A few days ago I received confirmation of my flight itinerary for my trip to Malawi. Suddenly this Leave For Change thing has become very real. Honestly, there’s a part of me that is still wondering if this is real life, or whether I’m going to wake up from an awesome dream where I’ve been able to travel around the world for almost an entire summer, while still calling it work.
The adventure begins in roughly 60 hours when I take off from Toronto heading to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After a short 2 hour 25 minute layover, I’ll once again take to the skies on route to my final destination of Lilongwe, Malawi. Assuming the flights are all on time, I should be setting down in Lilongwe in the early afternoon. This will be my first time visiting Malawi, and my first time setting foot on the continent of Africa1. I can’t wait.
Until then, however, I find myself trying to go about my days without getting too excited, and trying to ensure I’ve done all the things that need doing before I go. Fortunately, I’ve managed to keep the excitement level mostly under control. This has been helped in part by the fact that I’ve had a crazy number of meetings over the last few weeks as I’ve tried to organize my students, finish various analyses, write several reports, draft and submit a couple of papers, draft grant applications, and complete a slew of other academic bric-a-brac. Who knew that academic bric-a-brac would help control my wanderlust?
Despite all that I’ve managed to do to keep myself distracted and with excitement in check, there are still a lot of things I’ll have to do before I finally head off to Toronto on this grand adventure. Collecting travel-ready toiletries, purchasing American cash, re-reading my Leave For Change program documents, and collecting my passport and visa from the Purolator office are only a few of the things that are still on my list. I also need to begin my 40-day regiment of once-a-day malaria pills. There’s still a mountain of documents I need to print and organize. There are sunscreen and bug repellant to pick up, laundry to do, and a kitchen to clean. And of course, I need to spend some quality time with the wee fuzzball since I’m not going to see him for a month.
Oh, and I guess I need to pack2.
Are these things enough to keep me distracted? Given that I’m smiling ear to ear thinking about Malawi and the next month, I’m going to wager no.
Honestly, if this is a dream, I hope I don’t wake up until well after the adventure ends.
1 Meaning that I will be able to say that I’ve visited 5 of the 7 continents. After Sunday, I’ll only be missing Australia, and Antarctica.
2 But we all know I’m not going to be packing until late Friday night or early Saturday morning. Given my track record, I’m betting on early Saturday morning.