From start to beginning

Beginning a trip doesn’t start the moment you set foot on an airplane. It begins with your decision to go.

I’ve always said making a decision is the hardest part of any change, and that once you’ve made up your mind everything else falls into place. Well, I say that – and have found it to be true before – but this time round deciding to visit Eastern Europe was by far the easiest part of making this trip happen.

I’d rather not bore you with – and remind me of – the nightmare I had getting a Schengen visa through the Hungarian embassy. Suffice it to say that I won purely because I annoyed the visa officer so much she caved and gave me that six-month visa. On the other hand, the Serbians were nochanlant and barely gave me a second glance through the haze of their cigarette smoke.

Visa depression lifted I started packing. Luckily I started the process two weeks before I left because I found myself, a few hours before my flight, looking at the (rather small) pile of clothes and (surprisingly heavy) toiletry bag with no desire to tetras it all into my trusty backpack. Good thing I had my brother calling me into line through his bedroom wall. Obviously I got it all done – hula hoop included. It’s amazing how little you actually need, and how the weight of your backpack is a judge of what kind of traveller you are.

My backpack weighed 11kg. Probably 8kg without my girly bathroom bag. I think that’s pretty impressive.

The getting ready process involved much running around for those small things I could never travel without. But it also involved much collaboration with my family, and I would not have been able to organise myself without all their help. Jean for the good tunes, Mom for the homemade saddle bag, Margie for the painting of this blog’s theme, Tony for the cashish and Pa for his calm, unwavering support (and those extra euros).

Ok, back to the point. Visas sorted, bag packed, camera charged. The only thing left was to give my goodbye hugs and try not to cry. I managed both and enjoyed the low-key send off by my ever cool brother.

And, as they say, so it began. First stop, Budapest!

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