So over the weekend, a good friend and I went up in a hot air balloon. It was a lot of fun, and the whole time this song was running through my head:

It wasn’t boring, but neither was it exhilarating. It was very much like being on the ground, except that I had to hold onto my cell phone quite a bit tighter while taking pictures. There isn’t a lot of movement sensation (and being crammed in with 24 of your closest friends, not a lot of movement period), but I did enjoy it. It just didn’t give me the thing I needed.

You know. The thing. That amorphous thing that I lose when tragedy strikes that I have to then go out and find again. After my most recent breakup, for example, I spent an entire day driving up through Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Since I was alone, I didn’t have to see Old Faithful again, so I was able to see a whole half of the park I had never seen before. (I also saw a grizzly bear! From a very reasonable distance, because even when distraught, I’m not a fool.) Also after that breakup, I went skydiving. (What can I say? It just seemed like time to jump out of a plane.)

I don’t only do these sorts of things when I’m having some kind of crisis, but they’re things I like to do, and they often take away some of what I can only really describe as angry adrenaline. It’s definitely not proper adrenaline, but it often fuels me until I get rid of it.

When tragedy strikes, I need to do something that gets me away from it. I already know, however, that no matter what I do, I won’t be able to get away from this. Mom’s absence is everywhere, because her presence was everywhere. I would text her the things I was doing, I would call and tell her about my adventures, she would tell me that women shouldn’t travel alone and I was being reckless (but since I was going to do it anyway, please please please be careful). She was always with me, and now she’s not. No matter what I do, where I go, she won’t be there. Her absence is all I’ll find.

Still, I have to do something.

I didn’t get the executive director job I was hoping for, so that frees up my time after this contract job I’m working now is over. My cousins were telling me about this workaway thing, where you travel to a far away place and you work somewhere for room and board. I’m thinking about maybe South America or Africa (or Oceania?), and I might do it for a month or two just to get my head back together. I’m also planning some kind of solo backpacking trip. Either the Cascades or part of the Pacific Crest Trail. Maybe Mount Rainier. Hell, maybe all of the above. I guess we’ll see.

First I have to get back to Seattle and unpack my apartment.

 

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