June 3, 2018 – CR7 World Cup travel blog. Chapter 1: a week away from flying out.
It’s past 8:00 PM GMT. As I’m typing these first words on my keyboard, I can’t help but reminisce.
A year ago, at this exact moment, Real Madrid were dismantling Juventus in the 2017 UEFA Champions League final in Cardiff. Cristiano Ronaldo was on fire and I was ecstatic; celebrating alone, in the living room.
In one week’s time, at this exact moment, I will be on the plane – somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean. Relaxed. Relieved. Enthused. A dream is unfolding – the improbable dream of covering the world’s most prestigious sports event – the senior men’s FIFA World Cup.
I’ve covered World Cups before – twice, to be precise. My first time was in 2012 at the women’s youth level in an unforgettable experience in Baku, Azerbaijan as a Young Reporter for AIPS Media. My second time was in Canada in 2015 for Live Soccer TV in yet another fantastic experience marked by that birthday selfie with Brazil national women’s team captain Marta.
Today, I look forward to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and I know I’ll be catching feelings I’ve never felt and seeing things I’ve never seen. It will be spectacular, for sure. My co-workers, other colleagues in the profession such as Tom Kundert of PortuGOAL.net and Gary Al-Smith of the Multimedia Group, and footy friends are telling me it will be like nothing I’ve ever experienced (in a good way) in my career. It must be true!
In the past few weeks, I’ve become more aware of the privilege that it is to attend the 2018 FIFA World Cup as an accredited journalist. I’ve been telling myself every time pressure surfaces:
“Forget about how expensive it is to get yourself there on your own. Prepare for how hectic it will be to combine your day job with CRD coverage and constantly moving from one city to another. The 2018 FIFA World Cup is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Go for it, Angela!”
Speaking of preparations, I’ve drafted myself a detailed schedule for the entire trip. Travel hack to surmount costly forgetfulness and unwanted stress throughout a non-vacation trip!
I’ve risen above the physically and emotionally energy-draining period that the last couple of years have been. A series of rejections seemed to have created some sort of vicious circle – so much that it took me a while to digest the approvals I received from FIFA in March and the Russian embassy in April for my media accreditation and visa respectively.
Remember, like Cristiano Ronaldo, I’m the type who does not celebrate before everything is done and dusted. I keep mute. I fight hard. And then I let results speak for themselves. Perhaps, it’s time for me to be more in synchronization with the good vibes that emanate from receiving good news!
That’s what I’ve been training my mind for, lately. I admit that encountering issues related to planning an intense 38-day trip overseas isn’t the best way to plug into the frequency of excitement. However, it’s left with just a few things to put in place and I’m sure the World Cup fever will kick in! I have five business days to iron out those remaining details, one extra day to breathe, then let the adventure begin!
As I’m penning the first of many blog posts in these ‘CR7 World Cup travel series’ for this C. Ronaldo Daily fansite, I realize how far we’ve come with this project in less than two years. We may not have the best ranking (yet!) on Google but I relish the opportunity to flaunt the CRD brand in the streets and stadiums in Moscow, Saransk, and Sochi.
Branded CRD t-shirts unveiled on May 31, 2018. Trendy!
My 14-year passion for Cristiano Ronaldo has led me to go for things that light me up, to get and to give, to feel and to share, to meet and to nurture relationships with amazing people from all over the world. This is how Team CRD came about. It is indeed a whole lifestyle to be a Cristiano Ronaldo fan — a lifestyle based on waking up in the morning with the intention to win, and going to bed at night with satisfaction or the determination to do better.
In just about a week’s time, this passion will lead me to accomplish the biggest dream of my career as a football journalist: that of covering Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal exclusively at a major tournament – on my own terms, for our growing community of CR7 fans.
In my second blog post, I hope to be writing to you from Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport where I last spent 40 hours in transit. I expect to write about my last days in Accra where I’m set to close a couple of business deals and enjoy a pre-birthday get-together with friends before packing my bags and flying out.
PS: If you have questions (you, curious reader!), feel free to ask in the comments field and I’ll try to respond.