25 June 2002

"Ain't nobody here but us chickens..."

In fewer than three hours, I'm on my way to the other side of the world. I have packed, re-packed (you don't want to know about this, trust me), and winnowed my life's possessions for the next four weeks down to one goodly sized suitcase (it's sort of an enormous duffel-bag thing), stuffed as full as I can get it, and one carry-on backpack, full of paper, pens, ink, journals, books, and battery-operated electronic organizers. I'm as ready as I'm going to be, and I keep telling myself, it's only four weeks, it's only four weeks. I'm taking on faith that everything I need on the road, I can buy. What I can't buy, I probably don't really need.

I'm suffering from computer withdrawal syndrome, too. I've put my email on vacation notice, set my group memberships and listservs to the "nomail" option, and set a forwarding message for people who are desperate to reach me of how they can get in touch. I have web-based email I can use once or twice a week -- I'm not going to the moon, after all. But I won't have the internet as my companion for coffee in the mornings, and I won't be cruising the cyberverse, seeking out the beautiful, the unusual, or the wonderfully weird on anything like the regular basis I now do.

I'm excited about the trip -- which I was awarded in a contest -- but I'm depressed at the leave-taking on so many levels. I'm putting my life on hiatus, while I go off somewhere else to live my life. It just doesn't seem right. I wish I had more room in my bags, to pack my friends and my family. I'd fold and roll them up, carry them aboard the planes and taxis, wheel them through the airports and foreign cities, and then gently unpack them when we finally arrive in the place that will be home for the next few weeks.

Ah, if it were only so simple. In the meantime, this ritual of arrivals and departures feels disconcerting, and a little melancholic.

I hope if you read this page, you are thinking of me, just as I am thinking of you.

Excuse me. I have to go put on the travel clothes.


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