I can tell it’s autumn. Being in San Diego that’s usually a difficult observation to make. The seasons just blend. But there’s this crispness in the air. And the sun is more south than in July. It’s getting dark so much sooner. And I’m getting an internal itch to start some grand adventure, see the people I love, throw on a sweater – even though it’s hot, and go for evening walks in the cool darkness – the leaves singing their last serenade as they dance to the ground – ghosts – leaf ghosts – markers of another year gone by. That’s what autumn always represents for me. I know spring is the time of rebirth, but it’s when the world starts to fall asleep that I begin to fathom everything going on around me. And this fall I have big plans. I have to make big plans. I’m getting antsy just waiting for it.
I’m going home for Christmas. I haven’t been home for Christmas in five or six years. I think it was the year after grandma died. But then I got all caught up in my own life, and Christmas, a holiday I care little for, just became unimportant. The interesting part about this Christmas though is it will be the beginning of a new era in my life. In December I’m hanging up my pull-up cord. Quitting. No more packing. No more rigging. Me – the packing machine, giving up one of my big loves of my life. It hasn’t been an easy decision to come to, and to be honest – I’m rather concerned that I will have a hard time walking away from it – it being such an enormous part of my life for the past 15 years. But I have no choice. If I keep packing and rigging I will cripple myself. Well played rheumatoid arthritis. Well played. I already have three joints on my hands that will never go back to normal – not without surgery anyway – and I’d like to be able to open a jar of pickles in the future if I want to. Nope. This hasn’t been an easy decision – so I’ve decided to bribe myself. For quitting my job I’m giving myself a travel adventure job. In January I leave to Thailand. One-way ticket. No idea where after that. Vietnam? Laos? Cambodia? Indonesia? Australia? I don’t know. But I do know that I’ve got some big things to plan, or not plan, this autumn.
I’m hoping to make money while I travel though. Looking around on the Internet I haven’t found too much in the way of service articles or many other blogs on how to go backpacking when your ankles and knees rebel with the vengeance of a million fiery suns if you work them too hard. How am I to keep up with my meds when my prescription only lasts fifty days? And what about my NSAIDS? Where will I get those when I run out? Will I be able to find ice to soothe my aches on some island in Thailand? And what about the weight of my pack? Will I honestly be able to pack light and lug this thing around with me? Will I even be able to hike? Some of these things scare me. But I know they scare almost all of us with RA. So I’m gonna write about it. And hopefully sell some of what I write.
It’s daunting to know that at any point my RA could just flare up and ruin my adventure – much as it has already made me quit my career. But I need to do this journey. The whole point is to figure out what’s next. To travel before my ankles and knees actually do turn into blazing suns. And to maybe get back into the writing game and start being a journalist again. I think I was kinda okay at that once upon a time. And I need to open my eyes. Open my heart. Open my mind to the world I’ve never seen. How am I gonna know what to do next if I haven’t seen even half of what exists? But maybe, just maybe, what’s next is waiting for me out there – I just need to get there.
So I’m taking suggestions. Of all kinds. Articles you think I should write. Places you think I should go. Things you think I need to see. People you think I need to … meet ;o) hehe. Anything you think is important or not so important. Let me know.