The other day I heard a guy who runs in marathons talking about why he does. Basically it’s a question of setting himself a goal and reaching it, with no real chance OR DESIRE to win, just proving TO HIMSELF that he can still do what he did when he was twenty.

And I realize that is what I’m doing with this trip to Scandinavia. I have planned many trips before, been my own travel agent and travel guide and so on. Can I still do it, at this late stage? Find my way around airports and train stations and cities where I’ve never been?

I’ve wanted to go to Denmark ever since Danny Kaye made Hans Christian Andersen less scary then the image I’d gleaned of him by the fairy tales he’d written, ever since I heard Victor Borge play in the Music Hall in Houston. And I had a pen pal in Eva Andersen of Hobro, with whom I had corresponded since I was 12 or so. But I’d never been, and that area is the only part of Europe I haven’t visited (bar Portugal).  I am looking forward to the Norway in a Nutshell tour, staying in the Red Boat in Stockholm, taking a quick cruise to Estonia. And seeing my buddy from many years ago, Carla, in Copenhagen when I return there for a last stop.

So, building on the scaffold the dependable Rick Steves created in his book, and using the internet to book everything ahead of time, I’ve made my plans for this trip.  I thought I was really doing well, all packed and everything, when I realized I HADN’T PACKED MY TICKETS!! My Scanpass train passes. My boarding pass for the plane. My confirmations of hotel and b&b stays!!  It was just a moment to tuck them into my tote, but oh, my goodness – what ELSE have I forgotten?

I’m using one Rick Steves bag, which I’ve used once before. It weighs 35 pounds. The little contingency packs (first-aid, laundry, toiletries, electronics, etc) take up almost as much space as the bag with my clothes in it!  What I am NOT carrying is paper.  No guide book. No reading matter. They’re all in the iPad (and if that fails, the iPhone).  I’m quite used to reading that way now.  I’m not taking a computer, just the ipad. I may regret it but I’ve worked on using it for the posts here, etc. I can even dictate to Siri and upload the results.

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Now to GO! Here’s my itinerary. Makes you tired just looking at it, doesn’t it!  We’ll see!!