Today, I held a beauty pageant for my wardrobe in order to determine which items would receive the privilege (or perhaps misfortune) of accompanying me on my road trip.
“There are eight sweaters before me,” I told my sweaters. “But I only have room in my suitcase for seven. The sweater I do not choose must immediately go back to my closet and stay there while I go on my road trip. So who stays and who goes? The sweater that fits really well, but doesn’t keep me warm? Or the sweater that isn’t as fashionable, but is made of pure wool?"
Holding beauty pageants for my clothing, with the voice of Tyra Banks in mind, is actually only one of the many peculiar activities I undertook in the past week in order to prepare for my trip. One other activity, for example, was consolidating, printing, and placing in albums the over 700-pictures on my computer from the past four or so years.
While this may seem like a strange choice of activity before embarking on a trip of this nature—there is plenty of research, reading, and shopping I could and should have been doing instead—it was, however, what I needed in order to feel ready to leave. Not only did it make sense to erase these pictures in order to make room for new ones, but I felt that I had to to contend with ex-boyfriends, ex-roommates, and ex-friends before moving forward. Before embracing my future, I needed to feel at one with my past.
I’m nervous to get out on the open road, and to face all the unknowns that lie therein. I’ve heard countless cautionary tales from friends and family—mountain lions in Texas, grizzlies in Yellowstone, serial killers in Texas, and various car-related incidents. And of course there are many loved ones I am going to miss (though Ricky and I have ensured them all that they’ll be hearing from us at least every 48 hours). But like all those who have gone west before me—unburdened by too much baggage—I’m just about ready to begin the next chapter.