When we booked our tickets, way back in June, this trip seemed ages away. And now, there’s less than a month left. It seems surreal to think that in three short weeks my life as I know it will end—at least for a short while. Right now, to me, the daily grind is pitching stories and interviewing the random celebrity, pretending to work on my writing, endless loads of laundry, the occasional episode of House Hunters on HGTV and making often-elaborate meals for my husband, who’s been working his ass off teaching endless English classes to make up for our time off.
In the meantime, we’ve also been doing the things that make this trip seem a bit more real. Tickets. Check. Camera. Check. Backpacks. They’ll be here any second now. And we finally ordered the sleeping bag, too. But really, it’s the slow build of this website, Navdeep painstakingly learning Dreamweaver and Flash, me dictating design and writing content, that’s making it seem real. Slowly but surely, we’re getting closer. And as we add pages, we mark off another day—or four—on the calendar. And now it’s almost time to flip the page.
For three months, it’ll be just be me and Navdeep, on the road, a different city every week, lots of new tastes, people, places to explore and absorb. It’s exhilarating, but at the moment, it still seems unreal. And though I’m really excited, it’s also kind of scary.
I keep second-guessing other goals. What if this is the right time to get that script out, as studios stockpile under the threat of a long, grueling writers’ strike? What if I should have taken that job opportunity in New York a little more seriously? What about the fact that I’m going to miss several birthdays, or a big reason to celebrate that we’ve all been waiting for? I’m stepping out of my life, but it will go charging full speed ahead without me. Britney will lose custody. Lindsay will end up in prison. (Hey, these things are breaking news when you’re in the celeb content trade.) But it’s also that Meena will move to L.A., my cousin Arun will start college (oh my God!) and my brother will get a new (fulltime, with benefits!) job. Those are the things I’ll really be missing.
But there’s something more to the fear. It’s that my world will never really be the same after this. Travel changes people—Navdeep is a vivid, shining example of that. And sure, I’ve been on a plane loads of times, seen lots of exotic countries. But I’ve never really traveled. I’ve lived a very sheltered life. And I’m sort of excited to see who this new incarnation of me is going to be. But I’m also a bit sad to be leaving the old one behind.
She was hardly perfect, but we had some good times.
And it’s also the first time Navdeep and I will really travel together besides our 10-day Puebla honeymoon. We obviously have very different styles—he’s a hardcore backpacker, while I prefer all-inclusive, if possible. Do we meet in the middle? We’re sure to have cranky moments—after all, I’m only allowed to carry two pairs of flip-flops! We’ll truly be tested by this adventure—bugs and all. But no matter what, this journey is sure to bond us together even more.