It feels rather silly to be starting a new blog, just in time for a new journey, after reading this introduction to my last online journal:

“I left my home when the sky was busting open with cold water and arrived at the “beginning” under a hot setting sun. My goal was to speak Spanish fluently by the time I returned, and my loose plans sent me south. While I wandered through jungles and beaches, fiestas and ruins, though, those plans disintegrated in the humidity and I became plankton, drifting with the wandering currents of America Central. The act of ending my journey is impossible, for what began in my mind as a “trip” has melded seamlessly into life at large. So, when someday you mention my travels as if they’re over, I will smile and remind you that the soles of these feet can never be worn through. I figure I might as well use them.”

Somehow, this “life at large” has seamlessly eddied into an experience more settled, secure, and in some ways stagnant than any other in my adult life.  Though the soles of my feet constantly tread new ground, it’s become harder and harder to appreciate life’s fullest possibilities here in my home town.  No, there is no need to travel to find peace or satisfaction.  Yes, wilderness and adventure await in every sidewalk crack to an active, curious mind.  I can be happy and feel at home anywhere, so why not just stay?

I think you already know the answer.

I will never speak English perfectly, and I doubt I’ll master Spanish, but immersion is my only hope.  I will not know a place, and its relationship to my homelands, unless I go there.  I cannot know humanity without sharing my life with people vastly different from myself.  Something happens to my brain– something very exhausting, but very good– when I plop myself in the unfamiliar.  It flexes and bends with every doubt and insight, reconfiguring itself to be more adaptable and anticipatory.  When I enter new, uncomfortable situations, I am forced to constantly revise my understanding of the world.  I want that revision, now.

What will this corner of the globe have to say about life?  I leave from the Portland airport at 6:25 am on Wednesday, January 5.  I arrive in Quito, Ecuador at 10:12 pm that night, and I have exactly 140 days to attempt an answer to that question.