Some of my strangest pre-travel rituals…

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So I’m officially moving to Germany on August 20th, which is just 4 days away!! This is so exciting and unbelievable at the same time. To be honest, I’m actually pretty nervous about this move as well, since it’ll also be my first post-graduation job. These last couple weeks have flown by with all my packing, seeing friends, physiotherapy sessions, and other last minute preparations.

I’m sure everyone has at least one or two unique ways they like to prepare for a trip…here are some of mine below!

1. Watching a movie related to the country I’m going to.

To, you know, get into the vibe.

I’ve watched quite a few actually (one of the perks of being in a car accident I guess!)…Sophie Scholl, Goodbye Lenin!, The Edukators, and Wo ist Fred? I couldn’t find English subtitles for Wo ist Fred? so I watched it with German subtitles, and was actually really surprised that I understood 90% of the movie (now if only in real life, when Germans speak, there were subtitles underneath them).

2. Writing one of those “empowering, inspirational” first pages in my journal.

This involves me going to a shop, and carefully selecting the best journal that I feel would best represent my time in _____ country (for Germany, my journal is bright yellow with embossed flowers on leather…in case you’re curious).

The night before, I usually write a journal entry about embarking on a new adventure, finding a new sense of purpose, living life to the fullest, etc. The sort of thing life mentors tell their patients, probably. This journal entry usually ends with a very cultured “to do list” of things I’ll never actually do such as learning Finnish and going to the stamp museum, rather than things I’d much rather do…like trying out weed brownies in Amsterdam, or meeting cute British guys at a soccer game or something.

This prep talk journal entry is great for that moment of slight panic when my plane lands in another country, and I can’t help but secretly think “what the hell am I doing here?!” (unless of course, someone is picking me up at the airport).

3. Envisioning various bad scenarios so that they don’t happen in real life. 

You know how life never works out how you’ve planned? Sometimes it’s better, sometimes worse, but it’s never exactly how you envisioned it. I used to be a planner in high school, but after realizing that I was crap at it, I’ve resorted to never planning anything (well, most of the time) and that has worked out well so far.

Then I realized, if things I envision never happen in real life, then I can simply envision a bunch of bad scenarios and be rest assured that they’ll never happen to me… I’m a genius! So before a trip, I try to envision as many horrible scenarios as possible, and then I’m able to travel happily knowing that I’ll never fall off a cliff, or NOT be stuck in an elevator with a hot prince. *wink wink*

4. Packing my comfort books.

It’s kind of like comfort food but it doesn’t make you fat. My favourite comfort books are “The Beach” by Alex Garland, “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf, and “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway. Comfort books aren’t really meant for reading (I’ve read all of them multiple times anyway) but for looking at the cover, mostly and knowing that you have it in your possession. I’m weird, aren’t I? For instance, I’d never actually want to read “Mrs. Dalloway” on a trip, but knowing that if I really wanted to, I can easily reach into my bag, and read all about Clarissa Dalloway buying flowers and contemplating life in a hot day in June. And for some reason, that thought is pretty comforting.

What strange pre-travel rituals do you have?



  1. August 16, 2012 / 11:34 pm

    I remember someone saying they were eating Häagen-Dazs in preparation for going to Germany… Häagen-Dazs is actually an American brand haha #awkward Good luck with your move and safe journey!

    • Michelle
      August 17, 2012 / 11:27 pm

      American brands are sneaky! It’s like when I found out that Milka is owned by Kraft!

      • August 20, 2012 / 10:53 pm

        It is?! 😮 It’s so good!

  2. August 17, 2012 / 12:32 am

    how exciting! I’m so jealous..I wish I could move to Europe now too lol.
    I always do #1 before travelling..makes me a lot more excited for the trip!

    • Michelle
      August 17, 2012 / 11:27 pm

      Thanks! And agreed…visuals always help 🙂

  3. Tania
    August 19, 2012 / 1:49 am

    #1 definitely makes things extra exciting. Vicky Christina Barcelona & Cheetah Girls 2: When in Spain ( it’s not just for teens & tweens haha) were perfect right before my Spain trip!

    • August 20, 2012 / 10:54 pm

      LOL Cheetah Girls! I know exactly what you mean, even the India one!

  4. August 20, 2012 / 3:17 pm

    Haha I definitely do #1 as well. Sometimes I like to find out everything I can about a place and spend hours and hours reading up on it, but most of the time I like to be surprised. Then I read books and watch serious movies about it afterwards.

    I always have to have new magazines and/or books to go traveling. Just because.

    • Michelle
      August 22, 2012 / 3:13 am

      Yea i have quite the collection of thick Lonely Planet guide books piling up in my room, haha

  5. Lauwchen
    August 30, 2012 / 8:13 am

    Where are you moving to in Germany?
    I live in Belgium but I love going to Germany! (I’ts just 30min away from here)

    Anyways; viel Spaß in Deutschland!

    • Michelle
      September 1, 2012 / 11:22 am

      In Mannheim. 🙂 Have you been there? I don’t think it’s that far from Belgium!

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