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Backpacker Magazine – February 2001

Just Go

Sometimes, despite all the commitments and obligations, you know what you have to do.

by: Susan Fox Rogers

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As the day of my departure nears, the racket in my mind becomes so loud I can't concentrate. I clean the water bottles, get money out of the bank to buy food en route, put powdered lemonade in a zipper-lock bag. I'm going through the motions of leaving and it feels endless, the details, the things I have to remember. If I'm going for 1 night, why not 2?

It's finally the day I'd planned to leave and it still isn't clear what I should do. I take a nap. My partner checks the weather report online: severe thunderstorms. Another reason not to go. I wander around the house, noticing that the floors need mopping, the rug needs vacuuming. I step into the backyard and realize how many weeds have emerged. Then I go back inside and see a huge stack of paper: a manuscript that needs to be read, bills that haven't been filed in 2 months. There's no reason it all needs to be done today, but it's today that the pile and weeds are getting to me, trying to get me to stay home.

I need this trip, to take care of myself, to take a risk, to feel connected. I need to go. I need to feel isolated. I want to see no one, hear no one.

But I'm still one foot in the door, one foot out. I walk back out into the backyard to check the humidity level. High. The heat, also high.

I make a cup of tea, which will soothe and motivate me to pack. And then I sit down at my desk and think: I'll write about this first, and at the end of writing, I'll know what to do.

Susan Fox Rogers is editor of Solo: On Her Own Adventure and Another Wilderness: Notes from the New Outdoorswoman (both from Seal Press). She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

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