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OT--Stress in the name of having fun

Old 09-07-2015, 02:49 PM
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OT--Stress in the name of having fun

I'm really annoyed with myself at the moment. I have a VERY cool vacation I'm taking in two weeks--I'm going to Morocco for two whole weeks! It should be great--all women and only about a dozen in the whole group. We've got folks from all over the country and one Aussie joining us.

The problem is that I am getting all stressed out over details. What to do about cell phone/data plan (not that I will be spending much time online but it sometimes is good to jump online to look something up), what to bring (been working on a packing list but I tend to bring too much when I travel), how not to look like (and worse, for me, feel like) a dumb American tourist.

I haven't done a lot of foreign travel. A couple of years ago I went on vacation to Barcelona, and on a work trip with a bunch of other people to Fiji. Fiji went fine, on my own in Barcelona there were times I spent wandering around because I get afraid of asking for help. (I also had a back injury during the time I was in Spain, which didn't help my overall disposition.) Fiji was a trip sponsored by the American Bar Association, so it was all very carefully planned. Still, on that trip I managed to nearly drown while snorkeling, my luggage took a week to catch up with me (requiring me to do presentations wearing hiking gear), and I slipped on a wet rock while on a hike and injured my shoulder grabbing a tree branch for balance.

This is a pretty organized tour, so at least I won't feel completely on my own. I've already connected with a lot of the other women going on the trip, and they are a pretty interesting bunch.

I guess I'm having trouble finding the line between appropriate preparation and needless stress. It's not like something awful will happen if I go over my data plan or pay too much at the souk (marketplace) for a souvenir. So much of it really is ego--I want to look like a seasoned traveler, but like so many things, you have to DO it to get good at it. And fear. Not so much fear that something bad will happen, but fear that I will be too much of a travel klutz to make the most of this trip.

I suppose it's a good thing that this is a two-week trip. When I went to Spain, I felt like I was just getting the hang of certain things when it was time to come home. And we'll have an experienced local guide to smooth things out. I know I need to just relax but I'm having a hard time.

I know how fortunate I am to be able to do this. I don't mean to sound like a whiny privileged brat. I'm perfectly fine with a little discomfort and inconvenience--if those things happen, they happen. I roll with them when they do. It's more that if I keep worrying over all the details I'll forget to have fun.
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Old 09-07-2015, 03:16 PM
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This sounds like such an exciting trip! I love to travel abroad but tend to get very nervous before trips, too. But really, half the fun of traveling is the adventure into the unknown! Here are a couple things I've learned over the years: You need more tops than bottoms. Really, a skirt and a pair of jeans should be enough bottoms for any trip! Rewear shamelessly, people really don't notice. And two pairs of shoes at most, including the ones you wear on the plane! Rolling your clothes instead of folding them really does save space in your luggage. Keep in mind that if you connect your cellphone to a wireless network, at your hotel or where ever, then it's free and won't use up your data. And just the fact that you are aware of the possibility of looking like a clueless American makes you much less susceptible. Now relax and enjoy!
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Old 09-07-2015, 03:29 PM
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Since you're in contact with some of your fellow travelers why not reach out to them about what/how much to bring? You're going to have a guide so this seems like a very well planned excursion so the whole aspect of determing what to do and when is a non issue. Regarding your data plan, contact your carrier and see what modifications to your plan can be made. I don't have a smart phone, but I know that my wife has been able to temporarily alter our normal plan when we're abroad so that she has internet access.

And don't worry about looking like a tourist. You most likely will, especially if you're walking around with a camera and in a group. Who cares? Your group won't and any resident who sees you is someone you'll never have contact with. IOW, enjoy!

You mentioned Barcelona and coincidentally my son is going to be spending his spring semester in the city. We're going to use that as an excuse to fly there in April.
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Old 09-07-2015, 03:42 PM
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honey, no matter how you disguise yourself you WILL be a tourist from America!!!! LOL you are also traveling in a group of 12 women, with a guide.....you're going to stand out. just accept it. embrace it!

it's a big trip, if you weren't excited and concerned about the preparations, i'd be worried. you mentioned a packing list, not sure if that includes suggested attire or not, but try to stick to that. try not to OUT-THINK the list. lol good footwear, good camera, lotsa undies.

you could make a thing of taking "dumb american tourist" selfies along the way. turn that negative into a positive. have fun with it.


ps. take me with you!
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Old 09-07-2015, 04:00 PM
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Just google it Lexie!

