My parents came out to Rochester to help me move all of my stuff out of my apartment over the weekend. Other than my TV falling off the flatbed cart and probably breaking, everything went fine. The last few nights, I've been sleeping on my floor with no entertainment besides the Internet and a small alarm clock radio to keep me company. The lack of stuff to do is a good thing, though, because I need to do some serious cleaning.
I admit, I'm not a very clean person. I've only lived in this apartment for a year, yet it has already become fairly dirty. In fact, I have a friend who was so appalled by the mere sight of my bathroom that she made it her personal mission to return and clean it to her high standards. She did a great job, but there was still a lot more left for me to do. I'm not a big fan of dusting or vacuuming, but I do understand that it's common courtesy to leave a residence neat and clean for the next occupants. Unfortunately, I found out this weekend that I don't live in just any apartment complex.
Besides the normal stuff I would clean before moving out, my roommate and I were given a huge checklist of things that will be inspected with a white glove upon our departure. Who in their right mind is going to clean the tops of their kitchen cupboards, the inside of their fuse box, or the outside of their screen windows? Yet these were all requirements given to us if we wanted to get our security deposit back. To make matters worse, after talking with some of the employees at this apartment complex, it seems that nobody gets out of here without being charged for some ridiculous cleaning that nobody cares about. I guess we'll see about that. My roommate can be a real tough negotiator, and I think he's going to fight any bullshit charges with the apartment manager to the end, simply based on principal. I can't wait until I have to show up at court for our $30 lawsuit. Well, that's enough ranting for now; I need to get back to washing the insides of my smoke detectors.
I finally bought my plane tickets tonight. I'll be leaving from Chicago on September 28 and arriving in Lima, Peru the following day. Mark your calendars.
Another monkey is off my back. Only three more to go: moving out of my apartment, finishing work, and making sure the rest of my miscellaneous things (money, gear, destination plans, etc) are in order. It's a little bit scary buying a non-refundable ticket for over a month from now where I'll be gone for at least a year, but what's done is done, and this is happening for real. Now I can spend another sleepless night thinking about my trip.
For the last few days, I've been going through all of my old stuff and deciding what to keep, what to sell, and what to give away. Most of it is old junk I haven't used in years, but it still is hard for me to get rid of my possessions. Buddhists believe that possessions are the cause of all that is evil in this world, but I'm still having trouble letting go. I know my old bowling ball doesn't fit my fingers very well; I know I haven't picked it up in at least five years; I know I wouldn't have even noticed if somebody had taken it away when I wasn't looking. Despite all of these facts, it still is difficult for me to part with something that has been with me for over a decade. My clothes, my tapes, and even my shoes have become a part of me over the years. So many memories are tied into this â"junk," and they're not even the pictures and souvenirs that carry real sentimental value.
I know I could probably keep a lot of this stuff. I could let my possessions accumulate throughout my life. I could haul them from apartment to apartment, house to house, till the day I die. I could do that, but I'm determined not to. I'm trying to cleanse my soul. I only hope my bowling ball makes some kid happy someday. And I hope his name is "Dan," too, because if it isn't, then having a "Dan" bowling ball would be really weird.
Last night I got my prescriptions filled at the local pharmacy. I was given a 3-week trial of Mefloquine for malaria to see if I would have any major side effects before I got a full year's supply. The good thing about that particular drug is that you only have to take it once per week. The bad thing is that it makes you freak out in your sleep. I really wanted to try it to see what kind of trip I could go on in my sleep, so I took the first one last night. It tasted really bad going down, but later on in the night, I would be left with an even worse taste in my mouth.
I had a dream that I was interviewing Hillary Clinton, but we were in a car, and she was driving. She kept driving past gardens and forests and nearly killed a cute little bunny rabbit. I wanted to get to doing the actual interview because I had a lot of serious questions to ask her, but we couldn't stop laughing at all of the hilarity that surrounded us. I never really figured out what that hilarity was, but I'm sure it was there somewhere. At one point, she drove past a Mexican and said to him in Spanish, "I hope you'll vote for me," and he said back, "Of course!" But then I got to thinking, no wonder Democrats are doing so lousy in presidential elections: they're only trying to win one vote at a time! What a stupid dream. I was hoping to dream about worms that sounded like sheep and cats and dogs getting along, but instead I had to dream about Hillary Clinton, and not even in sexual way. What a rip off.
So much is going on in my life it's getting tough to handle. The highs and lows of planning my trip are incredible. Tonight I attempted to add a new module to my website so I could have a bulletin board of some sort for visitors to leave comments. It seemed like a harmless enough thing to try to do, but I should have remembered that nothing is as easy as it seems with computers. The script I was using to add the module had a bug that caused it to get rejected. When I tried to go to my main website, I got an error. That really made me freak out because I thought I had killed everything. I back this website up from time to time, but I haven't done so in a few weeks, and I've added a lot of stuff since then. All was not lost, however. I just had to log into mysql (my database) and create the tables that were needed manually. This eventually worked, but not before two hours of heavy panicking. I hope this type of thing doesn't happen when I'm on the road, but I have a feeling it will. Maybe I'll at least have most of the kinks like this one worked out before I leave, but a website crash is still among my biggest fears concerning my trip, as silly as it may seem.
On a good note, I finally found my prescriptions. A few months ago, I was given prescriptions for Mefloquine and Cipro, but I lost them shortly thereafter. I do stupid things like that all the time. I've even been known to search for a pen for several minutes before realizing that it's in my hand. Anyway, I was going through my filing cabinet to get some paperwork for my trip in order, and I ran into the prescriptions. They were in a folder titled "Company Info," which I haven't used in years. I have no idea why I would've put them there of all places. Oh well. Despite wasting several hours on my search, at least now I can expose myself to malaria and diarrhea all I want without worrying about any consequences. Mosquito burrito anyone? Now if only I could remember where I put those Ginko pills, I'd be all set.
I have a lot of stuff to do, but I think things are going well so far for me. This website seems to be holding up, other than the aforementioned problem (which I'll avoid running into again at all costs), and I am getting a lot more visitors. I'm still not sure if I'll be able to handle the load when I give word of this website out to the travel community on the Internet, but I feel that I owe them for all of the information they have given me. It always helps to have a few people with similar lifestyles to get advice from (no I'm not the first person to take a trip like this one).
There are lots more ups and downs that I'll probably write about in the coming weeks before my trip. Someday, I'd like to put together a checklist of sorts to give to people who want to take a trip like mine. But for now I'll concentrate on getting a somewhat good night's sleep.
I put in my letter of resignation today. My last day will be September 9, 2005. It actually wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be for me or my company. Nobody is taking this personally. Everyone seems to understand why I want to travel, which I really appreciate. It's not easy to make a huge change in your life without some support.
For the next month, I'm sure I'll do a lot of reflecting back on my corporate career. In some ways, the last five years have flown by, but in others, it seems like I've been here forever. Time has a funny way of doing that.
I'm getting really excited about my trip. It was just a distant dream when I starting thinking about it, but now it is becoming a reality. I'm sure it will be a positive experience for me, and I hope you get to live vicariously through me for a little bit. Maybe you'll even get the travel bug and I'll be reading your blog in a year!
I finally got my site online. It was actually pretty easy to do. I just had to move my computers to my uncle's basement where they won't be blocked by his ISP. Now anybody can read about my trip. I hope this test period goes well because I'm not sure what kind of bandwidth is actually required to host a website like this. It seems to be going well so far, though, and hopefully I'll get all of the kinks worked out before I leave.