There is a scene in “Up in the Air” that always comes to mind the night before a big trip. It’s the one where George Clooney stands in a drab, beige hotel conference room, illuminated by spotlights, and asks the audience if they can fit their lives into a backpack. While your correspondent is not trying to fit his whole life into a backpack, he is still finding it difficult to fit enough into a suitcase for 10 weeks abroad. Two suitcases might be a possibility, but for some strange reason, the challenge of using just one is too great to resist. 

Work begins on Monday, at International IDEA’s office in the The Hague. After packing, the only thing to do is manage the anticipation, get on the plane tomorrow, and enjoy the journey. The next 10 weeks are sure to be an incredible learning experience; tomorrow can't come soon enough.