Two weeks today I am flying to Switzerland to spend twelve days with Ed, my chauffeur boyfriend, driving through Germany, Austria and Italy on a big summer adventure!
I am so excited to get away from the city, to be chief navigator, to see brand new parts of the world, and to spend some proper time with Eduardo – we’re fiercely independent in London and don’t see each other much unless we have a valid excuse, like a new episode of Serial, or leftover quiche.
Upon realising I fly in two weeks, though, I have hit that point – the one where I realise how unprepared I am, get really anxious about all the factors involved in going to a foreign country, and start manically eating celery and lunging inappropriately in a last-minute attempt to get a beach body.
So I have compiled a list of these universal (right?) pre-holiday dilemmas, as a way of embracing the crises and also because it’s been a whole two days since I last wrote about a ridiculously first-world problem.
Two weeks before…
1. You realise it’s technically too late to get into shape for the beach and begin performing emergency squats everywhere – on the train, at the self-service checkout, in the shower…
2. You visit government websites every day to check one of the countries you’re visiting hasn’t suddenly become high-risk.
3. The pre-flight nerves are kicking in and you start hesitantly doing the more manageable things on your bucket list, just in case, like demanding a seat on the morning train, or taking a pigeon home as a pet.
4. What if the croissants aren’t big enough?
One week before…
4. The beach body goes out the window as you decide it makes more sense to begin preparing for the European way of life. You swap squats for siestas and introduce ice cream and pizza to every meal.
5. You check your flight details just to make sure you are actually going on holiday and haven’t accidentally missed it.
6. You have six days to build up enough gradual tan to be recognisable abroad as a human and not a dressed up piece of snow and invest in six bottles of Garnier Summer Body. You disappear to the bathroom approximately every forty-five minutes at work to reapply.
7. You start to hate yourself. For not fitting into last year’s bikini and buying yourself three more as a reward. For having eyebrows that don’t show up in the sunlight. For looking forward to the food more than the views. For not having saved nearly enough money. For looking like a fly in sunglasses.
The day before…
8. You realise you probably haven’t bought enough paracetamol, ibuprofen, plasters, insect repellent, sun cream, anti-bac and small shampoo bottles to last you for two weeks and go out to buy more.
9. “Hi, do you have a last minute waxing appointment?”
10. You spend four hours trying to print your boarding passes and in the end spend half your holiday budget buying a new printer.
11. You have extreme doubts about your road trip playlist and who you actually are.
12. You do a quick scan to see if any planes have crashed.
13. You realise that all the time you’ve spent watching Season 3 of Orange is the New Black was the time you promised to dedicate to a foreign language so you could communicate abroad. You go to write on the back of your travel insurance documents the words for ‘hello’, ‘beer’ and ‘emergency’ and realise you’ve forgotten to buy travel insurance.
At this point, call your friends, ask them to come round and sit on your suitcase. Then get drunk.