Note to self #1: Leave something at home.
Spend some time walking around the house with your HUGE purse slung jauntily over your shoulder and your carry-on bag full of things to pass the time draped across your chest. THEN see how much you want the spare change of clothes, the two books, the camera and cable, the large noise cancelling headphones, the knitting project and the three spare knitting projects (in case you weren't in the mood for the first one).
Note to self #2: Remember the power of positive thinking.
Do not be surprised if the day before your departure and only moments after speaking to your sister who you are going to visit in London you suddenly come down with a nasty stomach problem sending you straight to bed with cramps, exhaustion, and the runs. Keep up the mantra: "I am not sick. I am not sick," and indeed you will be able to go on your trip with your HUGE purse stuffed with bananas, herbal gastrointestinal remedies, and lemon ginger tea bags. It WILL make a difference. But stay away from the frappuccinos and pizzas in the international terminal.
Note to self #3: Have gratitude in full measure.
Turn a deaf ear to your children's bickering in the car ride to the airport shuttle on the morning of your departure. What they mean to say is: "Mama, we will miss you while you're gone and don't quite know what to do with all of our feelings of emptiness and separation anxiety. Please have a lovely trip and travel safely. Oh, and don't forget the souvenir es for yours truly." But what they say instead is, "Maaa-ahm...he's touching me! Maaa-ahm...he's giving me the finger! Maaa-ahm..." Feel the love. And don't forget to give your wonderful husband a big ol' kiss when he drops your off at the airport shuttle. After all, he's staying home with them.
Note to self #4: Premium Economy.
Next time you see a can of sardines on the grocery shelf remember in acute detail ten hours spent housed inside a jetliner with a seatback reclined three inches from your nose, 2.5 inches of leg room exactly, and your neighbors touching skin with you in the adjoining seats. Think of the large leather chairs with 12 inch wide arm rests in the Premium Economy class. Start saving your pennies.