valise

Impatience is an irritating side effect of excitement. I’ve suffered from this disease of the mind since I was little.

Let me illustrate.

Normal people begin packing for trips a few days before they leave (unless you’re my mother, the trusty frenetic, who begins packing a few hours before the plane is supposed to take off). I start packing not three, not four, not even five days, but a whole week before departure. I fidget and fluster around the house, making lists of things that I need and separating them from things I could do without. Once an item makes it into the suitcase, it remains there until I leave. Never mind that most of my underwear and my only good pair of jeans would be quarantined inside. It’s called sacrifice, dammit. In the name of travel!

This inane habit followed me into adulthood. Exactly a week ago, I began packing for my trip to Cancun. I compartmentalized my clothes, toiletries, battery chargers, bath towel, bathing suits, books, journals, iPod, camera, and passport so that each category of items was arranged in an orderly fashion. I find unusual comfort in knowing that everything necessary and important is sitting in a 2 x 3 ft. space. If a wildfire were to suddenly break out near our neighborhood, all I’d have to do is run out of the house (or jump out the window, depending on how fast the fire is spreading) with my suitcase in hand. I’d be ready for anything.

I dream of a life on the go, which is why I’ve managed to perfect my talent for packing. While some people strive for stability — salaried jobs, mortgages, good credit, a family, an early retirement, etc. — I unabashedly yearn for mobility. Once I thought that I could straddle the fine line between both worlds, but it became apparent to me earlier this year that feeling stuck in one place (whether it is an actual physical place or a state of mind) drives me to depression. I need newness. I need adventure — even if it means driving an hour out to the desert just to be in a different setting. Spare me life’s cubicles, copy machines, and tax forms! I want to be jettisoned off to the next destination and I don’t have time for (nor interest in) bureaucratic conventions!

In a matter of hours, the contents of my suitcase will be the only traces of home. My feverish impatience will break into a cool sweat as soon as I arrive in Cancun. Then, I’ll eagerly await the next affliction.

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