A few days ago we started our trip around the world. We packed what wasn't already boxed-up, filled a rolling duffle and got onto a succession of airplanes heading west. It wasn't, really, until we crossed the International Dateline - the magical, invisible place in the middle of the Pacific - that it struck me: We were, and would be, so far from home. In an instant, today became halfway through tomorrow, and I found myself giddy. Jeff slept quietly beside me and I wormholed my way into Tuesday at 900 km an hour. The idea that Monday, February 4th, 2013 was a day we opted out of both terrified and exhilarated me.
And then, almost suddenly, though all those hours later, we were down around the bottom part of a globe. Like, so far down and around that you have to pick it up off the table to get a proper look. It's a place you don't learn about in elementary school, just a wayward eyebrow, cocked cheerfully, down under.
Planning a trip like this is tricky. So many months equal many, many days. Many hours to fill with things that are fun! and exciting! and incredible! There's a certain pressure to do and see everything, to make every second count. But we got quite clear on that right away: We would not do and see everything. Could not. Perhaps don't even want to.
But then, "adventurous" is not a word often used to describe me. When people suggest I get out of my comfort zone, I want to shout: "I was on an airplane in the stratosphere for 16 hours straight! That's crazy!" I don't need to spelunk or skydive; my heart randomly accelerates on its own, thank you very much. Jeff, on the other hand, is up for anything. He'll rewire a light without even shutting down the breaker! But on this we are the same: Sometimes walking on a beach at dusk on that part of a globe you have to pick up to see is adventure enough.
This trip will include many new experiences, big and small. Departures both literal and figurative. But, while there will be many firsts on this adventure, today is the very last time I'll be this person, bound to be something different upon our return.
(New Zealand, as seen from the airplane upon our arrival.)
LOCATION: Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
DATE AND TIME: Friday, February 8, 2013 8:00AM NZST/Thursday, February 7, 2013 2:00PM EST