Europe Into the Wild Blue Yonder...

Published on September 1st, 2016


Ready For Blast-off!

Balkans trip preparation checklistOne last post here before I head into the wild-blue-yonder and drop down in Munich.  Just a handful of chores left to do on my “Balkans To-Do” list, and I’ll be ready to conquer most all of Eastern Europe.

Actually, I’m generally not this organized before my travels, but I’ve cut down on my English teaching here in Cuenca (I now only do privates) so happily have had plenty of time for all the many pre-trip chores.  Speaking of which…

Final Bits ‘n Pieces…

Everything I need for 6 weeks travel in Eastern Europe - all fits into carry-on only.As evidenced in THIS post – fine-tuning my packing for this (not so little) 6 week skip was happily finalized (by some miracle, first-time-ever) well in advance (generally, such is frantically cobbled together the day before I’m headed to the airport).  I just need to grab a 3rd, larger padlock (reminded by a TL reader – thanks Bill!) for securing lockers in hostel dorms.

Plus (most importantly) I have a BOATLOAD of trip notes stashed in Evernote, and I’m anxious to curate the most important bits into a couple of pages and print them out to have handy (for digital isn’t always available and/or can fail when, for example, you stumble off a plane in Munich – jet-lagged and bleary-eyed after 32 hours of perpetual travel from Ecuador to the U.S. to Germany – and need the address of the hostel you booked on

Tiny hostess gifts for couchsurfing hosts and Croatian "sobes" along the trail.My newly discovered (thin) streak of “organized” DNA also gave me a free afternoon to wander amid the colorful Ecuadorian crafts at the nearby mercado in search of a handful of (necessarily) teensy-tiny gifts to share with couchsurfing and “sobe” (“homestay” in Croatia) hosts along the trail.  Granted, not much, but at least a token of my appreciation for their hospitality, and a bitty memento of my adopted home here in Ecuador.

Win-Win House/Cat Sitter:

Dulce, my (bilingual) Ecuadorian gataThere’s also still a bit of (normally neglected in the frantic run-up to a major trip departure) last-minute house tidying to be done here at Casa Dyannita, because…  In yet another stroke of happy serendipity (I swear, it seems to follow me like a stalker), a fellow blogging buddy (Nora, a fellow nomad that’s been likewise pecking at for more than a decade) just so happened to be looking for a new country to call “home” for a spell, and…

Long-story-short?  She’s going to be house-sitting Casa Dyannita and cuddling mi gata, Dulce while I’m gone!  Amazing that the dates worked out so nicely – a win-win for both of us.  Better still, she arrives from Canada next Sunday (and I depart on Monday) so I get to finally meet her IRL.  I want the casa all clean and cozy for her stay of course, so I’ve been busily cleaning and emptying out room in the closet for her things.

Digital Snacks for Yuse-Guys…

And finally, there’s all of you folks – my loyal TL readers.  I haven’t forgotten about you, nosiree-bob.  While I’m hoping to post a pic and/or video or two on social media as I go along…

Btw, do “like” my TL Facebook page so you’re sure to catch my every post from the road:, else follow me on Instragram:

Once Upon a Time... a look back at some of the TravelnLass' many adventures.…after more than 6 years of consistently (amazing, as “consistency” is clearly not normally one of my strong-suits) posting a steady stream of TravelnLass tales here, I’m not about to go into TL radio-silence for an entire 6 weeks.  Nope.  Trust that I’ve pre-written a gaggle of “Once Upon a Time” posts for you to enjoy – which I hope to be able to publish on the fly via a nifty WordPress app on my phone.

Indeed, I’ve opted to travel ultra-light this trip, so I’ll be leaving even my bitty netbook at home in Cuenca.  It’ll be just me and my smartphone to keep me “connected”.

And while I’m sure I’ll be busy gawking at the wondrous sights that await me in Munich, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Turkey, I must admit – I AM lately obsessed with both my new selfie-stick and the nifty Kinemaster video editing app on my phone – so I’m hoping to post a few short vids along the way.  No guarantees on such technos whilst I’m on the trail, mind you.  But if nothing else, I hope to have plenty of video footage to fiddle with and share when I get back to Cuenca in mid-October.

Meanwhile… should you dare to pay witness to my first L.A.M.E. efforts in the realm of TravelnLass “vlogging”, here’s my first attempt with both the selfie-stick and the new Kinemaster app.  Clumsy, sad, I know – but hey! Much like any new endeavor (uh – you there – traveling solo to some strange foreign land for the first time?) – we’re both certain to get better with practice, yes?

The TravelnLass Goes *FIRST-CLASS*!!!

