Backward glance


“Buy this ticket.”


You are in your living room, surrounded by all your cozy and familiar things, and now you’ve gone and bought a ticket that will take you hundreds of miles away to a strange and unfamiliar place for the next handful of…days?…weeks?…or in my case, months, where everything from the language to the toothpaste will be different.

This is the point of no return, and it’s surreal.

You know the trip will be amazing–more intense, beautiful, unexpected than you can imagine right now sitting in your chair. Yet, at this moment, when you have irrevocably committed but are still wrapped in the cocoon of  normal life, the notion of hurling yourself into that strange and wild landscape. Alone. With only a rough-ish plan is ridiculous and scary. Why would you do such a thing? Never mind that you’ve been dreaming about this trip for…half a lifetime. Right now, it’s a ridiculous boondoggle.

Except that you just bought the ticket. The line is drawn in the sand. You will get on the plane and, for better or worse, the adventure will begin.

Which is what I just did. Bought the ticket. I leave on the 25th.

After weeks of warm-chicken-soup life with children and grandchildren, doing a lot of



and this

Nolan-changing baby

and this

playing with Coco

playing with Coco

The sheer sweetness of it all makes it hard to leave with an unfettered spirit and without a backward glance. After all, at least one of these little beings will be unrecognizable when I come back. All kinds of things will happen while I’m gone. Life, for example.

And while life tumbles on for my personal peeps in its overwrought, one-directional way, I will, once again, become the weird, transient lady, this time with a backpack instead of a trailer. This time slaughtering the Spanish language instead of babbling away in my own.

And yet, despite my second-guesses and backward glances, encouragement comes in unexpected forms.

Today I was ticking items off the list–walk to the bank to get some documents notarized and ask about buying pesos to expedite my border crossing. Valerie was the notary. We chatted, and she asked where I was going. “From north to south in Mexico,” I said. “I’m catching all the things I missed before.”

Instead of the usual look of incomprehension, Valerie was excited. “You’re going to LOVE Guanajuato,” she said. “We drove through, and it’s the most charming town–bright colored houses on the hillsides and these tiny streets underground.”

“Make sure you see Leon,” she said.

“It’s so cool you’re doing this,” she said.

We agreed that not many people appreciate how special and amazing this kind of boots-on-the-ground travel is. How it challenges and expands your preconceptions. How really joyful it can be.

“Resorts are all the same, anywhere in the world,” she said.

“You’re going to have a great time,” she said.

And here I thought banks were the bastion of the straight-laced and buttoned-down. I left this one with a shot of confidence in myself and the world.

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8 Responses to Backward glance

  1. Joe Todd 23 November, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    Just a couple more days.. Best of luck and have a great time..

    • Kate Convissor 29 November, 2013 at 11:12 am #

      Thanks, Joe, although I HOPE it will still just be a couple more days. (See the next post.)

  2. Joanne Kuszaj 20 November, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    Kate, I’ll be looking forward to hearing about your adventure through your stories. Wishing you many blessings and happy times!


    • Kate Convissor 20 November, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

      Thanks, Joanne. I’m really stoked. I think it’ll be way cool.

  3. Valerie 20 November, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    It was so nice to meet your yesterday Kate. I am so excited for you to have this opportunity and that you are making the most of it! Enjoy your trip, and I will be following you and waiting to hear the exciting details of your adventures.

    • Kate Convissor 20 November, 2013 at 10:59 pm #

      Ha! Ditto–so glad we met. See, you just never know when you’ll be the voice of existential optimism and encouragement when someone stumbles through the door just before closing time.

      Thanks for your multi-faceted help.

  4. hoz 20 November, 2013 at 4:43 am #

    We are going to the Philippines for the winter, so I know how you feel. Enjoy yourself and have a special trip. I’ll be looking forward to your essays.

    • Kate Convissor 20 November, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

      Now THAT is very cool–and brave. is this a mission trip or something planned for longer? I’d love to hear about your experience. Any way of sharing? Will you be updating on FB at least?

      Have a truly memorable and remarkable trip.