The real preparations have begun:

Trust me, there’s a system. One pile is for Egypt, one for LA, one for carry on. I know it’s hard to detect three piles, but they’re there. Sort of. Now I’m whittling away to try to get them as compact as possible without sacrificing too many options. The most painful part is seeing how little I can get away with in the LA-only pile. I’m not going home between the two, but leaving the LA-only bag at my transfer point in Edmonton. So I won’t have to take the LA items to Egypt but I’ll have the Egypt wardrobe to pilfer from in LA. On the other hand, I don’t want to look like I just climbed off a camel while dining in LA. This is why I’ve started to say I need steamer trunks and manservants.

Besides packing, I’m now in this tug-of-war between the part of me that needs to plan and prepare in order to feel less stressed about an unknown future, and the part of me that finds planning and scheduling to be stressful. I keep talking about LA as a work trip, and it is, but I’m staying a few days after the tradeshow to visit friends, too. I also won’t get my tradeshow schedule until well into my Egypt holiday. So it’s a jigsaw puzzle of trying to figure out who and when in LA without prioritizing my need to schedule over some very busy people’s need to have a life that doesn’t revolve around me. The nerve.

Things are coming together, though. I’m thrilled to be getting a tour of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory courtesy my NASA friend Sarah, and to be meeting another friend for the first time in person over chocolate chip French toast. Now to sort out the rest without fully knowing my schedule. I guess I like a challenge.

Egypt will take care of itself – we’re booked on a tour and while there’s flexibility within that, Teresa and I have either already made the decisions or can make them as we go, depending on our whims on the day. We have a couple of extra days in Cairo but again, we’ll see what we feel like doing and have a 234 hour plane ride before we get there to make plans (all times approximate).

I am going to try to blog and tweet as I go, but that’s going to depend on Internet access and time. In the meantime, I will continue to be the laissez-faire stresscase I always am pre-vacation.

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