The smoky heat of summer seems to have given way to the first snow of the season with only a few days of whipping rain in between. I know it’s been months since I’ve written, but somehow…
It’s not that there has been nothing to write about; it’s that there’s been too much. Too much to be able to pause and take a breath and contemplate any individual part of my scattershot life. Yes, there’s an election on, and D and I have been throwing our hearts, pens and checkbooks into causes and candidates we believe in. Yes, I’m still trying to develop the farm into a sustainable resource for the community. And I’m still trying to keep my head above water on a contract that jumped from installing my software project on one new ship this year to installing it on almost a dozen. And yes, Devon and I have just become stewards of a waterfront Victorian in downtown Port Townsend (You did what?!?!) I’ll have to tell you about that one later. Just…like I’ve said, there’s been a bit too much to sit and write about.
Speaking of scattershot, I’m not even on the farm right now. I was, two days ago, but at the moment I’m a couple hundred miles off the coast of Kamchatka (a place we all remember from interminable squabbles over the Risk board), southwest-bound at 36,000 feet.
We’ll be in Tokyo in about three hours, but only briefly. A couple of hours after that, we hop another plane south, to Guam. I know. Almost a full day in Guam because the connections don’t work out, then on to Koror, the largest city in Palau. From there…it gets a little fuzzy.
I should explain, and explaining the “we” part goes a long way toward the rest. Devon and I are traveling with her father Steve, westbound to meet up with her brother Colin on a re-run of the kayaking and snorkeling trip Colin and Steve took some time in the previous century. This time around, Devon and I don’t have a pair of rugrats to look after, so she called shotgun and asked if I wanted to come along, too. I thought about it for a second. Okay, maybe half a second, and here we are.
This is going to be different than pretty much any other trip I’ve taken in the past couple of decades. As I’ve indicated, I have very little idea of where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing on any given day over the coming week and a half. That’s par for the course. What’s different is that someone else does. Or so I’ve been led to believe. We’re part of a Wilderness Travel group that’s got everything planned out and orchestrated from the moment we step off onto the tarmac until it’s time for us to get back on the plane eastbound.
I know there’s a detailed itinerary – I’ve seen it blow through my mailbox; amid all the other craziness, I just haven’t had a chance to look at it. Because it’s billed as the “Palau Snorkling and Sea Kayaking Tour” I think it’s safe to assume that we’ll be snorkeling and kayaking, but I haven’t delved any deeper than that, and you know, for this once, I’m okay with that. Most times I travel I try to go deep. I read up on the history of the place, the customs, the politics, the food. As much of the language as I can cram into my head in the weeks leading up to the trip. I’ve got broken shards of Spanish, French, Japanese, Turkish, Irish, Danish, Thai and Bob-knows-what-else wedged irretrievably in my brain.
Not this time. This time, may the traveller gods forgive me, I’m gonna be a tourist. A sensitive and culturally aware tourist, I hope, but a tourist none the less. I’m going to take a break from trying to save the world, save the earth, save the farm. I’m going to spend a little time saving my sanity. I’m going to let the fine folks from Wilderness Travel take me where they’ve planned to take me, feed me what they’ve planned to feed me and show me what they’ve planned to show me. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep you posted on that, at least.