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Or I could say it in Dutch instead of French:  Voorbereiding voor mijn Europese avontuur. Or maybe just using the only language that I can really speak, I am preparing for my European adventure. I am counting down the days until I board a plane for the dream trip: 12 days in London, Canturbury, Normandy, Paris and Amsterdam.

I am making this trip with sixteen students and the director of admissions at the small private school where I teach. Karen’s husband, the mother of two of the students and her mother will also be in tow.  The planning has been going on since August. Believe me, it is no easy feat. While this will be my first international trip with students (and first trip to Europe with anyone), it is not my first traveling experience with these kids. I have twice made the trek to the nation’s capital with the eighth grade. Thankfully we have a travel company ; for the DC trips I was the travel company. Some of the kids had to get passports and forty something days from departure some of them are still in process, while others discovered their passports had expired and had to do a rush re-order. I am glad that Karen is in charge and I am only going along for the ride. We have had meetings about exchanging currency and how to avoid being a target for pickpockets. And then there is the big question: What to pack?

What do you put in your suitcase to watch the changing of the guard or explore Windsor Castle? What is the proper dress for viewing the Eiffel Tower or entering the promised land (aka Le Louvre) or climbing the stairs to Anne Frank’s attic?

I have read countless blogs about this, and many of those are about the concept of packing in carry on only. I have embraced this idea; I would not relish the idea of losing my luggage abroad.  I did a test run on a new suitcase when we went skiing a couple of weeks ago. I reasoned that of I could get nearly everything I needed for five days in single digit weather on the slopes in my carry on, then I could probably do a spring trip. I ordered a set of packing cubes and grabbed what I thought I might be likely to need and tried packing it up. In the largest cube I fit two pairs of black pants and a pair of jeans, three sweaters and three jackets and had room left over. In the next smallest bag I rolled and packed nine shirts. That left a bag for underwear and pajamas. I put them in my 20 inch case, which has a pockets for my extra shoes, scarves (a must for Paris) and flat iron (dual voltage and I have European converters), and there is room to spare. Obviously I’ll be wearing another pair of jeans, a sweater and my lightweight hot pink duster coat. I have a roomy tote that will hold my camera, a small crossbody purse, my makeup and a book and snacks and still have plenty of room for souvieners. My tablet will fit in the outside pocket of  my suitcase- so yes, I think that I can manage Europe for two weeks in carry on luggage. (My students are skeptical- they have this idea they can’t wear anything twice without washing it and want to make sure that every selfie shows them in a new outfit- they can’t quite get the mix and match concept….)

Meanwhile, amidst all these plans, I am trying to market the adult coloring book that I just released with my husband, Coloring Photography, and would really like to finish the second book in my time travel trilogy, The Red Finch, and I do have to go to work five days a week until we depart.  I plan to write about my adventures, but until then, feel free to check out my writing by reading someof my books. You can find at http://www.bookbylynnmurphy.com