I have always been a chronic over-packer. Whether I’m leaving for a week or a semester, I cannot manage to pack efficiently. I know I don’t need 8 pairs of shoes and 12 different dresses for a 5 week trip, but I can’t help but think of (and prepare for) all the unlikely scenarios in which I’d need them. However, a few weeks ago, when I realized my trip to Pamplona, Spain was just around the corner, I decided to do some planning in advance. I made a to-do/ to-pack list and spent a fair amount of time considering what I’d actually need while abroad. This week, the packing began. I laid out everything ahead of time to figure which clothes and shoes would make the final cut. Next, I enlisted the help of friends and family to help me roll every item of clothing into the smallest size we could. Then, I carefully laid shoes and rolled-up clothing into the most efficient lay out I could manage in my suitcase and duffel bag, and…I still had too much stuff.

I’ve accepted the fact that packing will never be my forte, but I have my fingers crossed that I have everything I need when I arrive in Pamplona on Sunday morning. With all the emotions that I have felt while planning a five week trip in Spain, the most prevalent one right now is anxiety. Generally, I like to stick to what I know, so you can imagine the worries I have about completely immersing myself in an entirely new culture, and being expected to learn a language (or at least a good amount of it) in a relatively brief period of time. I know I will come out on the other side of this trip as a person more globally aware, but for the time being, I am biting my nails and hoping for the best in Pamplona