Lighting Out for the Territories

“But I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally, she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it.  I been there before.”

Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

 

As usual, I really should be asleep.  But there’s a load of laundry still in the dryer, and I haven’t packed yet.  We’ve got to leave for the airport in five hours.  I’m late, also as usual.  At 7:30 am Pacific time, my husband and I and our two sons will board a plane to Miami, where we will meet my father.  On Friday we will head out for Guayaquil, Ecuador where we will be joined by my sister and her family as we board the National Geographic ship Endeavor for a seven day tour of the Galapagos Islands.  My daughter is interviewing for residency programs—sadly she cannot join us.

The Galapagos was my eighty seven year old father’s idea.  As a plastic surgeon of some renown, he has traveled the world to operate, to teach, and to inspire.  But he has never been to the Galapagos, and this trip is on his “bucket list.”  Last January my husband and I traveled to Tanzania which was the trip of a life time for me, and the subject of another blog entry yet to come.  When we returned from Africa, my father said wistfully, “I have always wanted to go to the Galapagos Islands.”  I said, “Dad, you’re 86.  If not now, when?”  After less than a moment’s consideration, he agreed. So off we go to cross the equator just as 2012 becomes 2013, most assuredly a better year for all of us.

For my birthday, I bought myself a new underwater waterproof camera, a compact Canon Powershot D20 point and shoot.  As an ex-competitive swimmer, I prefer being on TOP of the water, not underneath it, but I will overcome my claustrophobia and fear of large predators against whom I have no defense in the name of art, and don that snorkel gear.   And I will be taking the Canon D60 with a moderately good telephoto lens that I bought to take to Africa last year.  All batteries are charged.  As much as I hate the grey screen of my first generation Nook (truth be told, I love “real” books—always have, always will, but I’ll sacrifice in the name of luggage weight requirements!)  I’ve got several books loaded and ready to go.  Detailed (and I do mean detailed!) instructions are written out for my house/animal sitter which include the name of every veterinarian west of the Mississippi.  I am hoping that the clothes just fall into the suitcase by themselves.

My writing may be a bit sparse for the next two weeks, but once again, as I travel, I entreat my friends to write their own stories and send them to me at mfielding@crabdiaries.com .   I do plan to have email access most of the time, and I know that most of my readers are also writers, so write on!  I can publish from afar.  And for those of you who are also travelling this time of year, Bon Voyage!