AnAmericanDogInParis

The Adventures of a 12 pound Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie) going to Paris.

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Tom & Maxine like to travel. Blogging helps us create a record of the trips, and share with friends and family...

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Getting Ready To Go -- Getting Nervous

This Friday, we're getting up at 4AM, heading to the airport for a flight to Chicago, and then after four hours there, another to Paris. There we hope to be met and taken to the apartment we'll be staying in for the next 2 months.

I have this vague feeling of nervousness about the whole project - the project being going to Paris for 2 months. Why? Were you to ask I could give you a million reasons. One stands out as the 'drop dead' hurdle we face. I'd read years ago a story about Rupert Murdock, then an Australian citizen rather than a US one, getting ready to board a flight with wife & children to come to the US. They discovered that the boys did not have their passports. So Murdock and his wife boarded the flight (or so I recall the article saying) and left the boys to (presumably with the help of someone who worked for Murdock) go home, get their passports, and fly the next day. Our 'drop dead' hurdle is anything that involves us having problems getting our dog Cassie a) onto the LAX flight, b) onto the Chicago flight, or c) into Paris.

Years ago I'd read something that said a problem where you can determine the price to get out of the problem was a no longer a problem, but instead a budget item. Okay, maybe this is a bit simplistic. Some problems, redefined as budget items, have prices too high to pay. But, this trip and my feelings of uneasy, are mostly small potential issues -- ones we can buy our way out of. All except ones involving dog transport.

Despite this confidence that our potential problems are small, that we've done everything we can to mitigate against them (for example, we're bringing BOTH our computers along with 2 printouts of passwords so that we can manage remotely), the feeling remains.

Without trying to be too poetic about it, the feeling is a squishy one. Examine any particular issue (what if our ATM cards don't work and we can't get money) and it is plain that a)we have lined up other options, and b) the risk is pretty low.

What occurs to me is this. We've never tried anything like this before -- closing down our house (secured by alarm systems, watchful neighbors, several regular visitors to check on it, etc.) -- and moving ourselves to somewhere 1/3rd of the planet away. So, we prepare for it by considering everything we ideally want to happen (i.e. that we can speak, even if just haltingly, to French people we interact with), and everything we don't want to happen; and making preparations accordingly. We've done that. And, for every possible reason to get nervous there is in fact a solution and, likely more than one, back up solution in place.

What strikes me is that the loop of concern, the "what if's", and the "yes, here's the solution" exist because I don't have a meta framework for planning this trip.

What could a "meta framework" possibly be????? I just mean that for most of the things that come up in life it is possible to think first of the meta issue and from there the lower level aspects of it. Say you're planning on baking a cake. You don't sit around thinking about salt, flour, sugar, the water, whether your oven will work, etc. You start with the cake recipe and drill down to what is needed. Same thing applies to a trip like this. In the details, it can be an enormous thing. But, thinking about the aggregates of it, if you take care of the big picture and what you believe to be the most important or critical components within each aspect of the big picture, you do get there!

The trick with something like this is to first determine what the big picture is, to step back and see the aggregates, and then to have confidence that you've dealt with them. Then (maybe next time!!!) you are less likely to get nervous about the details...

2 Comments:

Blogger Melodie said...

Don't leave us hanging like this! If you're posting this on Sept 4th, can we assume that you all made it to Paris... sipping hot chocolate and eating baguettes & brie (or doggies bones from French butcher shop)?

7:07 PM  
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