For most people, before they travel to a foreign country, they pack the essentials.
Camera tripods and walking sticks and rechargeable battery packs, rain ponchos and rubber sandals...
They download Tripadvisor apps and iPhone maps and carry travel books like Lonely Planet. (It can be very lonely indeed)
Most try to travel light. This week I heard of two sisters that compete for the lightest rucksack, sawing off toothbrush handles and turning their underwear inside-out. That... takes devotion!
But for me...before I leave the comfort of house and home... before I set off into the wild blue yonder of the unknown... before my bags are packed and zipped and waiting by the door... I stow away the poetry of the land in my heart.
I memorize her verses and scribble her sayings, rip pages from books and roll them up in my socks, etch words of the country and city's greatest lovers on my hands and arms and chest and legs and carry them with me like warm wine in the sun. I've always done this.
Walking the streets of Barcelona hearing Lorca whisper to me, welcoming me ashore.