I was standing in the diarrhea aisle at the CVS around the corner from Leslie's house when my phone rang.
"What?" I answered.
"They won't let me get a credit," Leslie grumbled. "Meaning I have to swap the shoes out for something else."
"Okay, well, it'll take me a while to collect all of the don't-drink-the-water medications I need for my trip so take your time," I instructed.
Leslie was quiet.
"Fine," I muttered with a hefty sigh. "I'm placing this nail buffing board and box of eye drops behind this pile of Preparation H and coming over there," I said, there being a discount clothing store located two doors down in the shopping center.
An hour later, with the credit spent and my travel meds purchased, we worked our way back to the house. A bag from CVS lingered by my feet and two newly purchased blazers lay flat across the backseat. Leslie fiddled with the radio and I tinkered with the air vents.
"Are you excited?" she asked as she settled on a Fergie song.
I let out a nervous giggle, one part excitement and one part uncertainty. I fell into a dream about hiking around Cotopaxi, the volcano and the verdant landscape engulfing me. And then I recalled the segment in my guidebook urging Quito tourists to walk only in the middle of the city streets once the sun sets to avoid being jumped by thieves lurking in doorways. I smiled big at the thought of tiptoeing across lands that are home to animals I'd never see tootling around Philadelphia. And then I thought about my decision to sidestep all suggested vaccinations, including rabies, due to a running tab in excess of a thousand dollars. With a visual of me flat on my back, foam pouring out of my mouth and a Blue Footed Boobie nibbling at my nose, Leslie asked her question again.
"Are you excited?"
"Yeah, I am, " I admitted with a grin. "I can't wait to get away for a stretch. And to add another stamp to my passport. It'll be so much fun just settling into another world for a little bit. A world of different people, amazing creatures and, well, a world without the drama that's been dominating mine."
"Here, here!" Leslie exclaimed.
And there you have it, kiddos. In just a few short hours, I'm slipping on my backpack and heading down a jetway for a Quito bound plane. I'll settle in for a few days of solo exploration before meeting up with some other people for a jaunt over to the Galapagos. The next five days will be spent bobbing on the ocean, island hopping and animal watching. Tucked into my bag is a pile of paperwork summarizing my itinerary, evidencing my international health insurance and listing emergency contact numbers. I have a tour book to point me in directions and a book with essential sentences in Spanish so I can ask how to get there. I have a stack of literature to entertain me, a journal to jot my thoughts and a snazzy new camera, courtesy of a boy in Alaska, to capture all of the things I see.
Oh. My. God.
My life fucking rocks!