Early on this week, I tackled a project that I've been procrastinating on: international travel to a family wedding in Brazil. I'm so excited about the wedding, as it is for my favorite family member, whom I'll call Darren. LoveHubbie and I are just crazy about Darren and his fiance, but making the arrangements is something that I've had enormous resistance to, so much so that I wondered how in the world I would ever make this happen. I've been procrastinating about it for months, and so finally decided to make it a "Be Brave" project this past Monday and Tuesday.
It may seem silly to have something so routine for many people be a Be Brave project. But that's how Be Brave things are--specific to each individual. There is so much about this trip that evokes enormous fear in me, and if it were anything or anyone else I just wouldn't do it.
So, I got some support (my assistant Sylvia) and we dug in on Monday. I estimated 10 man hours to do the whole thing. First we made up a calendar and selected days to travel and planned LoveHubbie's business on either side of the trip. Then we broke up the trip into two sections, one from Seattle to Miami (which takes a full day), and the second from Miami to the town of Salvador in Brazil (another day). We wanted to spend a night in Miami going there and returning to break up the trip and making it easier and less stressful.
We first priced plane tickets online to get an idea of how much things cost. Then we called the travel agent in Florida who had helped other family members easily make airline reservations. Unfortunately the agent was unable to help us, as there were some flights still available, but none with seats available on the dates we wanted to fly. Alternatively, we could fly when her computer suggested, which would take us on a 30 hour trip without any breaks. She said we should call the airlines directly to see if they had additional seats available. We were in the process of doing that--calling around looking for seats----when I remembered that LoveHubbie had wanted me to use frequent flier miles. So we called our credit card company's reward department, hoping they'd have seats.
Sylvia worked on the computer while I was on the phone and together we spent 6 hours on the flight arrangements. But we did it!
On Tuesday we thought we'd have no problems getting the hotel reservations. How hard could this be? Sylvia easily found a hotel with a shuttle in Miami, but we needed a late checkout because of the odd times we'd be arriving and leaving. She kept getting different stories on the cost and could not get any of the reservation people to agree to guarantee the late checkout for us. Finally we got a manager and made the arrangements.
So we called Brazil. We had to look up how to do so on Google--what the country code was and how to do it via a wikihow.
Now, on to visa photos, bank deposit for hotel reservations, confirmation of hotel reservation for visa, yellow fever vaccine, and more visa application paperwork. We'll pick this up on Monday, when perhaps we'll be ready to get an agent in San Francisco. This agent will hopefully be able to get us an appointment at the Brazilian consulate in San Francisco. If they can do this, the next step would be to have our visa application looked at.
Believe it or not, my anxiety about this is greatly diminished because we are moving forward very slowly, but in the right direction. And I at least can see what needs to be done here. My fear of being overwhelmed has abated. This could actually happen.