I’ve been trying to acclimate back to reality. Actually, it doesn’t take that long (although the jet lag was rough). It’s the catching up after the time off that keeps me running. I always schedule my days with overly ambitious activities in general, so after a vacation I’m doing double time. I never really know what I’m going to come home to. There’s the typical stack of mail, bills, grocery store run, laundry, etc., etc. I’ll see your regular routine and raise you four cats. They stay in the house. I don’t board them. I tried that once… once. Let’s just say it didn’t go well. So, now, they all stay in the house and I have wonderful people that will come and look after them, take in the mail, water the plants and such. It seems the cats miss me when I go away. Or, that’s what I like to tell myself anyway. It is probably the change in routine and relatively unfamiliar people coming in and out of the house that makes the cats act out while I’m gone. Sometimes I’ll hear about the rug one cat may have ripped up, or made a mess on the floor, dumped their food and water bowls over in an appropriately named ‘hissy fit’. This time, it was Clyde that was the most creative in his disapproval. Clyde is a small, five year old domestic shorthair.
Cute, right? He weighs about ten pounds and is all muscle. This cat trashed my office in pure Keith Moon style as if it was a hotel room in the seventies. He knocked things off shelves, papers strewn everywhere, broke a framed poster. It has been a week and it’s still not organized. Such a small cat, so much damage. Boarding for the next vacation is back on the table…
Well, I am packed, so technically I could get on the plane without issue. I am physically ready. Emotionally and psychologically, however, not so much. This is the longest trip I’ve taken since I back-packed in Europe over twenty years ago. (I’m a forty-something. Shocking, I know. I have a hard time believing it, too.) I always get worked up before a trip, but this has put me in a different state. It’s the going alone part. It’s not that I’m concerned for my safety. It’s that I really like the companionship of a travel partner. Someone to commiserate with about the long flight, relax and chat over coffee about the museum we just visited, experience and share each other’s entrée choices at a restaurant. I’m already feeling that I miss that and I haven’t even left yet. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m missing someone very special due to the unfortunate timing of a ten day business trip. I’m in that ‘place’ to start off.
I’ve been trying to calm myself down and chill a bit as the last few things on the list get scratched off. Yesterday, I went out to dinner at Artu in the North End with a great friend, who also happens to be the travel agent responsible for booking the touring part of this trip. I highly recommend contacting him for your travel plans – Tony at Longwood Travel. (I can see him rolling his eyes at me already). I wouldn’t go to anyone else. Muuaah! So to continue my relaxation techniques I thought I would listen to my favorite garden show (Paul Parent Garden Club) on podcast while I did my errands. Let’s be honest here. What could make you more numb than listening to a guy talk about a four step program for your lawn? I am an avid gardener and even I was struggling to stay conscious! A lesser enthusiast would have contemplated cutting just to feel something through the boredom. So, here it is, 10 hours before my flight. I’ve got a little organizing to do, but I’m there, as ready as I’m going to be. And, I don’t think it’s a secret to anyone that I won’t be sleeping tonight….
Its almost time. I leave Monday morning, but I might as well be counting the hours I have left. Those hours are packed with things I still have to do. I get increasingly stressed about getting everything done and my body’s reaction is to take a nap. It’s slowly shutting down as if it’s trying to tell me ‘you’ll get so much more done if you’re rested.’ LIES! So, in addition to accomplishing the ever expanding to-do list, I have to fight the feeling that I’ve entered a field of poppies (poppies…poppies).
I would say that there just aren’t enough hours in the day, and maybe that’s true, but really what it comes down to is.. I procrastinate. I’ve always wanted to be one of those ‘How does she do it all’ types. Maybe to some I actually am, but when the clock is ticking I certainly don’t feel that I am. I get visions of the Wicked Witch in her crystal ball, ‘Sleep, my pretty, sleeeep’. Meanwhile, I’m struggling with ‘what food in the refrigerator should I get rid of?’, ‘what do I need for the return. I mean, I’m certainly not going to want to cook.’, ‘I need to go to the grocery store.’ The hourglass turns… Sleep… “I have sooo much paperwork to do.” “Oh, I wanted to pack that, but it’s dirty. I need to do another load of laundry.”… Sleeeep…
Packing. For the most part, I’m pretty good at it. When I travel I vow not to check luggage. I usually take a standard roller-type carry-on bag and another smaller bag like a day pack/purse. I have found that no matter the length of the trip, whether it’s four days or two weeks, I just don’t need much more room than that. Of course, this is driven by the fear that my checked bag will be sent to some other land no where near its intended destination. If I’m carrying it on, then I can’t lose it (at least not by someone else’s stupidity… Only my own, but that’s not the issue here). So, my packing is methodical, organized. Everything matches everything else. I have options for day and night. Matching accessories, cute shoes. It works and I look good.
I’ve discovered a wrench in my well-oiled machine. In the middle of my travels between hot, ancient Chiang Mai and intense, stylish Bangkok I have the volunteer program in rural Surin Province. I need to go from ‘cute, fun, and flirty’ to ‘get dirty’. How does this happen in 2 1/2 cubic feet of space?! I’m convinced the solution lies in lists (as does much of my life). It’s like packing for two separate trips. One is the normal ‘site-seeing, exploring, fantastic meals, and meeting new friends over drinks’ type packing. The other is packing things I expect to leave behind in Thailand. The ‘I was going to get rid of this anyway’ packing. I’m not conditioned to bringing my own sheets and towels when I travel, but this is a different kind of trip. I will NOT, however, bring my own toilet paper from home. That, I will steal from the hotel the night before the program starts.
So, this is a whole new world for me. The blogging, I mean, not the travel. I’ve been doing that for a long time now.
I have this trip to Thailand coming up and it’s something different for me. First, I’ll be traveling alone… which I’ve done before, but never quite like this. This trip will be almost three weeks in a country with squiggle letters and no Latin root helping me guess meanings. Just getting myself out of the airport seems daunting. Secondly, I will be volunteering for a week as part of the vacation. I’m really excited about this. I’m thrilled to put my Wildlife Conservation degree to work after shelving it for so long. I’ll be spending a week in the Surin Province near the Cambodian border working on an elephant preserve. For these two reasons I thought it would be a good idea to start a blog. Not to mention, I have people that want proof I’ve not been abducted and sold into a sex ring. I keep telling them not to worry about that with me. I’m waaaay too old for those demographics. 🙂 but if I continue to update the blog, their fears can be quelled.
I hope I can make this interesting enough that people will want to read the blog and experience this new territory with me.