January 5,

Five days into the New Year….I’m still writing.  That’s a record.  Today has been a cold, wet, rainy Saturday.  It could be a day for reflection…or for just totally chilling out.  In my case, it turned out to be a day for packing.

I confess…I’m the type that packs in advance.  I also plan.   I arrive at airports extra early.  I double and triple check the logistics.  I make backups of my backups for my lectures.  I sweat the details in advance.  It works for me.  And I worry less when it comes time to travel knowing I have prepared.

So today, I prepared by packing.  It is only a week early.  I packed with greater confidence with one earlier lecture cruise under my belt.  I know what folks wear during the days.  What they wear a dinner.  What the formal nights are like.  The excursions.  And I have a good idea of what to expect when wandering around New Zealand, which we will do for a week.

We’ll be gone for a month.  We’ll each  take a big bag and a medium bag and our carryons.  And we’ll fit it all into our shipboard stateroom and still be able to move.  After the trial pack, I’m good to go and have 15# to spare.  Not sure that we’ll acquire all the much on our wanderings but if so, we’re ready.

Also primed and ready to go are the camera and the big lens…the binoculars and bird books (the Pacific Islands and New Zealand are new ground for us).  All good to go.  We haven’t birded in a while…it will be fun to find some new species.

The packing wasn’t just about packing.  It was another healthy distraction from the news.  It helped to keep me from dwelling on the sheer idiocy of what is going on around us.  I’ve seen the nation I served for most of my adult life increasingly divided and put at risk by the clown convention that has taken up residence in DC.

Did I say that I was going to be on the road for a month?  The convention may still be in town when I return but a month in the Pacific with limited attention to news and the beltway bickering might be just the break that’s needed.

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