Going Abroad: The Checklist of the Unnecessary

I’ve mentioned my penchant for list making before, but my neurotic list-making tendencies really kick in when I’m beginning to plan things. I suspect that it is my brain’s favorite coping mechanism for the intensive amounts of excitement and stress that tend to occur during these periods, but I also find them to be incredibly handy organizational tools. My next list is focusing on all of the little things that don’t need to be done before I go, but will probably improve my experience immensely. At least I hope they will.

So here we go. I have almost a year before I’ll leave, and over five months before I find out whether or not I get accepted, but already I’m getting anxious about leaving. This is more of a work in process than anything else, and I’m sure I will have at least one follow up post when it comes closer for me to leave.

Natalie’s Big List of Things That She Wants To Do Before Going Abroad

  1. Learn how to use my DSLR camera. I’ve been looking into some free lessons regarding the use of my DSLR camera, and so far I’ve been pretty hands-off with the camera. I’m mostly terrified of breaking it, but I think I need to get over this fear (within reason) and start taking my camera out to play. This is probably the most important thing that I need to do before I leave, and the one that will make the biggest difference in the quality of my blog posts and visual souvenirs from the trip.
  2. Become more well-versed in the art of writing postcards. I’m terrible at old-fashioned forms of communication, but I want to start to get better. Besides, it is always more fun to receive things in the mail than it is to get an e-mail or generic blog update!
  3. Begin to do some more concrete research on the places that I want to go and the attractions that I want to see. This has a little bit to do with reorganizing (something I’m apparently into these days) my bucket list, but I need a more concrete idea of what I’m going to see when I go abroad. I’ve grown accustomed to winging it, and while this brings me some lovely surprises, it also gives me many headaches.
  4. Update and reorganize my bucket list. See above.
  5. Begin learning French? There are some summer courses offered in French at my university, and providing that they don’t conflict with my other summer courses, I think it would be a valuable addition. I already have some German under my belt, but I’m eager to learn more languages as soon as I can!
  6. Get into better shape. I hate travelling when I’m not feeling or looking my best (probably has something to do with the “fat/lazy American” stereotype), but its hard to balance schoolwork and exceptional fitness during the school year. I hope to drop a couple of winter-weight pounds and tone up before I leave, for comfort’s sake.
  7. Compile a list of all of the addresses I need before I leave. I oftentimes prentend that I’m going to do this, but I think it would be a good idea to actually do it this time. Ha.
  8. Buy a Kindle?  They seem so much more practical for travel than carrying loads of heavy books. Naturally I’ll be doing some school reading while abroad too (especially since I’ll be taking so many English classes!), but a Kindle seems like a lightweight, efficient way to bring my favorite lit abroad.

So that’s my list. Random, irritating, but necessary. We’ll see how many of them I actually get accomplished! Wish me luck =]


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kristen says:

    Yes buy a kindle! Saved my life when I was abroad.
    You better send me a post card.
    The easiest way to learn to use your camera is to take LOTS of pictures 🙂

    1. Yeah, I was definitely thinking about it! And I will only send you a post card if you’ll give me your address…in Jamaica? Haha. And I know…winter break will be photo taking city xP

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