Thursday, October 1, 2015

Out the Door

There's always a little bit of prep to get ready to go out the door. Making sure you've got your keys, phone, wallet, maybe you need your sunglasses too. Maybe you're going to a party and need to get some food out of the fridge, or grab a sweatshirt to return to a friend. Once you've got everything you need, then you can head out the door.

Thing is, that's pretty much never how it happens for me. Here's how it usually goes for me:

I collect everything I think I need, and then start going out the door. Get out the door, and realize I don't have my apartment keys. Go back in and get them. Go back out, lock the door, realize I don't have my sunglasses. Unlock the door, go back in to get sunglasses, see a message on the computer while I'm inside, and sit down briefly to respond, get back up and grab my sunglasses on the way out the door. Get outside and lock the door, and realize I set my phone down by the computer. Unlock the door, go back inside to grab my phone, see my hat and grab it too. Get outside, lock the door, get to the car, realize I don't have the food I was supposed to bring with me...

Basically, the only time I make it out the door without locking/unlocking/locking multiple times is if I'm just walking around the corner for food or some beers.

I think this kind of pattern applies at a lot of different scales. When we leave our house or apartment, we take with the things we might need on whatever level of departure it is. Just going around the corner? Keys, wallet/purse, phone, and done. Going out for the night? Maybe you need a few more things. Going camping for the weekend? Better pack a bit more. Going to Europe for a week? Pack a bit more, and maybe do a few other things like stop your mail and clean out the fridge, etc.

Whenever we leave the safety of a place we know, we do it with a plan in mind, and prepare accordingly, based on how far we're going. At home, we have most of what we need. But as soon as we leave that safety net, we need to be prepared at some level for what we might run into while we're out. If you're just leaving the house, you only need a few things, because you can always come back quickly if you need to. Just leaving the neighborhood? A few more, but not too much. Leaving town to go camping? A bit more. Leaving the country? even more.

It feels a lot like that's what I'm doing now, for my trip - just on a much, much bigger scale. I don't just need my wallet, I need bank accounts set up in a way that will let me get money out of foreign ATM's (without risking losing too much if it gets stolen). I don't just need my phone, I need a phone that will handle foreign calls and texts. I don't just need a few shirts, I need clothes that I can wear for the next year straight.

I'm not just leaving my house to go down the street, or leaving my neighborhood to go to a friend's house, or leaving the city to go camping, or leaving the country for a short trip... it's leaving my entire life behind. Every last, little bit of it.

And so you can imagine, as someone who struggles to get out the door without making a few trips back in, I'm also struggling a bit with this departure. I'm now a week past my intended departure from Ensenada, and I'm still in San Diego doing some preparations for the trip. I came back to San Diego in between weeks of Spanish classes to do more apartment cleaning and organizing. And then came back after the class for "a few days" which is now a week.

The end is visible - within the next few days I should be headed south. But realizing the parallels between leaving my apartment and leaving the country is making me feel a little less anxious about how long it's taken me to depart. This is just part of what leaving is like for me. And since part of the entire point of this trip was to be able to do things the way I wanted to... I'm not stressing too much about the slightly later departure.

But it is approaching rapidly... only a few more things to take care of and I'm headed south within (hopefully) the next few days.

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