One more week…

In one short week, I will be waiting for Emily to take me to the airport hotel in Hartford, CT.  We won’t leave until after 9:00 p.m. as she is taking a course on Thursdays.  I wonder what it will be like to stand by the wood stove, bags packed and ready.  On Friday morning, my flight to Hawaii leaves at 6:15 a.m. meaning a really early start to a long day west through the time zones ahead.  Em will head down the road to New Haven for her interview at Yale while I maneuver my way through the first of many flights and airports in the months ahead.  It’s good to start with the familiar.

The emotions have been all over the map these last couple of weeks.  As I read through travel sites, look at pictures and read through guidebooks, my mind swims with the excitement of all the places I’ll be able to experience.  The pictures of the rice paddies in Bali, the temples in Thailand, the Himalayas of Nepal and Bhutan, the beaches and blue water;  ah, what’s not to love!  There are tigers and elephants, rhinos and monkeys, all to be sought out and experienced.  Hikes to be hiked, bikes to be ridden, markets and temples to be explored and people to meet – all await.

But, there are also mosquitoes (mozzies in the web sites), rabid dogs and monkeys, microscopic bacteria in the food and water and tales of pickpockets and scams.  Those are the things I try not to think of before I fall asleep.  I’m armed with my steri-pen to kill the water-borne diseases (thanks Peter), medications and pills for a variety of aliments (thanks Em), wipes and tissues (instead of showers and toilet paper) and 3 expensive rabies shots.  I try to anticipate all that will make life easier on the road – hidden money, extra passport photos, long sleeves to protect from the hot sun, mosquitoes and cultural misunderstandings.

Packing perfectly for such a trip, especially with the goal of one carry on bag and a day pack, is an exercise in futility most likely.  Although I know I can probably find what I need almost anywhere I go, I also need to have clothes for different activities and climates.  Packing for a bike trip in Hawaii is different than packing for a bike trip in Bhutan.  Packing for a hike in Bali is different than packing for a trek in Nepal.  Yet, I try to find the common denominators and just have faith that it will all work out somehow (and those nifty new compression bags certainly help!).

Faith is a big word these days.  There will be challenges.  There will be triumphs.  There will be people who help me and people that I will help.  It’s all out there waiting for me to find, whatever “it” turns out to be.

I will carry my ipad, which worked out well for the most part on my fall trip.  I wasn’t able to post many pictures to this blog on the road but they are linked here if you’d like to catch up with them now.  I suspect posting pictures may prove challenging on this international venture but I’ll do what I can and save them to post when I return.  Because I’m not sure how often or when I will post, you might want to consider “subscribing” to this blog.  You’ll get an e mail when I post so you don’t have to keep checking in on this website until there’s something new to see.  You won’t be alone.  I was shocked to see how many people have been reading this blog this fall.  That could just add to my stress if I think about it so I’m going to just keep writing to each of you individually in my mind.

In the meantime, there are still errands to run, items to pack, and many goodbyes ahead.  In many ways, this is the hard part, saying goodbye to the familiar, my friends and family here.  Somehow, though, when I see the white sands of Hawaii replacing the white snow of Vermont next week, I think I’ll be fine.  Stay tuned.

Leave a comment


  1. Candice Stein

     /  January 13, 2012

    Ellen, You are some awesome woman. I will be following you as you move around the world. In my most serious of travel chapters, I did not sign up for the extraordinary adventures you have ahead of you. Best of luck with all. Be safe. Write often. OX, Candice

  2. Anne Cowan

     /  January 13, 2012

    Ellen, Have a wonderful time and have no regrets! Pass up nothing and look for things which will bring new adventures to your life. You have an opportunity that many of us will never have! I know you will take each new adventure in stride! Have fun. I can’t wait to follow your journey. Maybe you will be back when my husband and I are riding the Northern Tier in 2013!!!

  3. Connie

     /  January 13, 2012

    I’m wishing you safe adventures, although that may be an oxymoron. I hope to see you in the neighborhood before you take off, and I’ll be following you around the world when you get underway. I look forward to hearing news about your trip when you have time to post, and more when you get back. XOXO

  4. Sandra Timko

     /  January 13, 2012

    “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. “—St. Augustine.

  5. Janie

     /  January 13, 2012

    “When you set out on the way – the way appears.” Rumi

    Your trip will be awesome!

  6. Lee

     /  January 14, 2012

    I’ll miss seeing you in Brattleboro; but it will be wonderful to visualize you [with the help of your terrific, detailed postings] in all of those fascinating places. Hope you have an exciting, relaxed, educational and FUN adventure! Lee

  7. Bon Voyage – I will be following with gusto!

  8. Sue Wright

     /  January 25, 2012

    Hi Ellen,
    Have a great time! I’m looking forward to reading about it as you go!


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