Reflections on Predeparture Stresses

If a year ago anyone had told me that the process of preparing to leave for Scotland would leave me emotionally drained, physically exhausted, and losing my hair, I would have kindly told them they were wrong about me.

Unfortunately for the overconfident and naive shadow of my past self, it turns out to be I who was in the wrong.

Now, this is not to say that I do regret my decision to study (or rather intern), abroad. I remain fully confident in my choice about 95% of the time. No, it is more that I was simply very immensely unaware of how nerve wrecking all the preparations for pre departure would be.

“I wish I had never gone traveling.” – Said no one, ever

From background checks to visas, the sheer amount of paperwork waiting to be completed in order to merely leave the country is extraordinary. In the span of just a few short months, I have most likely killed a small forest.

The entire affair of leaving for Scotland is a tiresome one. However, I know that once I step foot in the land of unicorns (yes, the Scottish national animal is the Unicorn) everything will prove chilly, but worth it. I just sincerely hope that I do not become bald in the process.

In defense of the (infamous to my household) “Pre Departure Checklist:” it is almost complete.

Health clearance √,  Electronic Signature √, Visa √ (and thank the lord…that had a whole checklist of its own), Certificate of Sponsorship Application √, Background Check √, Security Questionnaire √, Housing √, First Payment √ (Also note: none of those were in order of completion or supposed completion)

All that awaits at this point in time, to my knowledge, is purchasing a flight ticket, receiving my visa and sending a copy to the Parliament building, making the final payment, and the planning all the other non urgent matters like packing, buying business clothes, arranging my finances abroad… The list of things to do never ends.

You would think (well would you? I don’t know… I don’t know your life, dear reader) that a planner like me would be in heaven. So many things to do! Make a list, order them in importance, color code, and then accomplish! Well, perhaps at a time I was indeed thrilled. I wrote lists, ordered them in importance, and even color coded some items. However, when the list of things to do grows so long and convoluted that even the best of planners feels overwhelmed… I digress.

The moral of this ramble is: Preparing to go abroad is a complicated process. Will the end destination be incredible and worth it? Of course! However, do not underestimate the amount of effort it takes to get there. Do your research, ask questions, get help-and lots of it, make lists, start early…read this blog…

~Your Friendly Neighborhood Travelsmith


If you are preparing for an adventure of your own, do not hesitate to reach out  to me. I will be happy to impart any and all knowledge and information I have learned while on my own pre departure journey (and those who know me, know I am all to eager to talk about all things which require following steps and planning). Also, please check out my guides on traveling abroad!

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