Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Tomorrow I head out on the start of a road trip that will last 5+ weeks. I am now "x-departure," which means I'm within 24 hours of leaving and fully focused on prepping for the trip and wrapping up as many loosed ends as possible. I'm trying to squeeze the last bit of advantage out of my resources at home (like access to files and a printer) that I'm about to do without.
I'm on the road half the time, which means I get a lot of practice at prepping for trips. Over the years I've developed routines to help make sure the right things get in the car. I have a particular location in my bedroom where I store items that need to go on the next trip (and a place where I put notes to myself about what to bring, which I review assiduously once I'm x-departure).
I love traveling. I almost always go by train (when Amtrak will get me reasonably close to my destination) or car (when Amtrak can't get the job done or I have a lot to schlepp), and that means I get to see the country, which varies incredibly by region and season. It also protects time for reflection (which I otherwise tend to give away in my busy life), allowing me to let go of what I was just doing and get ready psychically for what's coming up next.
I also love what I do when I travel. Excepting a normal amount of vacation time, most of my trips are for FIC business or process consulting (or both), with the occasional visits with friends and relatives who live near where I have business. While a 5-week trip is on the long side of normal, my itinerary this time is a fairly typical choreography, with a little of everything:

o Jan 16—make sorghum deliveries in St Louis & visit Ella Peregrine in Louisville
o Jan 17-20—process consulting with Shannon Farm in Afton VA
o Jan 21-24—visit ex-Sandhill member Ann Shrader, and Velma Kahn in Floyd County VA
o Jan 25-27—process consulting in Asheville NC
o Jan 28-30—visit with my daughter Jo, Susan Patrice, Terry O'Keefe, and Jess Mund
o Jan 31—present at East Lake Commons Cohousing in Atlanta
o Feb 1—meet with Phil & Doug at Village Media in Summertown TN
o Feb 2-3—FIC Oversight Cmtee meetings at Dunmire Hollow
o Feb 4—turn in my car at home and board the Southwest Chief for Albuquerque
o Feb 5—arrive in Albuquerque
o Feb 6—celebrate with my wife—Ma'ikwe—her 38th birthday
o Feb 7-17—prep for and deliver instruction as part of the faculty for the economic segment of the Ecovillage Design Education course
o Feb 18—date with Marjorie Wholey & Steve Polson
o Feb 19-21—visit my son Ceilee and his gravid wife Tosca (my first grandchild!) in Las Vegas
o Feb 22—take the choo-choo home

What's not to like?
The down side of this lifestyle is that I'm away from home too much. While I love what I do when I travel and understand why it's important that I do it, I miss the connections of home (both people and place) and suffer from the arrhythmia associated with having one's heart beating in so many disconnected places.
There is irony about being devoted to community, yet spending so much time with others talking about it, rather than at home living it. Still, I think the Communities Movement is better served by having administrators who live the life they promote, rather than relying on full-time professionals who used to live in community, or worse, have only visited or read about them. It needs to be alive in your belly. Community as a practice, not just a story.
So, for the next five weeks, I'll be composing posts about what duplicate bridge columnist Zeke Jabbour styles "Tales of the Trail." Stay tuned.

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