My parents have been fantastic, letting me spread everything all over their house the last week and never complaining at my odd hours or frequent requests for coffee. I worked right down to the wire on Saturday. I had a 4:20pm train to catch and I didn’t take a shower and zip up my bags until 3:20pm (really, I’m not making that up either!). Fortunately my Mom drives like a bat-out-of-hell, a carryover from her years of driving on Germany’s autobahn. We made it to the station at 4:16pm and I could only laugh as I watched my Mom jog next to the train doing her “princess” wave, while my Dad and nephew took pictures and shook their heads.
Unfortunately I couldn’t catch up with friends in NC and GA, but I made it to Tampa and was a bit startled at how chilly it was. I was also startled by the toddler that cried for 45 minutes (hurray for earplugs!) and the Jamaican senior citizen who screamed into his cell phone for an hour. I was totally entranced by the caucasian teenagers with a mouthful of gold teeth, and the only starbucks on the planet that isn’t a wi-fi hotspot (suck it!)
I needed to see my brother before I left on this trip, to hug him hard before he gets married this weekend in Jamaica. It hit me that I’m actually going to miss my baby brother’s wedding, and he is still happy for me, as I am for him. My whole family is crazy about his wife-to-be. They welcomed me to their home with caviar and martinis! They demonstrated their love and affection with some dance moves, and some wrestling moves. Yeah, this union is a match made in heaven.
I finally had a chance to think during the 4 hour drive to Ft. Lauderdale. I have to admit that I’m nervous, a bit anxious, and yes, very excited. This trip is unlike any other I’ve taken, I’ll be working for one, and I am a bit of a workaholic already, will I be able to balance work and still have a transformative experience? I have a deep fear of open water and a fear of heights and a vessel of this size combines the worst of the two! How will I deal with the 8 day voyage with no land in sight, no escape from the ship – from Salvador, Brazil to Cape Town, So. Africa?
I’m also not sure how I’ll feel about traveling fast and shallow versus slow and deep. During my 3.5 months in Mexico I got into the culture, hung out with the locals, sought out the food, music, arts and entertainment native to the cities/towns I was visiting, but on this voyage I’ll see so much more of the world, but with the constraints of someone else’s timetable. We are traveling with almost 900 people, 700 of which are students and things happen. I wonder if we’ll all return together, if we’ll all return alive (people have perished).Â Because I’m a dork,Â I also wonder about things like: did I pack enough Orbit gum? Will I be able to download new episodes of 30 Rock? Will Desmond Tutu become my new best friend? So I guess it all balances out.
I can’t believe I’m actually traveling again, the sensation of movement away from and towards feels so good.