The Countdown

Nicole Howell is a student at University of Colorado – Boulder, and is an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in London, England.

Two Weeks Pre-Departure

My flight is two weeks away to take me to London, I’m packing, and I’m sick. I can’t think of any worse combination than having an international flight be in my near future and having the flu.

One Week Pre-Departure

Luckily, I am recovering from the flu about a week later and am starting to feel like myself again. The nerves are starting to kick in and I’m caught off guard slightly. Usually, I don’t get nervous until the day of an event or when I’m actually immersed in the experience where it’s too late to turn back, like boarding the plane that’ll take me to take London. My nerves have kicked in and I’m starting to dream about London, with some good dreams and some making me anxious for the unknown. I know anything I fabricate in my head is worse than how it will actually be, so I’ve calmed myself down, and as of now, I’m excited for London! I’ve started packing early enough where I was able to run out and grab some last night minute items and I’ve printed all the necessary documents I’ve been told I’ll need when I encounter customs.

On Day Pre-Departure

I’m officially packing all my clothes and toiletries that have been laid out in the guest bedroom in my house, and my nerves are continuing to grow. “Packing light” is an oxymoron for me, so at this point all I can hope is all my accouterments fit in the two large suitcases I have set aside. I won’t know until tomorrow when I finish adding the few items currently in the laundry, my daily toiletries, and makeup products.

Day of Departure

It’s. Officially. Here. The day I leave and don’t return to American soil for three solid months. I’m able to fit all my belongings into the two suitcases and after some shifting around a few lighter objects, the suitcases equal out to 50 pounds each (like I said “packing light” = oxymoron). My parents help load all 100 pounds of stuff into the car and we start the 20 minute adventure to the airport while I’m getting progressively more nervous each mile closer we get the airport. We arrive, and it’s like I’ve regressed to a kindergartner on their first day of school, not wanting their parents to leave their side. Being from the Pacific Northwest and going to school at the University of Colorado means I travel by myself frequently, but this trip is undoubtedly different. I manage to give my last hugs, successfully get through TSA, find my terminal gate, meander my way down the skybridge and through the airplane to take my seat. Talk to you in London.


Last moments before I set off on my journey to London!




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