Off we go!

I’m in the SeaTac airport lounge enjoying a nice Black Butte Porter while waiting for boarding to start. This is my pre-flight tradition and I don’t exactly remember when or why I started doing this. It has been a great idea as I find it a great way to mark the beginning of a journey. Though looking at the clock I see boarding is about to start so I need to head off.

Pre-Flight Tradition

See you all on the other side!

Anoraknophobia and Marbles

Marillion has announced that the two albums they will highlight for Marillion Weekend 2015 are Anoraknophobia on Friday night and Marbles on Saturday night. I was hoping to get some quality listening time for both of them in the next few days. Sadly I moved last January and I seem to have packed both of them in a box that I have yet to unpack. I hope I can find some copies in my digital library tonight but that’s another thing that is in pieces while I reorganize from a HD crash. (Save early, save often folks!)

While going through my packing list I went browsing for some lists that other people have posted online. I was amused that almost every list included an alarm clock. Has no one updated their list since the 90s? Sure, it used to be a good idea but these days I’ll just use my phone. After all, if I lose my phone I have much larger problems than oversleeping.

Marillion Weekend 2015!

Dear Brendan Leber

We are writing to confirm that your booking has now been paid in full.

With that little nugget arriving in my inbox I’m now confirmed for joining a few hundred of my friends for a weekend of fun, music and friendship. My flight leaves a week from today and while I’m ready to go I’m so unready to go. With a week to pack I’ll be ready when the time comes, but for now there are so many details left to handle.

If you haven’t heard of Marillion Weekend before, it is a weekend long festival hosted by the band Marillion every other year. While the weekend happens in three different locations I’ll be attending the one in Holland at CenterParks Port Zelande. While I’m sure the Weekends in Montreal and the UK are wonderful events, I will always head to the Netherlands because of the friends I have in the area. (Friends means free places to sleep if you didn’t know. 😉

This will be my fifth trip to the Netherlands. Though far from being the usual there is always more to explore and do. For example, this will the my first trip there since the Van Gogh Museum has been remodeled. I also have plans to see Steven Wilson in Utrecht, a city I’ve never visited before. Of course I’ll have to visit my favorite cigar/chocolate shop (not chocolate cigars, La Casa del Habano sells cigars and chocolate bars). Some of the best chocolate bars I’ve ever had in my life. A visit to the Netherlands is never complete without some kibbeling from Simonis in Scheveningen and a dinner of reijsttafel.

Normally I fly Delta/KLM because they offer direct flights from Seattle to Amsterdam which saves me from the possibility of missed connections. This time though the flight on Iceland Air was $600 cheaper than Delta/KLM. With $600 more in my budget I took advantage of their stopover program to spend three days in Iceland and Reykjavik, which I can finally spell without looking up. I’ve made some plans such as reservations at Dill, a walking tour with I Heart Reykjavik, going to elf school and a visit to Blue Lagoon.

That might sound like I have the entire trip planned out but I’ve learned to leave a lot of slack in my travel schedules. I make reservations for the things that are on my “must do” list and I have a checklist of things that I’d really like to see but I don’t plan every minute. When I used to plan everything I found that I was super stressed for the trip and didn’t enjoy myself as much. Having down time I can rest in the hotel if I’m tired. I can sleep in one day and walk around to see what the night life has to offer and not feel like I missed something. Those unplanned moments are where the magic has happened. Eating in a local joint I can strike up a conversation with other people, really talk with them and get a feel for the places I visit. If you are one who plans your trips down to every moment I encourage you to plan some unplanned time on your next trip. Take a walk through the market, wander around the area and see what you find.

I will be writing about my experiences during this trip. Keep watching for more.