"And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home."
Wendell Berry

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Down to the Wire

Wow. So much to do, so precious* little time.

I am trying to get as much work done as possible before I go, but my head is a-jumble with a screeching that can only be described as a high-alert stress sound reminiscent of a rape whistle (included in my headlamp, BTW), and it is blocking out all other coherent thoughts. Since no one is home, I thought it would help to just scream for a minute to sort of, you know, clear out my system and start fresh. It didn't, but I did succeed in scaring the crap out of the cat. Stella is not amused.

In short, I'm starting to panic a bit.

Tonight will be spent with the sisters, tomorrow morning Ad arrives, the weekend is wedding and friend-tastic, and then I'm back in New York for two days until departure. Which means I have to do last minute errands, complete all necessary work, do laundry and have all of my things of value squirreled away where the sisters won't be able to locate them for eight months...by this afternoon.

I've been going to bed late and getting up at 5:30a for many days to squeeze it all in, which I guess will help me avoid jet lag on Wednesday as I sleep through the whole 5+13 hour flight. (Who am I kidding? I can sleep anywhere, anytime anyway. I am a sleep champ.)

But! I'm already completely packed, and it all fits into a carry-on-sized backpack and a small messenger bag. Behold:

My hiking boots are even in there! So are my jeans! And my lightweight cooking pot! Osprey bags coupled with Eagle Creek stuff sacks are a truly magical combo. It also helped that, due to your suggestions, I cut the number of clothes in half and left out a few other things, like the stove and bug spray (list has been updated, as such). Honestly, I haven't been bitten by a mosquito in YEARS, and I've got $700 worth of anti-malarials stashed, anyway. Shudder.

I've started saying goodbyes, which has been strange because it doesn't feel real at all. How will I not see Gina until her wedding in September? I can't believe when I hug my grandmother and say "See you next August," that that can possibly be the case. Or my parents. I'm already getting weepy. I know... me, weepy? Ha.

I am almost 28-years-old, but my family is super big on traditions, and this is the first time in my life I won't be with them on Christmas. That means no How the Grinch Stole Christmas read-aloud ("Dahoo Doris, fahoo Forest, welcome Christmas, Christmas cheeeer!"); none of Dad's famous hors d'oeuvres, wine, blaring Christmas tunes, and ornament hoarding while we decorate the tree (drunk Santa must be positioned to look as pathetic as possible, while the hanged baby needs a prominent position); and no new shot at finding the hidden pickle. Not to mention Christmas Eve dinner and the elaborate who-can-open-presents-slowest competition. Mom gave me my yearly supply of peppermint bark already since I won't be around. I usually wolf down the entire tin as soon as it's out of my stocking, but I'm trying to ration it out so I can have some Christmas morning and feel a little closer to the fam (even though Santa will come a day ahead of time in New Zealand).

Okay, I guess I can't complain too much, though. I still can't believe it's even possible for me to do something like this--something a lot of people wait their whole lives for. And despite the vague melancholy at leaving everyone I love to go so far and for so long, despite the daunting task of tackling so many new places alone and navigating through cultures in which I don't speak the language, more than anything, really, I'm so freaking pumped! Six days! Ahhhhhhh!

*Note: whenever I use the word "precious"--which is rarely, mind you--I think of Gollum. Every. Single. Time. Damn you, Tolkien.


  1. Such a crazy and exciting journey you're about to embark on. You've got major balls for doing this, and I can't wait to follow you through your travels. Be sure to update this bad boy so we can keep tabs on you! :)

  2. I can't believe you're all packed into that little backpack. Total wonder woman. Safe travels, girl! I can't wait to hear about it.

  3. Thanks, guys! Just arrived safely in NZ, and am already bumbling around Auckland in the summer heat. Here goes nothing...

  4. JILLY, I can't believe you're already off on your Journey of One Inch - so excited & happy for you! Keep us updated on your adventures.. sending lots of love to you from NY.. and a little Seuss for inspiration:

    Today is your day.
    You're off to Great Places!
    You're off and away!

    You have brains in your head.
    You have feet in your shoes.
    You can steer yourself
    any direction you choose.

    Oh, the places you'll go!!! xoxo

  5. "Finding the hidden pickle", huh? In my day, if you "hide the pickle", you kind of already found it...