I’m sitting in Dublin Airport waiting for check-in to open. I have arrived five hours early for my flight just in case. I’m not entirely sure what this, “just in case” covers. It’s hardly rush hour in Terminal 2. I’ve triple checked all my tickets. I’m here on the right day/month/year. My passport is in date and it’s actually my passport. I have an ESTA. I have double print-outs of every single piece of travel documentation required for the next three weeks. I have a huge suitcase of books and a dozen draft copies of Belfast’s Tourism, Culture and Arts strategy. I think I’m pretty organised this time.
I have forgotten my lip balm but this seems like an entirely rectifiable situation. Even if there is no lip balm to be had in the entire US, if this is to be my worst travel disaster of the trip then I shall just get by with chapped lips. I’m reasonably sure I’m actually going to get to America this weekend but, (in light of last year’s travel apocalypse and that time I turned up one month early in Bristol Airport and the thirty six hour layover/flu disaster and various other on-the-road mishaps), I don’t want to jinx anything by being over-cofident.
So, let me just say, that if I make it out of the country tonight I will be flying to Baltimore to talk to some college students about Northern Irish literature, amongst other things, (politics, Liam Neeson, 1980’s confectionary), then I’ll be reading in Washington, DC, and trying to catch up with all the great people who live there, then I’ll be heading over to Madison, Wisconsin for cheese curds and quality time with the Lockes, up to Grand Rapids to hear George Saunders read and coerce him into coming to Belfast and finally, over to Chicago for a wee break. I’ll be blogging about my travels here and writing a daily Postcard Story recording my adventures. It’s going to be great. If I can just get out of Dublin Airport.