When I bought my flight to Australia 8 months ago I kept telling myself it was too soon. I am the “book last minute” type of gal, and booking a flight that far in advance felt like overkill. After I put it off for a few days I convinced myself 8 months would be here before I knew it. The little voice in my head told me to just buy the ticket. So I bought it, and it turns out the little voice was absolutely right. 8 months flew by and suddenly I was driving to work for the last time.
My last day was a sleepy Monday with only a handful of customers stopping in, and even fewer staying for more than 20 minutes. There was no manager, 1 server, and 2 cooks. Needless to say, it was a quiet night. The perfect night to quietly bow out from my 3-year gig. KN and KC came by to witness my last hours. When I was finally done locking up the bar KN gave me a chocolate bar and said “Here are the fireworks!” I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to end this job.
Two weeks have gone by and I’ve been so busy that it hardly feels like I’m unemployed. I spend every day packing, cleaning, organizing, and doing last-minute stuff. On the bright side, my to-do list is getting shorter. Looking at the list, I can’t believe I’m almost done with everything. The long 8 months have turned into 26 short days, and I’d be leaving San Diego soon.
Overall I was pretty successful in the preparation of my trip (that I know of). However, there were a few unexpected things that snuck up on my to-do list. Here are some important points to consider if you’re planning a trip of your own.
Buy Your Ticket ASAP – It doesn’t matter if you start to pack and tell yourself you’re going to travel. You’re not going anywhere until you buy a ticket. Having the physical evidence that you are going somewhere means you ARE going somewhere. It makes excuses to back out of your trip more difficult to find. The months before your trip will go by very fast, so don’t be afraid to buy a ticket in advance. It gives you more time to organize your trip.
Start Packing Now – About a month ago I went through my closets and started a thrift-store pile. This kick-started me to do a little something every day. I’m leaving San Diego in 3 days and can proudly say I am ready to leave. I don’t have any last-minute packing to do and I can spend the next few days with friends
Don’t Procrastinate on Your Blog – On my last international trip I wrote in my journal every single day. It made me think I could simply type my journal online instead of writing it. About 3 months ago I began my blog and spent a lot of time making it look the way I wanted. I only did 4 posts, but I got the dirty work out of the way. I also knew that between work and preparing for my trip I wasn’t going to post anything over the next couple months. With everything up and ready to go, you won’t be frustrated with the set-up right before your trip.
Buy Your Stuff Early – Having backpacked many times, I thought I had everything for my trip. I was seriously wrong and now I wish I started buying things sooner. It all adds up, and what I thought was going to be a couple bucks turned into a couple hundred. Some examples are:
- Small, lightweight purse for the essentials
- International charger
- Prescription for my motion sickness patch
- Cardigan to match my outfits
- Lightweight flats that I can walk a whole day in
- Books on my kindle
- Small daypack I can stuff into my large backpack
Make a Final Will – I always recommend having a will if you travel. You never know what’s going to happen, and even if you’re broke, death can tear families apart. Thankfully I had a will from my last trip that I could update, but I am having trouble getting people to sign it. Finding people who can be in the same room, at the same time, watching you sign your will, who are not in your will, can be tricky.
See Your Doctors – I made all of my appointments except one. The one I put off was a teeth cleaning, and I simply won’t have time to do it now. I should have just made an appointment.
Spend Time With Friends – I decided against a goodbye party because the closer it gets to my departure date, the more exhausting it sounds. There are only a handful of people who really care I’m leaving, and I’d rather have a personal sit-down dinner with each of them separately. It certainly takes a lot more time and effort than throwing a party, but I am very happy I took this route. It gives me a chance to spend time with each one of my friends. My last few days are fully booked with lunch and dinner dates, but I’m so very glad I can spend quality time with all of my true friends before I leave.
And so I say farewell! San Diego has been absolutely amazing, and I will certainly be home-sick for certain things. I will miss everyone’s laid-back attitude, Taco Tuesday, the 5 minute drive to the beach, my amazing apartment, and the great friends I’ve made. Will I come back after my trip? I’m not sure, because it could be a great opportunity for me to live elsewhere. There are always new places to explore, and it will be difficult to pass up the chance to live somewhere new. Will I visit San Diego? Most definitely. Though I grew up in Northern California, San Diego is my home…unless I find a new one. But America’s finest city will certainly be a tough act to follow.