This is it.
(Cue the theme to "Rocky". Or "9 to 5". Or both.)
4 weeks from today, I'm flying back to Japan for a month.
No more messing around. It's time to cut out the b.s. and get busy. I want to do this right.
While I haven't had a chance to get into it lately, I'm really excited about this trip. After 2 years, I finally get to go back to Japan. I'm dying to see how much things have changed (particularly at work) and I'm really looking forward to visiting some old friends and coworkers, popping by my old neighborhood, hopefully even stopping back by the elementary school to see if any of my old students from the after-school program where I volunteered are still there.
Oh! And, hot springs! I can finally soak in a hot spring again! And I can do all of those little side trips I'd been meaning to do when I lived there but never got around to. It's going to be wonderful.
But, because I can't keep things simple and because I seem to be a glutton for punishment, I want this trip to be more than just a vacation.
SO much more.
First and foremost, I want to use this trip as a chance to fill in all of the blanks and answer any questions that have appeared while writing the first draft of my book. (What was the name of that train station? Which stage assistant was that? Why, again, am I trying to write a book?)
Also, I'm really hoping to find the right ending for my book. At the moment, the ending is a bit of a downer. [But a fitting and hopeful conclusion to a remarkable character arc of mythic proportions, my dear potential editors and publishers!]
So, in order to make sure I'm getting all of the answers I need, I must figure out the rest of the questions. That means it's time to get all of my old notes, photos, audio files and emails sorted, processed and archived for easy access. Time to polish off some nearly-finished chapters and articles. Time to get organized. I've been needing a good deadline to get me motivated and now I've got a great one.
Another thing I want to do on this trip is attempt to write from the road. At the moment, a lot of the stuff I'm writing is about things that happened years ago. So, to remind myself of what I was thinking at the time and how I felt, I have to go back and reread journals and old emails, look at pictures, etc. It's time consuming.
But the things I'm finding easiest to recreate are based on notes that were written when I actually took the time to sit down and to do a rough draft of a story right after an event occurred, while everything was still fresh. Makes sense, right?
So, I want to practice doing more of that. Work on taking this process of translating an experience and a handful of photos into a polished article and whittle it down from taking several months to a matter of days or hours. Ideally, I'd like to take pictures and notes in the morning, upload and process them in the evening and have them posted before bedtime. I don't have to do this every day, but a few times would be nice. Just to see if I can.
In order to do this, I want to get mobile. I've made giant leaps with the blog but I want to do more. I want to build a site dedicated to just my photography. I'd also like to set up online storage for my writing and my pictures so I don't have to lug around folders and hard drives and DVDs. I also want to get the smaller of my laptops cleaned up and streamlined for travel. I also want to do more electronic submissions to magazines. And, I want a pony.
As for this blog, I'm going to try and finish up a few old posts that I started but just haven't gotten around to hitting the "publish" button on. Word of warning, I'm not sure how many new posts I'll be doing in the next few weeks. They may be few and far between. They may take on an organizational theme. They may be nostalgic. They may be longwinded and boring (like this post). They may be nonexistent. We'll see.
The good news is, once I get this blog updated, I can finally send it out to all of my friends and family who, along with basic grooming habits, I've started to neglect.
Oh, and I also want to get in crazy good shape. Even thought I'm arriving just past the end of the official climbing season, I want to tackle Mt. Fuji again. (My first and only other attempt resulted in me summiting the mountain just before sunrise only to be greeted with a nice view of the inside of a cloud.) Another reason for wanting to get in shape is well, you know... the ladies. I've got to look good for my public. (Cue "Let's Get It On". Or "9 to 5.")
But, the most important thing I can do over the next few weeks is continue to delude myself into believing that all of this is possible - despite the fact previous attempts at such massive life changes before a large trip failed spectacularly - and that I'm not just setting myself up for a huge letdown and a massive pain in the ass.
Wish me luck!