What to Pack When Visiting Morocco: Women
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Old 09-07-2015, 04:02 PM
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Lexie,

Have a wonderful time!

I've been living out of a suitcase most of the summer. Ever since reading the life-changing magic of tidying up
http://www.amazon.com/The-Life-Chang.../dp/1607747308
it's been much easier. I now have clothes that I'm so happy to have with me and I never have second-guessed them. Following the way she folds clothes has simplified things also.

Ironically, I had the book on my phone for a couple months. After an alanon meeting about procrastination and perfectionism, another member suggested the book and I finally read it. I just bought a hard copy of it.

That may seem like a lot of work to simply pack, but it was a new action for me that's making big differences in my life. Thanks to all on SR who've mentioned it.

Ktf
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Old 09-07-2015, 04:09 PM
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Lexi- Sounds like an awesome vacation. My friend just got back from Iceland and it rained for 14 straight days. Spend the money on a good rain coat just in case.

Sit back and let the fun happen. Things wont always go as planned, so as long as you can laugh about it, it will be an amazing vacation. I am sure you will have some awesome stories when you get back!! Be Safe!!
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Old 09-07-2015, 05:23 PM
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let me add the single most important item - pass.port. you may remember my story of traveling to Ireland with my daughter (a dream i never thought would become a reality) and there we were in NYC hours from departure and my daughter left her purse on the subway, and by the time we realized it, the subway train and her purse with her pass.port IN it were long gone.

that was a pretty sad moment. No Ireland for you!

we DID go on the trip the following year, thank you TRIP INSURANCE, and i bought us Teenee Baggalinis (small travel pouches) that we kept ON our persons at all times, unless showering. LOL mine was teal, my daughter's was HOT PINK.
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Old 09-07-2015, 05:31 PM
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Thanks, guys,

I already know all the recommendations, and we've been exchanging thoughts on what to bring, via email. I bought a couple pairs of good walking shoes (one a sneakert-ype and one a slip-on, and my flip-flops are easily tucked in. I have light travel pants, some long-sleeved and short-sleeved shirts/tops (sleeveless is a no-no in Morocco), light rain gear, and I decided to use a backpack for my carry-on. If anything, I think I'm suffering from information overload, like if I forget something I'll be kicking myself. I guess if I muddled through a week in Fiji doing professional work with a hiking wardrobe I can muddle through anything, but it all just keeps churning around in my head.

I'm sure once I get there I'll be too busy to stress out--or so I hope!
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Old 09-07-2015, 05:36 PM
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Oh, YIKES, Anvil--that's awful! I just checked today to be sure my ******** was where I remembered it to be. Was pretty sure I'd run across it in the past few weeks (it's in a drawer in my office). My flight doesn't leave until 8 pm on Saturday the 19th, and I have to drive up to JFK (a two-plus hour drive), so I plan to leave around 2 or 2:30 to get up there in plenty of time. One of my fellow travelers will be on my flight so we're hoping to connect at the airport (not sure if we can sit near each other but will need to sleep on the plane--it's a 7 hour flight (thankfully a direct one).
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Old 09-07-2015, 06:09 PM
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oh you have NO idea....we'd left seattle the day before, so we could spend an night and a day in NYC, did Times Square, saw Rockefeller Center, went up the Empire State Building, went to Harlem. our LAST activity was to take the subway down to Ground Zero.

however being a Sunday, the subway line WE took stopped before getting there due to repairs they did on the weekends. the garbled message said to get off and another train would come along. we stepped off the train and Renee looked at me, Mom, my purse!!!! i said, ok, calm down, where is it....she said Mom, my ******** is in my purse. at this time the train doors had already closed and it took off like a rocket the other way.

it was a planned 8 day trip that i had been planning for close to a year, first night at the hotel at Shannon Airport, then 5 nights at B&Bs i had selected, then the final night at a CASTLE in the town where John Wayne's movie, The Quiet Man, was filmed.

Renee was in tears, mom i ruined your trip! and i gave her a big hug (resisting that urge to choke her to death) and said oh it's ok baby, we're together and we're ok, and Ireland will always be there. and the next day we flew home to Seattle.

perhaps my finest moment as a mother! LOL

so um yeah, PASS.PORT. with a copy in your luggage.
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Old 09-07-2015, 08:12 PM
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You get Mother of the Year for that. I actually once left my pocketbook on the train in CAMDEN, NJ, and the Port Authority police brought it back! OTOH, I had my wallet stolen from my purse when I was in the hospital giving birth, go figure.

