Getting set

Last full day at home before I fly away for the better part of June. I am mostly packed. I have a few last wee things to pick up, lunch with a friend, and my last bass lesson until fall. Then, one last night in my own bed, and tomorrow I’m off.

It still only feels half real. Well, may 2/3 real now, having looked at my bank balance. Whatever. It’s only money, and worth nothing until you use it.

I’m looking forward to waking up each morning and saying, “Where to next?” And then watching the answer unfold through the day.

I’m looking forward to meeting new people, discovering new places, finding out more about myself along the way.

I’m going to miss my wife, just as I did last month when she was traveling through Europe with her daughter. In a different way, and to a lesser degree, I’m going to miss my cat, even if she is a needy asshole a lot of the time.

But these absences will be brief, measurable in days & weeks. That their presence bookends my journey is a sign of immeasurable good fortune.

I am incredibly lucky to have the life I have, and to be able to walk (or fly & ride) away from it for a time. Most people are not nearly so fortunate. Some may have more money, but few can really claim to be richer.

One more thing I’m looking forward to: meeting up with an old friend in Dublin, at the beginning of both our separate journeys.

Anyway, enough. For now. I’ll write more later. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Wherever that takes me.

So close

Five more nights in my own bed before I hit the road – or more correctly, the skies first and then the roads in Ireland. Just a few more days to tie up loose ends at work, visit with friends & family in town, & spend as much time as possible with Adele.

I’m nervously excited, a little anxious but mostly filled with anticipation. I’ve never traveled alone except for work. I’ve never driven or ridden on the left side of the road – well, not on purpose, anyway.

My bags are mostly packed. A few last minute decisions will be made, but I’ve got most everything I’ll need ready to go. Maps, iPad, rain gear (hopefully this will go unused), first aid kit (ditto), riding gloves…. It’s a long list. I won’t bore you with all the details.

Not to say everything has gone off without a hitch. I lost my bank card, and a replacement won’t be delivered until I’m overseas. This means carrying more cash than I’d ideally like to, although I hope to rely on credit cards for most things.

When I arrive in Dublin, I’ll get a European SIM card to use while there, which should save me about $100 on data charges.

The forecast is looking like good motorcycle weather. Dry, warm (not hot), and mostly sunny. Of course, that can change quickly, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

If anyone has recommendations for pubs in Dublin and Belfast, I’d love to hear them. Same goes for the Highlands, England from Yorkshire to Bath, and the coast of Wales, although I don’t know precisely where I’ll be stopping or when after the first few days in Ireland.

One Slip

It’s all about choices, someone will say.
As if there were a way to know ahead
Of time that I was putting my foot wrong.
It was a hot day, the first taste of summer
Weather after weeks of rain, and we went
Down to walk along the riverside. I don’t
Recall why I turned my back to the water,
Only the feeling of the bank giving way
Beneath my foot. I tried to save it, but
That only made things worse. At first I thought,
Well, this will be something we laugh about
Later, but the water was so fast, so cold,
And I needed to inhale but couldn’t quite
Get my head above water, couldn’t see
The hands reaching out too late to save me.


©  Mark Milner, 2018