Oh and the SUPER-DUPER latest news on my air transport to Europe from waythehelldownherebeneaththeEquator?  As I mentioned in an earlier TL post, my dear Seattle geochum (that visited me here in Cuenca a few months ago) has oh-so-kindly gifted me a pair of American Airlines buddy passes to get me to and fro Europe.

As if that weren’t waaay more than enough – turns out that for just $150 more each way (including all 3 flights that it takes to get from EC to Europe) I can fly FIRST CLASS!  Subject to space available in Business/First Class, but still…  You’re talkin’ to a lass who’s NEVER FLOWN FIRST CLASS in her entire life, so… if even one of those (six) flights going and returning turns out to have a spare Business/First Class seat for little ol’ me… Needless to say I’ll be in H.E.A.V.E.N!!!

Can't wait to again head into "The Wild Blue Yonder" - to the other side of the world for 6 weeks of backpacking in Eastern Europe.

About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!

9 Responses to Ready For Blast-off!

  1. We just got upgraded to business class a couple of weeks ago on our longest leg of our annual trip to the US, Lisbon to Boston, and had a great time navigating all the buttons in our futuristic pod seats. Very nice!
    It’s not hard to see that, in addition to being super prepared, you are also super excited. 🙂 So great when all the pieces start falling in to place and it looks like you have most of your puzzle put together – just the actual traveling to do! Have a great time and I’ll be looking forward to reading about Eastern Europe, especially as a tutorial since it’s a huge bucket list item on our “Wanna Do” list. Enjoy!

  2. James says:

    Have a terrific and safe time! You certainly have a drool-worthy list of destinations to visit!
    James kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Book Your Travels: How Reading Fuels WanderlustMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Thanks James. A bit more rushed itinerary than I normally favor (i.e. more than a half dozen different countries even in 6 weeks) but everything is so deliciously compact in Eastern Europe (not to mention fast, cheap trains and buses), it’s tempting to add “just one more country” to the mix.

      Yep, no doubt plenty of amazing new sights to see. And armed with my (arguably obnoxious) new “selfie-stick” – hopefully I’ll be able to capture a few of them to share here – in *moving* color.

  3. This is exciting. Also finally a reason to create an Instagram account.

    Before I flew business class the first time I worried a bit about the saying that a luxury once sampled becomes a necessity. I need not have worried. Turns out the difficulty of popping my eyeballs back in after seeing the price difference on longer flights was an effective deterrent. Most of the time.

    Good luck and safe travels.

    • Dyanne says:

      lol – glad I could c̶o̶r̶r̶u̶p̶t̶ err… inspire you to dive into (yet another) social media stream, Bill. 😉 Oh and when you do – do d/l the nifty PRISMA app for enhancing your images – it’s so easy and lusciously beautiful, it’s the main reason I recently revived my Instragram account.

      And yes, no doubt after I experience First Class, Coach flights will prove a letdown. But… honestly? If I have to pay the premium for FC, I’d just as soon endure Coach… and put those (exceedingly) premium rubles towards a FANTASTIC dinner or a balloon ride in my destination country, no?

      IOW, happily we each have choices in how we choose to spend our precious, finite travel dollars.

  4. Nora says:

    Can’t wait to follow your trip….from the comfort of your house, with Dulce on my lap! Not long now… 🙂

    • Dyanne says:

      To be sure Nora – Dulce WILL be on your lap whenever you’re at the desk here at Casa Dyannita – just as she is with me now.

  5. That last effect in your video was super cool. The one that seemed to rotate around you smoothly—and then it almost seemed like you had also acquired a TravelnLass drone.

    I hope you do manage to score a First or Business class seat, especially if they have lay flat seats. When I discovered that on Air Canada, I was too excited to sleep. I stayed up sipping chardonnay and playing with all the buttons that changed various orientations of various seat components—not to mention the maple flavored food—remember, it was Air Canada. It makes it hard to go back to economy.

    Wishing you safe and beautiful travels. It should be a lovely time of year for your itinerary.

    • Dyanne says:

      Thanks Suzanne – yes autumn in Istria, etc. should prove especially lovely (and hopefully the high-season crowds will have dissipated some). And yes too, I’ve been forewarned that once you go First Class, Economy will seem unendurable. But I’m willing to take that chance. 😉

      And about that rotational thing at the end of my little river walk with the new selfie-stick? Strangely, it does look like a drone and/or very smooth zooming around me, but actually it was just me – spinning around in place, holding the stick securely. So many tricks I’ve yet to learn with it – hopefully I can grab some good footage from the many places I plan to visit over the next 6 weeks.

      Meanwhile… safe and beautiful travels to you too – there in Iceland tonight, yes?

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