where the writers are
The Big Trip! (part one)

Ah...where to start...I am in Australia now and while this blog will not directly be related to dogs, I wanted to share my experiences with you. To start, I am afraid of long distance travel. So why am I in Australia? I don't know. I was asked to speak at the APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers for those of you that don't know) conference here and in a weak moment, said yes. So here I am - pretty much the farthest away from home that I can get.

 I have been awake now for almost 48 hours, so I hope this will be somewhat entertaining and somewhat make sense <g>.

I have been obsessing about this trip for a long time - ever since I signed the contract. I had to do quite a few things;

1) find someone to watch my dogs

2) make sure my classes were covered

3) not be terrified about the flight itself, considering that it is a 24 hour one(s)

4) quit smoking so I could handle #3!

5) borrow suitcases, camera

6) pack for Ontario weather *and* Australia weather 

7) be happy that an entire organization wanted me to come all that way to speak for 3 days

8) design a powerpoint presentation and handouts for each of the 5 topics (that was actually the easy part!) 

Too late, I realized that all I had to do was to break down each of the tiny steps and do a mental check;

pack my suitcase - check!

pack the dog's stuff - check!

clean out the van so I could fit all of my stuff and their stuff - check!

print out my e-ticket - check!

print out driving directions (to Ontario Canada which is where my dogs will stay) - check!

breathe - no check yet...:o(

get in the van - check!

drive to Ontario - check!

introduce the dogs to the goats, horses, llama - check!

Call Beau away twice from sheep - check!

Breathe - check!

Forgetting about Monday - check!

Settle the dogs in - check!

Cry 4 times about leavng my dogs - check!

Leave for the airport - check!

Breathing - no check :o(

Trying not to freak out - no check :o(

Getting to the airport - check!

breathing - no check :o(

getting my ticket with that icky new  automated machine - check! (after trying 4 times - Cynthia did it for me...)

checking my bags - NO check! AAA somehow screwed up my Visa and even though I had a written confirmation and verbal confirmation from the Embassy that "yes the ETA was attached in the computer records to my passport," they still refused to fly me until it was cleared up.

one hour later - check! Visa cleared. whew!

Find Customs - check!

Had my organic grapes confiscated - check! (can you believe it!?)(remember this though - there will be a test - they said I could bring in my eggs, tuna and carrots but no fruit to Australia)

(more to come - I truly can't keep my eyes open anymore)