It’s almost the end of January, and it’s time for something of a personal post, mainly because it’s cold in the house right now and I’m having a hard time getting started this morning, but also because I feel like I should mention this somewhere other than Tumblr.
I’m about to go on a trip. A really big trip. A sixteen-leg trip taking 50 days and involving nine countries and six airlines, if all goes according to plan. Most of that is for work, but some of it is me taking advantage of regional airfares while working, and nine days of it are about visiting Patty in India, who will be there now for longer than we originally expected.
Despite having always been surrounded by travelers, the type of people who get itchy to leave on adventures, I’m not really much of one myself. Sure, I like going to B&Bs with Patty, and I like seeing new places when traveling farther afield; and over the last couple of years I’ve sort of even fallen in love with the sanctity of airport time — whatever you want from me, I can’t give it to you while I’m dealing with luggage or customs, and I am so grateful for that.
But I’m not a traveler, by nature. Being away from home stresses me out, and I’m a creature who tends to want familiar comforts: my bed, my cats, the awesome burrito place across the street and the fabulous bar down the street. When a trip is winding down, I am always more than ready to be home, and nothing makes me feel like myself so much as New York, even if I sometimes wish I could be an LA person (I also sometimes wish I could be a dog person, but I’m just not).
At any rate, today I got my visa approval for Vietnam. On Wednesday, I go to put in my visa application for India. Then I need to make an appointment to get a lot of immunizations. Meanwhile, I have plane changes in Toronto, London, Warsaw and Bangkok. I’m hoping to see Berlin while I’m in Zurich and Kuala Lumpur while I’m in Hanoi, and actually get to Bangkok for a weekend so I’m not just like “Oh hey, I’m in an airport in Thailand.”
The whole thing is complicated, scary, and really, really unimaginable. I’m out of my depth, my celiac disease complicates everything, and my mother thinks I should bring a suitcase full of tinned tuna with me (that would be no).
What I’m counting on, oddly, about this trip, is that it will involve so much constant change that I won’t actually feel jet-lagged or behind. Instead, I’ll exist in my own self-regulating time zone and somehow manage to show up where people tell me, when people tell me, with a bit of charm and a relatively functioning brain, because I have to and because I have a whole life back here to be running while this is going on — I’m not kidding when I say 2012 is looking to be a very nice year for me in terms of words like projects and contracts.
I don’t leave for a few weeks yet, and I have a trip to Los Angeles in the middle of that. But as my friend and collaborator Kali has already noted in email, it’s probably time to change the salutation from “How are you?” to “Where are you?” and possibly even to “When are you?”
Hopefully, on most occasions, I’ll actually know.
4 thoughts on “Personal: a very big adventure”
The question is not where, but when. 😉
Tins of tuna would make your luggage very heavy 🙂 I’ve been living in Vietnam for about eighteen months now, and wanted to mention that one thing that complicates eating under dietary restrictions here is that the grocery stores have an unfortunate habit of affixing the sticker with the translation of the ingredients directly over the original-language ingredient listing on the packaging. Sometimes I can peel the Vietnamese sticker off, but sometimes it doesn’t work out so well and then I go drown my sorrows in a iced coffee 🙂
Thank you, that’s good to know. I was thinking of bringing some sealed, packaged gluten-free things. I know there will be plenty of rice noodles there, and so I should do well, but it’ll take my worries off. Does that work out okay going into the country or are they really strict?
Immigration/Customs here is about the most relaxed that I’ve seen, but I am not overly familiar with the procedure at the airpot in Hanoi. I’m HCMC, and here people have to send their baggage through an x-ray right before exiting the airport (um, hooray for unnecessary congestion?). Honestly, I’ve brought back large suitcases filled with food items that I miss from Canada for the past two summers, and it’s never caused any raised eyebrows. I have friends who have brought in steaks from Singapore, which I thought was pushing it, but no, it was fine.