Planet Earth, or Where I’m Heading This Time Next Year

I am leaving Atlanta.

In my head, I hear a faint thunk as the mic drops and I walk off the stage. In reality, it’s obviously not dramatic in the slightest, and everyone I’ve told so far has given me their not-surprised face or, at least, their not-surprised text message or not-surprised voice on the phone. Because I leave all the time.

Last year, I left five times and saw one new country and ten US states, eight of which were in the course of a 4,000+ mile roadtrip to move one of my favorite people to Portland, Oregon. (In case you’re curious, driving across the country, almost literally from sea to shining sea, in a 16-foot Ryder truck is… taxing).

Grand Isle, Louisiana
Grand Isle, Louisiana
Tikal
Tikal, Guatemala
Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon, (obviously), for the third time.

Just over two years ago, I spent three months on a 45-foot sailboat with my amazing ex-husband and three or four other brave souls, (depending on where we were). We visited six countries and sailed over 3,000 miles, most of which were covered in 22 days on the Atlantic Ocean from Gran Canaria, one of the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco, to Saint Lucia in the Caribbean Sea.

Gran Canaria
Playa de Las Canteras, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain
On the Atlantic
Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean – I say somewhere because I don’t know the exact coordinates, only that it was December 3rd, 2014, which puts us roughly 1,500 miles from the closest land mass and yes, this is about where we all jumped into the water without contemplating the possibility of sharks and no, we did not see a shark. To my great chagrin.
Saint Lucia
Rodney Bay, from Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent
On the beach at Chateaubelair, Saint Vincent. This kid. Seriously. One of the most charming young men I have ever met. I asked if I could take his picture. He said he wanted my water. Fair enough. We traded this photo for that 1.5 liter bottle that he’s holding.

I’ve visited 34 out of these 50 United States, plus Washington, D.C. I’ve been to 13 different countries, not including this one in which I live and that one in which I was born. In 42 days, I go to spend a month in Tanzania and, possibly, Kenya, where I will, amongst other things, climb Mount Kilimanjaro and turn 40 at its peak. (Quite literally, because we summit on my birthday).

Clearly, I’ve become adept at leaving this town.

But this is different.

Because when my lease on my tiny and beautiful treehouse apartment is up on April 30th of 2018, I’m leaving for good. I mean, I’ll be back to visit, of course, but I’ll be spending the next year getting rid of just about everything that I own, saving as much money as I possibly can while still having a healthy number of adventures, and deciding on the first place I will land when I jump ship.

Because what I really want is to see the world. To see as much of this planet as I can before I can’t anymore. And to write about it. And take photographs of it. And to share those words and pictures with anyone who cares to look.

So, there’s that…

P.S. The dragon, I mean, iguana, at the top of this post lives on Baradal Island in the Tobago Cays, which is part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. It’s not much bigger than my apartment building. The island, not the iguana. The iguana was about the size of a small cat and one of I-don’t-know-how-many-but-maybe-a-legion that inhabit the island. They pretty much run the place.

 

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