Freak Out (and not the disco version, either)

Most mornings I wake up feeling peaceful and content. This morning I woke up feeling doom in the pit of my stomach. I am officially freaking out about my trip.

I had originally intended to keep these posts logically organized, starting with my fringe history, moving to my experience with the current fringe-bound show, maybe on Wednesday talk about photography, and not talk about the actual trip until probably Thursday. But it looks like the Freakout Ship is here in the harbor and I’ve started up the gangplank. I’ve gotta go with what’s in front of me.

Part of the freakout has to do with the amount of stuff I had hoped to get done before I leave, but when you come right down to it, those projects will still be there when I get back. I’ll only be gone for two and a half weeks, and my projects have waited for me much longer than that. They can wait a little longer if they have to. It doesn’t help that my muse has decided this would be a fantastic time to visit, so instead of keeping my mind on task, all I can think about is wanting to write. Ironic how the timing works on these things, huh?

But I think most of the freakout has to do with whether I’ve been making good decisions about my trip. Is my suitcase too big to carry around so many places? or is it too small to fit what I’ll really need? I have to bring my camera equipment and my computer and my iPhone. Will they get stolen? Should I bring my kindle, for ease of reading? Or might that become a target of thieves as well? Did I make a big mistake in how I planned my trip?

I’ve been talking with several people about my trip the past few days, and I’m sure I’ve been influenced by what they’ve said. Here’s the thing. My trip involves more than just flying into Prague, joining friends, working with professionals, hanging with mostly good people. I’m also taking a big ol’ side trip alone on the train to Milan. To see a rock concert. (MUSE, ironically.) And from what I’ve been hearing, hanging on to my stuff is going to be a challenge.

When I got my hair cut last Thursday, my hairdresser made sure to spend the whole time talking about the kid in Milan whose hand she found in her purse, and how the maid at the hotel tried to steal her shoes out of her luggage. I ate with an acquaintance last night, a bit of a drama queen, who’d never been to Italy but had me just about shaking by the time he said his goodbyes, with tales of muggings and phone snatchings and purse snatchings and even advice to leave my wedding ring at home. But the most valuable advice came from Mark and Fabio, the wine experts I met on Saturday night. Fabio grew up near Milan. Mark has been there in the course of his wine education. Mark told me that yes, it is a little rough, I will quite likely be taken advantage of, hail cabs through the hotel concierge and don’t flash valuables around. Fabio gave me the name of a hotelier friend of his with instructions to look him up and tell him Fabio sent me, and he’ll take care of me. 🙂

I long ago planned my luggage so that I will only have one bag while traveling through train stations and walking down the street. That bag will hold my other bags, and be completely locked. I can carry that bag in several ways: on my back, rolling behind me, or as a duffle. It will be on my back in cobblestoned Prague. It will be a duffle clutched in front of me in Milan. I will have a money belt. My phone will be in it. I will not be wearing any rings.

I don’t want to lose my camera equipment. I don’t want to lose my iPhone. I’m almost worried to even use my computer on the train, in case it makes me a target.

But I suppose I’m being overly paranoid.

Sometimes friends aren’t as helpful as they think.

–EDIT–
I had a dr. appointment this morning. My doctor is from Poland, although she hasn’t traveled through southern Europe yet. But she gave me a great idea. Take a fake wallet stocked with “promo” credit cards. I even have an old useless cellphone I could carry around. Because if I’m going to have an unwanted hand in my pocket, I may as well let them help me declutter.

She also gave me melatonin to help with jet lag. My doc is great.

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