My original plan for my Eve of Departure post was to blog before I left Virginia, but I ended up getting very sick the night before the flight (and all day traveling) to Europe. So here I am now getting to this post and it is a nice reflective experience because of the last two weeks I have been able to spend with my wife and son traveling through Europe. I was able to see my Dutch family that I hadn’t visited in 14 years and introduce them to my son, who is the first of the next generation of Jardons. I’m leaving my wife and son tomorrow so they can fly back to Virginia as I head to Zurich. Part of me is exuberantly ready to start GPP, but part of me is sad to not be with my family for two weeks. I’m so excited that I was able to get this extra travel experience with my family and now the time has come for the reason we were able to come over here. A couple of days ago I traveled into Austria and this is the first time I’ve been to a country I haven’t visited before in about 8 years. International travel has been a huge part of my life since I was a child but for many years now I have focused so much on academics that travel has fallen to the background. Now suddenly my academic life has brought cultural immersion back to the forefront! I’ve never been to Switzerland or Italy, let alone any universities in the region, so I’m ready to immerse myself in the amazing cultural experience that is about to begin. So excited to learn from these places as well as the diverse group of people I am traveling with!