Update: Packs, Planes, and A Rocket Launcher!

Update #1 – The 60-Day Countdown Begins!

… Actually, it may have begun yesterday. Regardless, I’m within the two-month ballpark of my estimated departure to Portland, which is going to be (give or take a day):

August 24, 2012

I’m planning on finding a Craigslist/Zimride ride-share up to Oregon, so if you or anyone you know will be heading up around the same time and would like to grant my parents a bit of relief in knowing I am less likely to be chopped up by crazy ride-sharing psychos, please send any and all leads my way. Dankeschön!

Update #1.5A – Insanity is Insane!

I should have listened to all of the people who had tried it before me. It’s not for the weak of heart, and I’m starting to believe that I fall into this category. However, it is due to Insanity that I realized I’m within the 60 day radius of leaving California, so there was some immediate benefit. The jury’s still out on whether Day 2 is going to happen – on one hand, I don’t really need to exercise to Insanity’s ridiculous specifications in order to get the body that I want; on the other hand, I should already be able to do this stuff if I’m really in decent enough shape.

Update #1.5B is forthcoming.

Update #2 – First Big Trip-Related Purchase: the Gregory Deva 70!

After a million (read: four) trips to REI – each time with a different pack suggested – and few weeks of online research, I’ve finally settled on the Gregory Deva 70, extra-small in beautiful Seneca Rock grey.

Three years of Sociology should discourage me from pursuing name-brand products, but when it comes to selecting the single most important purchase of my trip, I’m erring on the side of consumer satisfaction. For both my size and the length of travel, there couldn’t have been a better combination than the Gregory women’s line, which features molded back supports and an adjustable extra-small waist belt (amongst other features), maximizing ease and comfort even when carrying a fully-loaded, 50-pound world on one’s spine. Many other brands either carried bags that were too small space-wise (55L seemed to be the common maximum cap) or, ironically, were too big fit-wise (Osprey, the other oft-recommended pack, doesn’t make XS adult packs anymore).

I’m taking a bit of a gamble with this one – REI doesn’t stock XS in 70L, so I’ve only physically tried on the XS 60L and the S 70L. Regardless, I ordered the XS 70L online (at a third-party supplier for $65 cheaper than the list price – sale on sale, perfect timing!). It should be arriving at my parent’s home by the end of the upcoming Monday. Adam, Krystal, and I are heading up to Yosemite in two weeks, so I’ll have a chance to load it up and see how comfortable it is in practicality .. though from reviews and the advice from the REI staff, it seems that comfort is a given. Excited!

I’ll include a full review of the pack’s durability when I actually have begun my voyage, but I should mention a important note: There’s no way to secure the pack. Locking zippers, single-entry compartments, secret pockets – none of these exist. Once I get the pack and load it up, I’m going to see whether it fits in my extra-large duffel bag, which can double as a raincover and airport check-in cover. Otherwise, I’m going to have to purchase a specific locking duffel or a PacSafe netted cage (though at nearly $100, not my preferred method).

Update #3: Yosemite! Napa! Bumbershoot!

Who said life state-side was boring? Only boring people live boring lives – and the word cloud of my personality has retired “boring” as a word ever used to describe me. (“Bizarre,” “loud,” and “talkative” are still on the list; don’t worry.) As I mentioned in my earlier post about the Perfect Saturday, things are always happening in the Bay if you open your eyes and step past your front door (a bit hypocritical on that second point, I must admit, but it’s only because I soak the world up like a sponge and get a bit overwhelmed sometimes. Might be a problem in the coming year, now that I think about it..).

Luckily, the locus of activity isn’t only centralized in the Bay – there’s a reason why California is the best state (though the Bay is a big contributor). As I hinted above, my Deva’s first big adventure is going to be a four-day trip up to gorgeous Yosemite, semi-proper backpacking style! Of course I won’t be carrying it up to Half Dome, for which Adam and I are crossing our fingers that permits will be available when we call the requisite two days earlier. Either way, Yosemite is going to be a soul-cleansing, cathartic foray into nature, surrounded by some of my closest friends in my precious final weeks here in the US of A.

Three weeks later will be a celebration you should probably mark down on your calendars now. August 4 is my 22nd birthday! I was in England/Poland for my 21st, a fairly anticlimactic celebration due to my preexisting ability to purchase alcohol in the continent. So I’m going to treat my 22nd as I would have my 21st; I’m heading to Napa for the weekend with anyone who wants to join! Everyone who I’ve mentioned this to has already said yes (because, after all, not many college students can afford to go wine-tasting without having a ton of friends to split the cost with), but I forgot who I asked, so I’ll likely be making a Facebook group and Rolodex and an annotated spreadsheet. As I said, only boring people live boring lives…

I’m considering volunteering for the following week at my favorite old haunt, Gandhi Camp, though it starts on my birthday and I’m definitely not skipping my 21st Birthday Do-Over to teach children about prudence and healthy choices. (Fuck that.) I’ll just teach them two days later, with sunglasses on around the clock to disguise my inevitable hangover and bloodshot eyes. Now that I think about it, I probably should contact the camp coordinators pretty soon.. Honestly, for all its morality and spiritual overtones, G-Camp was one of my favorite memories growing up, and I love the opportunity to head up to Olema for meditation under whispering trees and community service with cool nuns.

Two weeks later, I’ll be leaving for my journey and will finish up my West Coast reign on September 4 (approximately). Coincidentally, I will be in Seattle at the same time as Adam, whose sister organizes this awesome music and arts festival, Bumbershoot, running from September 1 – 3. Adam tried to get me to go, but I was initially thrown off by the headliners – Jane’s Addiction, Tony Bennett, and Skrillex aren’t really my speed. But like a smaller Outside Lands (which I won’t be going to, despite Terri’s insistence a month ago… though I’m slightly regretting that decision now), it’s really the supporting artists that make the show. What convinced me was the buried notice of Ana Tijoux, who I’ve mentioned before is my current obsession and female role model. The three-day pass is pretty cheap; $75 for three days of music and art is a steal. But because I’m only going to be in Seattle for a few days, I’m only going to go for the final day, which is still a reasonable $40. The rest of the time will be spent warding off depression and looking for references to Sleepless in Seattle, so I’ll have my hands full.

Update #4: There were no WMDs!

Sorry, I tricked you. There are no stories of rocket launchers in this post. But in good news, look how cute and precocious this child is!