Friday, April 16

‘I wanna hang a map of the world in my house. Then I'm gonna put pins into all the locations that I've traveled to. But first, I'm gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won't fall down.’ Mitch Hedberg

I’m leaving on a trip in a few days to the UK with a five day stopover in Vancouver on the way. I’ll apologize now to the 1.3 people that may or may not have fallen asleep at the computer when I wrote about it before, because I’m going to write about it again.

When I started my life inversion process a little over a year ago travelling was one of the things that I really wanted to include in the new life. I wasn’t sure exactly how that was going to dovetail into the minimalist schtick that I wanted to imbue the new version of me with, but I knew that I wanted to see a bit more of the world, see a few new things, maybe learn a new language or two. I wanted to rediscover the vagabond in me.

Still didn’t know what that was going to look like though…

Last June, when I went to my Grandmother’s 90th birthday party/family reunion, I was talking to my Dad who happens to live in the UK. I’d never visited him there even though he’s been across the pond for around twenty-five years now.

For the previous ten years I’d used the “I don’t have any time” excuse fairly effectively, but part of the inversion included not making any more excuses. That resolution, combined with the flexible schedule of trying to be a writer, pretty much fucked up the “no time” doctrine. The other natural concern in regards to long trips would naturally be money, and the inversion, including it’s divestment of material goods and accompanying embrace of minimalist sentimentality, also naturally includes a lower revenue stream.

So I could have claimed poorness, but that would still be an excuse.

What to do? I cashed in some RSP’s. Yes, I know… sooo irresponsible! Not to me though. Not anymore. I cashed in the RSP’s, freed up a bit of cash and made plans, for real.

My decision was validated (if you believe in that sort of thing) this spring when my Dad had a coronary arrhythmia. Nothing serious, but enough to prevent him from flying in May when he and his wife were suppoed to go to Africa together. (It's a big visit to one of her sons and couldn’t be canceled altogether, so she planned to go and he planned to stay back). My timing fit perfectly into their schedule allowing her to go and him to not be alone. That’s either a grand coincidence or serendipity – and I don’t really care which one it is.

The trip also works on a more selfish level: I get a nice base from which to start an exploration of Europe and the UK. The itinerary is humble this time: England, Scotland, a bit of France and Belgium. Hopefully, after I sell the novel and actually consider myself as employed as I ever wish to be again, I can go back and do some more hopping. I’m looking forward to Scotland more than I allow myself to admit most days.

In the crossing of the Rubicon of Hadrian’s Wall there is, for me, a romantic sense of going home.

But no expectations… really.

The trip is about exploration of a primarily internal landscape, my emotional topography, as I see places that have only existed in pictures and my imagination, and as I seek to complete repairs to a relationship that has been in a certain state of disrepair and renovation for a very long time. So much to do.

And, yeah, I still have to finish editing the manuscript so I can have something worth talking about in a query letter. Which reminds me…