So! Thank you all so much for not believing for a second that I would ever enter a professional hot dog eating competition. Obviously, if it had been a professional Tiramisu eating competition, it would have been a totally different story, and you all would have thought, of course, that number two was the lie (because CAN YOU BELIEVE that woman said that to me about the acne? Such rudeness does exist!) I feel I should tell you, though, that even though number four was indeed entirely untrue, and I have never in my life even been to Coney Island (though I once went to Jamaica, Queens because I got on the wrong subway and didn't notice for ages), I did once hear of a girl called Amanda Sidebottom who pronounced it Sidday-bott-tome. (I also went to school with a girl called Claire Longbottom, though she pronounced it as you would expect.)
So the truth is out! On Monday I really did quit my job! And apparently, it's Resign From Your Editing Job week in the blogging world because look who has totally copied me! I wish I could tell you that Amalah quit because she is also coming traveling in Southeast Asia with me and Sean, but I've a feeling her husband and baby might be a little offended if she did. Plus, have you seen what she looks like? With the long blonde hair and the legs? You think I'm going to be seen in a bikini on a beach in Thailand next to her?
Regardless, my Huge Life-Changing Adventure is about to begin, and here, if you are interested, are the details of it. Please excuse me if I hyperventilate between paragraphs; it's still taking a little getting used to. As of May 12, I will officially no longer have a job. (Do you want it? I can tell you who to send your resume to. Someone's got to have it, after all. And you'd totally be doing me a favor by taking it off my hands; I did say I'd try to help find my replacement.) On May 15, freshly unemployed, I'll be jetting off to London for two weeks. Because I haven't been back since Christmas 2004---and then only for ten days, at which point I hadn't been back for TWO YEARS---I am expecting lots of hugging and shrieking and also lots of shopping in Topshop and lots of drinking in pubs and lots of going to see bands and lots of sleeping on other people's sofas. (Basically, I am expecting it to be like college again, except we will all have more money and better hair. And no essays due in the morning on the postmodern female poet.)
Once I'm back from England, my dear Jemima is getting married, and I will be walking up the aisle behind her in pale gold champagne silk and, most likely, some sort of forgiving corset-like undergarment (see "lots of drinking in pubs" in previous paragraph.) Because we'll be leaving Charleston probably somewhere around June 20th, I'll have three weeks to sell my car, find someone to move into our apartment, and hopefully pick up a little freelance work between bouts of obsessive packing. (If you want to give me some, I will totally buy you a present in Topshop. Freelance work, I mean, not packing. I'm going to have enough of that.) We're going to drive the cats up to summer camp in Connecticut, where Sean's parents will be their camp counselors (though we haven't actually asked them yet, so, um, fingers crossed on that one) and then we're going to return to Charleston, rent a U-Haul, fill it up with all our stuff, get terribly drunk with all our friends one last time, and then wake up the next morning and embark upon A Rather Extensive Roadtrip.
Because although I've told you about the traveling around Southeast Asia for six months (more of which later), I haven't really told you about the end goal. And the end goal is that, when the six months of traveling are over, we won't be returning to Charleston with our tans and our dysentry-ridden bodies and our suitcases full of tie-dyed pants and other things one thinks it's a good idea to buy when one is on vacation in a foreign country. We're moving to San Francisco.
There isn't any real reason for it, other than the fact that we both love the West Coast, and we both feel like a change, and we've both visited several times, so we already know exactly where all the Trader Joe's stores are, which is useful. One might argue that moving to The Most Expensive City In The World in late December without jobs or an apartment or a car or friends or any real knowledge of the city is kind of a silly thing to do, and to those people I say: YES, IT IS. But I also say, hello, this is San Francisco, so at least the tie-dyed pants will be appropriate.
So let's back up: after driving a U-Haul across the country from Charleston to California (anyone live between here and there and want a couple of strangers sleeping on their floor for a night?), which we figure will take about a week---longer if I force us to stop so we can act out scenes from On The Road---we're going to put all our stuff into storage then fly out to Singapore. We'll spend three weeks living with my family before setting off on our adventures, malaria tablets taken, mosquito nets packed, and large, cumbersome backpacks strapped to our backs.
First we'll fly up to Hong Kong, about a three-hour flight, and stay for a few days. I lived in Hong Kong for seven years, so I'm looking forward to showing Sean my old house and my old elementary school, and also the best market in which to see a live goat with its head cut off. Then we're going to take a train to Shanghai, continue up to Beijing, and then take a train all the way down across the Chinese-Vietnamese border into Hanoi, which I'm fairly certain will be one of the more unpleasant experiences of my life. Also one of the longest. Then we're going to travel down the coast of Vietnam, into Cambodia, across into Thailand, down into Malaysia, and then across the causeway back into Singapore. We expect the whole thing to take several months.
Of course, I'm going to be blogging the whole time (are you kidding me? You can't get rid of me that easily.) And while I'll hopefully have a few stories I can try and sell to travel magazines afterwards, and Sean will have approximately seventeen million photographs, that isn't really the point of the journey. The point is that there's no other time in our lives that we'll be able to do this, and though I am terrified out of my little mind at the thought of stepping out of my comfort zone---I am contemplating having a short lie down under my desk right now just to deal with it because, after all, what are they going to do about it, FIRE ME?---it really is the right thing to do and the right time to do it. And, of course, exactly the right person to do it with.
"I cannot rest from travel ...
... All experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
... Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world."