Here and there

I’m thinking of Bill Bryson.

He always gives a little bit of the background before he sets off on one of his adventures, and I like that sense of knowing what he’s missing back home. I picture his wife, sitting at home in the English countryside, gardening, wondering what her husband is up to. She must be used to it by now.

I like that you know what he’s leaving.

It finally feels like fall here in New York. The last gasps of summer are gurgling up from the pavement, and the humidity is stifling. The sun is still hot, but it’s OK because everyone knows it won’t be that way for long. It smells. A lot.

This summer felt exceptionally bright. There were rainy days, yes, but what I remember is the bright sun: squinting up at Arch and Illinois at McCarren pool, getting sunburned driving down Sunrise highway to the wineries on Long Island, walking to the Simpsons’ 7/11 in 90° heat. It was bright, and it was good.

Summer went fast, as it always does. One moment we were gawking atop Mount Hood in Oregon, the next we were dancing on a field with Daft Punk, the next we were saying a teary goodbye in a Brooklyn doorway.

Ahead of me lies the unknown. I want to talk to people I don’t know. I want to ride a new mountain, slide my toes into a new beach, make-out with a new guy. My red bag ‘n I will land in Melbourne to scour the streets of North Fitzroy and St. Kilda, head north to Sydney, up to Byron Bay and Brisbane, ferry to Fraser Island, sail the Whitsundays, discover the rainforest at Cape Tribulation north of Cairns, head back down, fly to New Zealand, then do it all over again in a manual van on the wrong side of the road.

I’m sitting in the airport, thinking of Bill Bryson, waiting for a flight to take me over 10,000 miles away from home, for as long as my money and means and willpower will allow.

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