I’m going to forget something.
Every single time I go somewhere, I forget something. It’s usually something small or redundant – something that would make my life slightly easier if I had remembered to stick the fucker in the suitcase – but usually it’s something I can live without.
There was this ONE time I forgot to pack something important. I was a senior in college and I was going out for my first grad school interview at Berkeley. I brought my suitcase to campus with me so I could do some lab work before my flight that afternoon, when I started getting that familiar prickle on the back of my neck. “You forgot something,” the prickle said. “Something important. Something you’re going to regret forgetting.” It was strong enough that I started unpacking in lab when the realization came that I had forgotten to pack any underwear. Looking at my watch in a moment of panic I thought, “It’s okay. It’s Berkeley. You’d be getting in the spirit of the place if you go commando to your interviews.” But it wound up working out in the end (home was one stop before National Airport, so I ran home, threw underwear in my suitcase and made the flight by the skin of my teeth), but to this day I’ve made packing lists. And underwear always goes in first.
So yesterday when I was driving home , stuck in the SoCal-OMG-RAIN! traffic, I had packing on my mind: organizing the errands I have to run today, making mental lists of things I need to remember to write down. I was also listening to NPR interview Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen about their new movie, The Way, and Martin was talking about pilgrimages – how you start with all of these things that you need, but you slowly drop them as you travel along the path: envy, anger, regret, etc. And it got me thinking about pilgrimages, where the journey is the destination, and that you can’t pack for both.
The difference between a destination and a journey is that with a desination, you rely on others to make the time into an experience. Whereas with a journey you have to rely on yourself – on your feet, on your rations, on your flexibility.
I could say something schmaltzy about how Viable Paradise will be both. I could try to compartmentalize the two sides of the trip and talk about what I would need to pack for each. And I might have done just that a few years ago. But, no. I’m not gonna do that. You remember how I said yesterday that I’m going to need to work on managing my expectations? Yeah. THAT.
I’m not gonna pretend that I’m going to know what it’s going to be like. And as I run through my packing list for the fourth time this morning in my head, all I know is that I need to pack for a bit of rain, a bit of cold, and a whole fuck-ton of AMAZING.
But still, there’s that nagging feeling that I’m forgetting something…