May 7: Pre-Trip

This is my first time leaving the country. There’s a nervous anticipation lingering as I finish up packing and organizing, planning for media visits and free time. The oft touted but intangible benefits of travel, widening my perspective, opening my mind, experiencing another culture are sitting in front of me like a fog. I know I’m putting a lot of pressure on this trip because it’s a first and because the build up has been so long. Going from sitting in a classroom talking about unfamiliar places to being there feels weighty, and the dualism of this ephemeral idea of Travel and the sterile procedure of packing with some mildly frantic googling about whether or not I can have dry shampoo in my checked luggage is unsettling. But as a typically heavy packer, I feel some pride about having two weeks in a suitcase and a backpack.

It doesn’t quite feel real yet, between the extended anticipation and the weird limbo of an empty week between moving back home and leaving the country. I’ve been to Walmart four times, seen three movies at a theater and gotten a haircut in that time. I keep forgetting to do the important things, like calling my service provider or bank, or printing out copies of my information. The gap feels oddly endless and I’m almost looking forward to the physical certaining of being extremely uncomfortable on an airplane.

My article for this trip is about outdoor advertising in London. I’m going to compare it to America’s OOH (out of home) and try to ask as many professionals as possible about it. I think overall there will be less of it, it will be less aggressive, physically smaller and possibly there are more restrictions on what you’re allowed to do. I just hope I see enough to really get a good overview on what OOH looks like inside of London and maybe be able to wax a little on the commodity of public space when it comes to American versus European sensibilities.

In the coming two weeks I really hope to preserve and showcase my experiences abroad through reflections, photography and maybe some video. I’m also going to be building a travel playlist, picking a song every day of the trip and including it in the blog entry with a brief explanation of why I picked it. You can subscribe to the playlist here.Today’s track is Dramamine by Modest Mouse because it’s about traveling and probably one of my favorite songs from the band. They’re very good at capturing melancholy and introspection, and this song in particular is about change, trying to communicate and being unable to focus. It also helped that I get motion sickness and we will be doing a lot of moving on this trip that I’m not particularly looking forward.

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