Yeah, already have a copy of the pass.port uploaded to DropBox--did that before going to Spain. LOL, the asterisks on this forum never cease to amaze me.
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Old 09-07-2015, 08:28 PM
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Green with envy, Lexie!! Enjoy the heck out of Morocco!
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Old 09-07-2015, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by LexieCat View Post
I just checked today to be sure my ******** was where I remembered it to be.
My God Woman! What are you trying to pack???!??!!!

Is pass... port a word we shouldn't be using here? Wow. You learn something new every day.

I know you're going to have an amazing time. I bet the food will be fantastic.
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:19 AM
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I pack very little even on trips abroad. Every thing is small and can be folded up to not bigger than two fists, I always bring a convertible dress that could be anything from a bathing suit cover up to a cocktail dress, to a skirt. All clothing is cotton/spandex blend. Everything can be washed in a sink or you could do like me and just get into the shower and wash then. All will dry overnight. 2 pairs of walking shoes and one pair of heels. I know I will buy things while traveling so my clothing only takes up about half my case. I seldom travel with jeans in a country like Morocco they take up too much room and are hard to wash and get dry. I usually pack a pair of cargo type pant instead with lots of pockets (most clothing I pack for that kind of trip would have pockets preferably with zipper or snap.

IME personal care items are more important and harder to replace in countries like morocco. I bring extra deodorant, shampoo, razors, toothpaste, tampons etc. I also travel with a mini med kit cold medicine, advil, bandaids, neosporin etc.

have a great time can't wait to hear about it!
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:37 AM
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Wow, that sounds amazing!!! I think you need to relax Lexie, and look forward to these two weeks!

Every other year a company I work for sends me on a trip to some place I have never been. This year it was in Texas. I love it b/c they essentially have keepers for us LOL. As soon as we step off the plane there is a man standing there w/your name on a sign, and that person is assigned to us in small groups to make sure we have fun, and to keep track of us. It's my kind of trip!!!!

I hope you go and enjoy yourself, you deserve it!
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:56 AM
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Anvil, that is a very sad story! You handled it incredibly.

Lexie, let me second the others who said you *will* look like an American tourist, so what? It's who you are. I've traveled to Europe many times as my daughter lived in Paris for almost two years and has lived in Amsterdam for six or so years. (Not happy about it and she just had a baby but that's another story. She's quite happy.) Yeah, it's pretty easy to spot the Americans. I just try to not look like the *obnoxious* American tourists who dress inappropriately. Shorts, stretch pants and tennis shoes are not welcomed everywhere.

As time goes on I learn to pack less and less. It's okay to wear the same clothes, it's okay to rinse things out, it's awesome if you can find a way to do laundry. I also like buying clothes when abroad. It's fun, fits the weather perfectly and then you have souvenirs. Although I've bought some lovely stuff (like a nice scarf) that was perfect in cool and rainy Amsterdam yet rarely sees the light of day here in L.A. But, it's okay.

I'm going back to Amsterdam in a couple of weeks to meet my new granddaughter. My mom is coming too. I rented an AirBNB apartment for us that has a washer and dryer! So I'm going to attempt this trip with *no* checked baggage at all. We'll see.

Have a wonderful time!
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:57 AM
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Great. Worrying about what the locals think about me on a trip. Now I have something else to worry about.

I grew up in a tourist area. It was how we made our living. We liked tourists. They were clueless and on vacation and having fun. Then I moved to another state and lived and worked in a tourist area. Locals like tourists. Being clueless is part of traveling!

Oh, and I take a page from my friend and don't even take a cell phone out of the country. I lived for 40+ years without one.
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Old 09-08-2015, 09:16 AM
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FUN!! I agree with Bimini - leave the phone! Or take it just for emergency and don't worry about your data / phone plan. Easy for me to say....haha...I've never done it, but ditching the phone sounds AMAZINGLY TERRIFYING AND FREEING!

Oh - have so much fun!!!
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:00 PM
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Lexie, I've been to Morocco twice and can say it's a very easy place to visit. Europeans have gone there in huge numbers for many decades so dress like you would for Europe. Very light clothing, cotton, pants, sun block and athletic shoes. If you need (or want) something buy it there. Of all the Arab nations it's one of the most modern and especially safe for tourists.

In terms of planning, it's not any different from going to Spain. Enjoy! It's a wildly exotic country with all the creature-comforts you'll want. I went with a girlfriend who had never been out of the US on my second visit, we didn't have a guide, and had a fabulous time. No problems.
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