share these few lessons with you:
- Remember to pack all the absolutely essential stuff first. It’s no good getting near to having filled a bag, only to realise that in order to get your Wales shirt in, you’ve forgotten to pack any boxers.
- Realise that you will not have the space a car affords you to transport your stuff. If it doesn’t fit in the bag, it ain’t coming with.
- Learn to fold well. It saves a lot of time trying to cram things into tiny corners of suitcases.
- Make sure you can get at important stuff, like your passport, wallet and tickets. They’re no use to you at the bottom of a massive rucksack.
So that’s that. Initial stages complete, pre-travel checks all done, and hopefully from here it should be plain sailing. Then when I get to Barcelona the real fun begins. What’s the Spanish for “Help, I’m lost!” again?