Preparing for Cape Town (Predeparture)

Payton Geschke
June 13, 2019
View From Plane

Having never left this country before, packing to travel all the way to South Africa started out as an undoubtedly stressful task. I've never been on a flight longer than four hours, and other than college, I've never been away from home for more than a week. My program in Cape Town, South Africa is seven weeks long, and the journey there will consist of three separate flights, totaling over 25 hours of travel time. Though I am fairly prepared now, I can still think back on how stressed those numbers made me back when it all started.

I am originally from a suburb about twenty minutes outside of Chicago, Illinois, and I now go to college in Lincoln, Nebraska. The move there freshman year was definitely a daunting experience, but with the help of my parents, I made it, and so did every other out-of-state student. So, I decided to think about packing for South Africa in a similar way. Everything I needed to live comfortably (plus a little more) could fit in the tiny Volkswagen Jetta I took to college, so all I really needed to do was trim a bit down to fit into the two checked bags I was allowed to travel with.

A huge key to packing for such a long trip is planning ahead, and I cannot stress that enough. Both physical and mental preparation are so important when leaving the country for an extended period of time. I have done my fair share of packing up my car to travel between school and home, and I can easily say that there is nothing worse than spending the trip overthinking what you did and didn’t bring.

However, there is a pretty big difference when comparing travel between states and travel between continents. If you are reading this entry, you are probably at a similar point in your education abroad experience as I am (or you’re at least curious about what it’s like). I have found that looking through other students’ posts is extremely useful when understanding what to bring, even if it is not specific to the country I am traveling to. Many students talk about necessities when traveling long distances in general, so I would definitely recommend taking in any of that information and checking back in for my next post, where I will most likely talk a bit about how I made it through the packing experience!

As I write the last portion of this entry in the O’Hare International Airport, I am able to start soaking in the idea that I'm moving to Africa, even if just for a few weeks. I am so excited to meet new people and learn about the culture.

I can’t wait to start this journey, and I know that it will be one of the best experiences of my life!!­­­­

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Payton Geschke

<p>From rummaging through my backyard as a little kid, to traversing through Starved Rock (Illinois) in high school, to a week-long hiking excursion in Zion National Park (Utah) and the Flatirons (Colorado) just this past spring break, I have always been an adventurer. I am a strong believer that getting out of one’s comfort zone and experiencing new things are critical aspects of creating a well-rounded and informed individual. I hope that as an IES correspondent, I will be able to share what I have gained from my experiences in a way that inspires others to put themselves out there.</p>

2019 Summer 1, 2019 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Park Ridge, IL
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