“Over-preparation is the foe of inspiration.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
“Before everything else, getting ready is the secret to success.” – Henry Ford
Preparing for my upcoming trip abroad, I’ve tried to strike a balance between the two viewpoints above. Really, I have. Taking Henry Ford’s philosophy to heart, I’ve read plenty of travel books about Europe to prepare myself for specifics like visa laws and travel finance. But I’ve also followed Mr. Bonaparte’s uncharacteristically idealistic advice and avoided setting a solid trip itinerary of any kind.
Which means the only real plans I’ll have when I land in Ireland in three weeks will be where I’m sleeping for the first seven nights: on some guy’s couch in downtown Dublin. I’ve never met him in person, but made arrangements through the nonprofit traveler’s organization CouchSurfing.org. Cool and scary, and a little dumb. Napoleon would be proud.
But there is one thing I’m not at all ready for, as much as I would like to be. I know that leaving behind so many people I care about, some of whom I know I’m unlikely to ever see again, will be the most difficult part of this experience. If Henry Ford ever figured out a way to prepare for that, I’d like to know how.