Oregon is making it easy for us to leave.
For weeks now, the sun has been hidden behind a thick and low-lying layer of clouds. It’s gray, dismal, depressing. And every day, as certain as sunset, it rains.
Typical view out the window.
On the walk from my bus to the apartment last week, as a torrent of rain blew sideways, slapping at my face and soaking through my jeans, a strong and profound truth welled up inside of me: I’m ready to leave.
Just like that, the switch flipped.
I’m ready for whatever comes next.
I have six weeks of work left (Brian has seven) and it has spread like wildfire around the office that I am leaving to travel. Co-workers that I barely know approach me in the hallway or whisper in the elevator: “I’ve heard a rumor about you,” they always say.
“It’s probably true,” I answer back.
Most of my colleagues say that they are jealous or excited for me. A few recall their own adventures traveling. Two or three of them have even done the same thing. Some ask me practical questions about insurance, what we’ll do with our stuff. The older ones, mostly women, ask me what my mother thinks. The younger ones, all women, ask me if I worry that Brian and I might kill each other.
Many times, a co-worker will say that she admires what we are about to do and then lower her voice and refer to our bravery at leaving our jobs in this economy. The tone always implies that we are just a tad off our rockers. Then, said co-worker will inevitably ask me how old I am.
The rumor around the office about my upcoming life as a traveler seems to have reached epic proportions. Many colleagues, especially those that barely know my name, are under the impression that I already have a blossoming career as a travel writer and will be writing a book. I haven’t started these rumors myself, though some of my co-workers know that I have written for magazines, and about this blog, and I have answered an honest “I hope so” when asked if I’ll write a book about the experience.
Like a game of telephone, the story of my leaving warps and inflates as it’s passed from ear to ear. My legacy, I can see, will not be the work that I have done in the four years that I’ve held my position, but that I left it to fulfill a dream. I can’t think of a legacy that would make me more proud.
This is a photo of the note that I taped under my computer at work almost three years ago. It, and a tiny traveling Buddha statue that stands behind it (not pictured), has served as a shrine to my dreams.
Along with the little plastic statue of St. Joseph (who helped sell our house), traveling Buddha and this note have become my collection of beloved talismans. I plan on finding the perfect home for each of them somewhere out in the world.
Summer 2012. It has been my mantra for years and years. Summer 2012. So much hope and possibility buried behind those words.
In just a handful of weeks Summer 2012 will be now.
Exactly 50 days until departure.