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One Week At A Time

Just one more...

When I planned this trip out, I looked at spending around one week in each city I visited. This seemed like a good amount of time to see each city without being rushed, and not long enough that I would wear out my welcome with whoever I stayed with. It’s a great middle ground that suits getting to see a lot of places cheaply.

However, traveling places for a week at a time has a strange effect. When someone drops into town for a week, people typically expect to show them around at a fast pace, with never a dull moment as they pack every spare moment with exciting activity. Hopping from place to place, always keeping the adrenaline above a certain level, as if their life will be a failure if the pace slows down.

One thing has become apparent is that this is my life. All of it, now. I have things I need to do, like writing, learning new languages and skills, and exercise. Not to mention all of the little things it takes to keep life running smoothly while the ground beneath your feet is never the same. I want to see every city I visit, but I also need to make progress on myself. If I’m not growing and learning, I feel like I’m stagnating, and that’s not a fun place to be.

Each time I’m talking to someone that I’m planning on staying with and they say “Do you mind being on your own most of the time?” I breathe a sigh of relief. That means the rushing around will be focused into a few hours each day, and I will be able to relax into my learning and writing the rest of the day.

I enjoy the adrenaline of adventure and exploring, but I also enjoy the long conversations where you build friendship, learning new things and slowly taking the time to enjoy a new skill or good book.

Two Hendricks and Tonic

That said, let’s go over some of my latest adventures. I finished bartending training in half the time of everyone else (or less, as one girl was there for months), and I was class salutatorian. I did tend bar one night last week, and a lot of friends came out to be a great customer base. Now that I’m even better, I’m looking forward to serving up drinks in foreign countries and getting to know new regulars.

I’ve spent the last week in my little home town, hugging everyone who remembers me when I was waist high to them and helping out as much as possible. Today was a touch surreal as I helped auction off my childhood home and all of its contents in an old-fashioned talking-faster-than-you-can-listen auctioneering showdown. I documented everything thoroughly, as it is the last time I will see most of it, especially the little nook where I wrote “Chris’s Hideout” in crayon when I was 6.

This marks the second time in two months I’ve gone through huge piles of my old stuff and had to filter out the few things I wanted to keep. I’m beginning to recognize the numbness that sets in when I do that, while still catching the memories I never want to lose and the things I will never be able to replace. In a strange way, it’s the most effective prioritization of my life I’ve ever done.

Tomorrow I’m off to Seattle, and then the world. See you there!

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