OK, where’s my passport?
Right, I put it in my messenger bag with the company euros and my euros.
So where’s the bag? Ah, I see it, next to my rucksack for a day’s supplies of food and my clipboard. Is my itinerary still in the clipboarc? Yes, and my notes and the ferry booking and the sweet factory booking. Calm down, no one has touched them.
Where’s my phone? Where’s my freakin’ phone? Like I said, calm down, it’s in the other room charging up.
Company motto: P.M. T. It stands for Passport, Money, Tickets. If you got those, everything else is irrelevant. Actually, it’s the informal motto. I don’t think we have an official motto. It also stands for Pre-Menstrual Tension which about sums up the state I get into immediately before a trip.
I panic, briefly and quietly about everything. I’m full of what ifs and anxiety. I check things six times. If I do this I may have a chance of dropping off to sleep tonight, because my working day tomorrow starts at 1.30am and ends at 2.30am on Saturday. So I’ll be off to bed around 7pm tonight, having hung up my clothes ready in the spare room, and packed everything but the perishables in the rucksack. When I get up at 1am, I’ll fill my flask with boiling water, stuff my sarnies in the rucksack, slap on some makeup and be on the doorstep in time for my boss to ferry me to the coach depot. I aim to have a doze on the coach before we get to the school I’m escorting to Boulogne for the day because once we start, I can’t sleep; I’m on duty then.
So shortly I’m off down to Tesco’s to get my supplies (the budget for day trips is so tight there’s no spare for food; this isn’t a problem but it does mean I need to take what I need) then I shall transfer all I need from my usual capacious handbag into the rucksack and messenger bag. The messenger bag is for vital items I won’t let leave my body, like passport and so on, and the rest of the stuff is made up of things that make travel more congenial, like wet wipes and so on.
I’m going to be away from home about 26 hours, all told, maybe a little less. I do enjoy these trips; I wish I got more of them and the plan is that I will. I’ve got an overnighter provisonally booked for November already, and others that are in the pipeline, like a five day trip along the Rhine next year. They are exhausting in the extreme but very rewarding.
The trouble is I run around like a blue arsed fly the day before as I make sure I have everything. I’ve even asked my boss to get me to show her my passport before we leave my road. I like the belt and braces approach; I’d hate to end up with an involuntary debagging because of lack of forethought.
So wish me luck!