About Face

Hello
from in-between!

WOW. Two
weeks. Feels like two minutes and two years at the same time. I’d planned on
posting little dispatches during my two week hiatus in civilization but I
learned something about myself during this fortnight. Number one: sometimes
living life is far more rewarding than writing about it. Number two: I suck at
time management. (This will come as no surprise to my family, who used to tell
me events were an hour earlier than they actually were just to ensure I wasn’t
late to arrive).

Over the
next few weeks, I’ll share some tidbits from my travels but tonight, as I wait
in the always-charming Los Angeles Airport (aka “Hell”) for leg two of my
journey, I’d like to tell you more about those lessons I spoke of in the
opening paragraph and also share a few of my more notable observations.

Technology
inspires mixed feelings in me. As a traveler and a resident of far away places,
I have nothing but good things to say about the phenomenon of email. I can be
sitting on my bed in Aitutaki, sending messages in real time to Beckster in
Nelson, while she communicates with the Ripster via satellite phone on Mount
Everest – how crazy is that? One of the hardest aspects of nomadic living is
constantly leaving behind people you love. The blow is softened, however, with
the ability to communicate quickly, frequently, and cheaply via the internet.
You get used to it, you learn how to be efficient with your e-time and pack as
much information into correspondences as possible. And the beauty of writing is
you can edit, distilling your thoughts down to the perfect sentence, paragraph
or page. One could argue that face time is almost irrelevant these days.

One
could argue that but I won’t.

Email
works as the best option to keep in touch from a long distance but nothing can
ever substitute for seeing someone in person, observing the nuances of gesture
and speech. Eyes that tear up when speaking of loss or hurt; real laughter,
from the gut instead of a smiley faced emoticon; the thousands of quirks and idiosyncrasies
of our speech that have no written equivalent; the smell of skin; the warmth of
a hug; words we speak silently that are understood nevertheless; words on the
screen can never replace these.

In
person, without the power to select, copy, paste, and/or delete,
we are perhaps not as eloquent or witty as we can be online but I like that.
There’s something about being raw, about throwing yourself before someone –
imperfections and all – that injects even the most mundane conversation with a
sense of excitement and forces us to think on our feet.

I didn’t
realize how much I missed the physical contact with loved ones, how much I
longed to engage more than one sense. In two weeks, I have laughed so hard, and
so often, my jaw may never properly heal. Isn’t that fantastic?!

The down
side of physical contact, particularly during the onslaught of flu season, is
exposure to the multitude of toxic microbes floating around. How shocking it
was to be around so many people hacking and coughing all at once! I armed
myself with my bottle of Bee Propolis, which tastes almost as bad as noni juice
(see: mixture of shit and vomit) but works like a hot damn if started early
enough. Each morning and evening I downed eight drops of the disgusting, brown
liquid, brandishing the bottle like Van Helsing heading out to the graveyard to
hunt vampires. Thus far, despite an unhealthy amount of sleep deprivation, I
seem to have avoided being bitten. Keep those fingers crossed and that string
of garlic around your neck!

Speaking
of sleep deprivation brings me to my second big revelation, my pitiful time
management skills. In a typical “eyes bigger than my stomach” scenario, I set
out from The Rock with big plans to see everyone and their dog, (it was weird
and good to see dogs again, FYI), eat every type of food I’ve been craving, and
participate in every activity I was hankering to do, in less than fourteen days
in civilization. Mission not entirely accomplished.

Oh yes,
I saw a lot of people, ate a lot of snacks, and did a lot of stuff but it
almost wiped me out. If I had to do it all over again, I think I would have
stayed in one place and sent out an invitation for anyone who wanted to come to
me. This would, undoubtedly, have meant missing out on seeing a few much-missed
faces but the visits I did have would have been longer, more relaxing,
and likely more enjoyable for all. As it was, I spent a good chunk of time
driving. I’m not complaining about the driving, it’s kind of a novelty to have
more than one road and new scenery and to sing along to the radio without
everyone hearing you, but I’d far rather have forgone the miles for more
chatting time.

But
don’t get me wrong here, I had a freaking awesome trip!! Everyone spoiled me
beyond rotten. From my arrival at the Roney’s late Sunday night complete with
steak dinner and a cold apple cider, to my stay at the Kozak mansion complete
with custom-made martinis (the Steeny-tini, as it is known), to a quickie
gambling junket south of the border with Dad and Big Sis, to Mom Nancy’s
homegrown dinner and blackberry wine, and much more, I was given the royal
treatment at every port of call. Gosh, it’s almost possible to believe I really
am a princess! A billion…no a gazillion thank you’s to everyone!
I’ve said it before and I’ll just keep on saying it: I am a very, very, very
lucky girl.

I’ll
give you more details and do better justice to my multitude of hosts later but
I can’t let another minute go by without expressing my profound gratitude for
the top notch people I am fortunate enough to have in my life. You guys
rock!!!!

What
other big revelations are there to tell you? Lots. But I think what really
struck me was just how much I’ve changed in one year. For the better, I hope.
Sure, I did my part to keep Canada’s economy stimulated but most of what I
bought was either a necessity (underwear) or a treat for poor Prez who was left
behind to work his tail off while I jetsetted around the world. (You’re the
best, baby!) The truth is I don’t need very much anymore. Well, perhaps that is
not strictly true. I don’t need very many material things anymore. I suspect I
never did need as much as I thought I did. I don’t know how many times I’d pick
up an item, put it in my shopping basket, look at it again, shrug my shoulders
and think, “Nah, I can live without that”, then put it back on the shelf. My
brain has secretly been re-categorizing hundreds of items from “Necessity” to
“Luxury” without me even realizing it.

Chocolate,
however, remains firmly in the Necessity column.

Well, I
think I’m going to treat myself to one last cocktail before I take my blue pill
(the one that says “Do not take with alcohol” – they all say that) and get
ready to sleep my way across the Pacific Ocean. I likely won’t post this until
I arrive in Rarotonga, or possibly Aitutaki, where one very special face is
waiting to give my face a big, wet kiss. How I miss you my Prez! It’s been a
trip to remember but, in the end, there really is no place like home.

Until
the next post, I hope this finds you healthy, happy and lovin’ life!

The
Princess
p.s. I arrived home to a spotlessly clean house and floor! Prez rocks!!!!!

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