I feel, very suddenly, like you’re all coming here for something profound; something I can’t deliver. And I’ve been quiet as a result.
I’m packing today, seems as good a day as any. You know, given I leave tomorrow. I’m still not sure I have everything I will need. Or even most things I will need. Most of the things I’m missing are mental; the feeling of being ready to go not the least of them.
In my head there is a running dialogue about how bad a time this is for me to be gone, but the truth is there is no “good” time. It’s fall now. There’s harvest, and winter prep, and darkness that comes far too early. But next it will be winter. The darkness will leave even later and come even earlier each day, there will be the cold and ice and snow to contend with, there will be the added chores of keeping the pens deeply bedded for warmth. And after that, spring. With its manic rebirth, planting, tilling, moving, sorting, shipping, selling, starting. Summer, of course, is no better. It has its own unique list of chores.
Life is, as Karen recently put it, always full. And for that, I’m trying to be optimistic and grateful.
I’ve never travelled internationally before, let alone internationally for ten days on a carry-on sized suitcase and a back pack (self-imposed limits, yes. But limits nonetheless.) So packing in and of itself — mental angst and nerve-induced paralysis aside — has been an adventure. I think I’ve managed to whittle the pile down to a manageable size. I ditched a couple pair of jeans in favor of yoga pants, which pack tighter and will be more comfortable anyway. I’m hoping, with the help of scarves and sweaters, I can dress them up enough to not look sloppy. We’ll see. Or, I’ll just be the horribly sloppy looking chick in all the pictures. Whatever.
I’m (of course) taking my camera and two lenses — no not one that would prevent me from having to “just get closer to the lions” — but, because my processing software is on my desktop, I won’t be able to upload any of them until I get back. Hold me!
I have a bottle of pure DEET — I’m kidding. Mostly. — some sunscreen, anti-malaria meds, and a ONE journal. Oh my gosh! Pens! Don’t let me forget pens! There is shampoo, conditioner, lotion, make-up, and a hair straightener. The latter of those mostly so my Small Humans do not try to use it while I’m gone and burn down the house. I wish that was a joke.
I’ve got my passport, briefing binder, itinerary, a tiny bit of cash, and my credit card — which I’ll have one shot at using because, they “no longer do prior notification”. In case you’re wondering, yes, I did hang up on the service representative at my bank. Right after she tried to assure me that I shouldn’t worry because they’ll contact me by cell to find out whether or not it’s a fraudulent charge before shutting the good old boy down. Because I’ll be wildly available by cell in Ethiopia. Again, I say, whatever. What’s life if you’re not living it on the edge right? Right!
Oh, which reminds me. 80% protection from Hepatitis A is pretty good, right? Yeah. I’m mostly vaccinated.
Shot record. Got my shot record.
ID. Insurance card. Don’t let me forget my insurance card.
At this point, I’m just shamelessly using you all as a public list making service.
We received our itinerary today. It’s still confidential, but I will tell you this: there are some extremely exciting items on the agenda that I cannot wait to share with you. This is happening. It’s real. And somehow, in the course of the past six hundred words (and the six hours I’ve spent coming back to this post on and off) I’ve gone from nervous and hesitant to excited and chomping at the bit to get on the road. I’m glad we had this talk.