I’m not sure what makes me go through the same useless process every time – the inevitable sleepless night prior to an extended trip. The ritual shouldn’t be attributed to my procrastination habit; though I’m sure there are still innumerable things I must be forgetting. Neither can it be out of pure excitement – as I tend to let things hit me as they come in a calculated effort to never be overcome with some frenzied emotion, be it excitement or terror. My best guess is that the blame should be placed on a desire to squeeze every last moment out of home and its lulling comfort – in these last blessed hours, the Wizard of Oz phrase “there’s no place like home” tugs on a heart-string with a resolve that I rarely feel so acutely. But come on, I live for climbing out of the Bethesda bubble, and the Duke bubble, right?

Passport?

Check.

Underwear?

Check.

Some clear idea of what I’m getting into?

Nope.

But it’s more exciting that way. Lean into discomfort, as they say.