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February 2001

Just Go

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

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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