For the last month or so I've started the process of clearing out my office. It has been cathartic and highly symbolic of my intent to be done with my career soon. The first pile of files were hard to let go of but today, I got rid of 1 1/2 bankers boxes worth of papers. I have plans for my books too.
In an ideal work world, I would be able to take a year's sabbatical before deciding whether I leave for good. In that way, I envy teachers who in this country can have 20% of their income held back for 5 years and then take a year off with the proceeds of their withholding and have job security a year later.
No such deal with my business nor is it entirely possible to find a replacement of me either. I kinda have to leave and hope for the best should I wish to return. I would prefer to leave knowing I do not have to come back at all. The 2 day work week is a compromise I've made with myself in lieu of a year off. Since I have caught a major travel bug, time off is really enticing right now.
As great as pictures are as a reminder of a place, I tend to remember the people I meet more because I feel I can always go back to a place but I may never see the same people again. If it weren't for D getting one of the first 3.1 MP digital camera on the market as a gift almost 7 years ago, I wouldn't have any pictures to show. My camera is a manual one and the outfit is so large I no longer wish to drag it around with me.
One advantage of travelling solo is I find I meet more people than if D and I were together. People tend to want to include singles. Also, people assume you want them to take pictures of you. I'm not a big fan of having my picture taken and it usually surprises people when I politely refuse their offer. (I already know what I look like and I'm here to see a place) The only picture with me in it was when I was horseback riding. One person joked with me and said that no one would believe I actually went to Iceland if I didn't show up in the pictures. They would think I just sent my camera on a trip!
Some fun people memories included this young guy on my first outing in Iceland whose foot got stuck in a mud pot. I couldn't help but burst out laughing at his expression when he realized his foot didn't want to follow him. There was no danger and luckily, he thought it was pretty hilarious too. And there was this other fellow who I hiked behind the waterfall with. What a great spirit he has! Turns out we went to the same university though separated by a few decades -- small world. Finally, another man who kept trying to get me to try some dried stinky fish as a snack. They have rows and rows of it for sale at convenience stores. No thanks!