In preparation of departure:
-DO borrow a scale from a friend in order to measure out the weight of your suitcase before arriving to the airport. It might not seem possible right now but your glass bottles filled with fish oil, pro-biotics, vitamin D, calcium, jojoba oil, pistachios, and lavender powder are likely to offend the airport’s established luggage weight limit. Consider leaving the liquid vitamin D supplement out. Vitamin D is really only necessary when the sun is too far from where you live to offer any hopes of absorbing the nutrient or wiping the pale off your skin. Even though you’re used to supplementing nine months out of the year in Minnesota, your bones can rest assured knowing that the south will offer plenty of sunshine for adequate vitamin D absorption.
-Speaking of luggage, DO pack at least one week ahead of time. The night before just won’t cut it. Of course you will fold everything, cram it into your suitcase, and realize that you could probably force two more shirts into the case if you roll up all of your clothes instead of folding them.
-DO stock up on tea-tree and peppermint infused toothpicks. Whether you’re people watching from the steps of an old southern porch or sinking your toes into sand licked by the waves of the Mediterranean, the experience will surely be enhanced by the sensation of sucking on a mint flavored stick.
-DON’T spend all of the funds allocated for your trip by visiting every single one of your favorite Minnesota cafe’s, restaurants, happy hours, brew pubs, yoga studios, nature parks, and music venues before departing the state. Channel your inner Arnold Schwarzenegger and recite to yourself, “I’ll be back!”
The week before you fly out, increase the amount of beans and rice you’re eating from one meal/day to two meals/day as a way of saving even more money.
-DON’T think about all of the money you will drain from your savings account during this trip. Realize that you will eventually be forced to spend money in more sensible ways as you grow older. Sure, you are still attached to a fair amount of student debt, but at least you don’t own a house attached to a mortgage, or a child.
-DO stop to consider how strange the word “mortgage” is.
Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a “Mort” is, “a note sounded on a hunting horn when a deer is killed.” A gage is, “something, as a glove, thrown down by a medieval knight in token of challenge to combat.”
Thus, we have mortgage: When a deer is killed and a knight immediately arrives at the scene, throws down his glove, and prepares for hand to hand combat with a horn-blowing hunter.
The deer, knight, and hunter all die while you’re stuck living happily ever after in a house with an immortal amount of monthly payments. That’s a spell you can count on to never be broken.
-DON’T worry if you can’t find a place to live on Craigslist beforehand. Although it sounds terrifying to walk off a plane in a completely different part of the country and not know where you will stay following your arrival…relax! If no one wants to live with you after one week of hostel hopping, just find another state to live in (If you survived the 10-bed mixed dorm room). Or better yet, fly to another country and work on a farm for FREE like other young hip people do. #YOLO!
-DO realize that you will desperately miss all of your loved-ones, co-workers—including the ones you don’t talk to but exchange a smile with almost every time you work, and of course, the regular customers whose presence just comforts you because their faces and mannerisms are so familiar.
A few co-op regulars you will miss:
•Man who always wears his blue coat and bike helmet while spending a leisurely two hours eating and catching up with other customers in the store until closing time. You always give him ten cents off his purchase because he is wearing a backpack, but secretly you know there is no way he is sliding that plate of unwrapped deli food into his bag.
•Man who is incredibly brave because he is always wearing tights, skirts, and flats in the WINTER time. You could never pull that off.
•Woman named Nancy who told you that the names “Anna” and “Nancy” are basically the same name in England. You had no idea and now plan to never visit England because you don’t want to accidentally be mistaken for “Nancy.”
-DO expect to soon be free from unexpected encounters with customers who recognize you from your job when you’re out in public places. Sometimes, you’re flattered when a customer notices you at a neighborhood restaurant and leans over from his or her bar stool to ask, “Do you work at the co-op!?” However, you’re usually not interested in responding with much more than a decisive, “Yes!” so you politely add, “Have a nice day!” because that’s the most Minnesotan way you can think of to say “this conversation is over.”
And then you realize just how awkward you are.
-DON’T be surprised if sentimental feelings quickly tangle up and knot inside of your gut whenever you think about your last day in Minnesota. Maybe you previously thought on multiple occasions that Minnesota was attempting to kill you with its snow, ice, and negative windchill. However, do acknowledge that despite the bitter cold, you will always think back to Minnesota with warm fuzzy feelings.
-DO remember: hey kid, you are free to return home whenever you need!
Now, cut open that coddling bubble and kick yourself out into the world of unknowns!