Wide Awake in Wonderland

We’re only dancing on this earth for a short while

Some days I realize this may be a bad idea June 12, 2008

Filed under: Travel — wideawakeinwonderland @ 12:14 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

LATE-BREAKING NEWS: The backpack has arrived! First impressions

  • LOVE the color
  • It is small. So very, very small.
  • It scrunches my boobs a bit
  • It’s a very nice bag – high quality. NOTHING like last time. Although that delightful Army Navy store bag is long gone, I can still remember its aluminum external frame and cheap green baggage compartment. Oh, the times and the backaches we shared!
  • Flashing back sixteen years, how the hell did I manage to carry a tent, a sleeping bag, a sleep sheet, books, clothes, several worthless things I never once used (like those pills to make poisonous water drinkable. That’s a bad idea if I ever heard one), and personal effects enough for seven months!?!?

I’m feeling a little bit deflated at the sight of its smallness, so I think I’m going to procrastinate the official “trial pack” for a few days. I think the next step is to get all the clothing and shoes and other things I want to bring into one pile. Then divide it in half.

Then scrutinize and  ultimately slim by another third…and take that third. From there, it’s “project overload”: force, squeeze, roll, twist, crunch, and cram.  After the seams are breaking, and there is nary room for another atom, it’s off to get on a scale with the whole mess to make sure I’m not trying to carry more than a third of my body weight. Feeling ever dubious about the whole thing…

Speaking of which, I woke up this morning and had an idea as to how to open this paper I need to write for work. I was kind of buoyed by that since I’ve been procrastinating my @ss of on some of these writing projects. (IHMJ) Then I noticed it looked like it might be a sunny day outside (an illusion, as usual), when this overwhelming feeling of WHY THE HELL ARE YOU DOING THIS (meaning planning to take an unpaid leave and/or quit my job and backpack Europe by myself for thirteen weeks) came over me, and I felt like crap. And then I thought about this blog, and sure, it’s only been a week, but I can’t help but notice that I am essentially keeping a secret diary. Hell, I may as well start confessing some embarrassing sh*t, because no one will read it!!!!!!

I log into WordPress and the crickets start chirping…   Despair.com sells these t-shirts, “More people have read this t-shirt than my blog,” and if weren’t the equivalent of a post-it with the word “loser” on my own back, I might get one. But this too shall pass!

Moreover, since I seem to need to constantly remind myself, the reason I’m doing this all is because the job is not what I *really* want to do with my life – not even close. Things are not working out, and I feel really futile and even kind of useless. Moreover, even if they were going along swimmingly, I suspect that would serve only to mask my calling to more creative and fulfilling pursuits. As it is, I’ve already blown through my twenties and now half my thirties without listening to or heeding the siren song.

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll share with you THE BIG DREAM so that all this wavering and push and pull and moments of self-doubt become a little more clear or a little more pitiful. Whatever.




Digging up the bones

Filed under: Travel — wideawakeinwonderland @ 12:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

On my mother’s side, I have a very dedicated grandmother and first cousin once removed (a.k.a. cousin of my mother) who have traced our family lineage back to Lucy. Essentially, we’re Irish, Irish, Irish and some of us ate enough potatoes to get through the famines, find a mate, and pass on the genes. There are even some photos that have survived all this time. One in particular features my great-grandfather and great-great-uncle flanking a very large and – let’s just be frank here – rather unattractive woman. As it so happens, she is my great-great grandmother, and I’m relieved to report that I don’t really see the family resemblance. Nonetheless, it’s kind of cool to have a piece of the past – to know where you come from and who came before you.

I see a hypnotherapist, and she’s told me she’s encountered “memories” with some of her clients that indicate we have past lives. Now I’m not about to assert any factual knowledge about that, all I can say is that I, personally, have no memory of a life prior to this one. At any rate, I’ve heard it theorized that there is no reincarnation, but that we possess the memories of those that came before us in our DNA. In that sense, perhaps there’s small comfort in knowing your ancestors were farmers and millers and fishermen and not Jack the Ripper, Hitler, or the Marquis de Sade (and my apologies – and no harm intended – to anyone who may have descended from that lineage!)?

However, when it comes to my father’s side, for all I know, we may descend from Attila the Hun. My father remembers his grandparents (and their names, of course)…but the buck stops there. I recently began an effort to trace our genealogy, and it seems I come from a people that knew how to fly under the radar. I found only one Ellis Island record – that of my father’s paternal grandfather – but he lists himself as coming from a place I can’t find on any map: “Panowir”. When I do Google searches on it, only one otherEllis Island record lists someone coming from “Panowir”…EVER. Needless to say, this creates something of a roadblock.

This reminds me, during the romantic teenage years, I always held a small hope that maybe we were somehow heirs to the Austro-Hungarian fortunes of the Romanovs. Remember the story of Anastasia and her family (who could forget Rasputin – again, for all I know, he’s a great-great grandfather?) and how they never found the missing relatives? Unless I missed the update, to this date, the fortune sits in wait. If the true heirs are part of my family tree, it’s probably safe to assume we’ll never dig deep enough to figure it out!

Despite the odds, I have a couple plans up my sleeve, to dig up the bones. I would truly like to visit our “motherland” on my trip (Lithuania? This is what I’ve believed all my life, so I kind of hope it’s accurate. It’s burned on the brain, at any rate).  Both in the hopes that it would touch him, and to drum up a comrade in arms,  I sent everything I’ve found thus far to my dad with his father’s day gifts. I asked that he review all the Ellis Island imports with our family name (a dozen or less – yet considering if anyone in this country has our name, I know them personally…it makes one wonder where all the others went???) to see if anyone rings a bell. If so, I’ll research their place of origin looking for my great-grandfather.

If not, long live the Romanav fantasy!!! As I mentioned, we descend from a crafty and apparently undocumented people. Jerks! Regardless, for better or worse, I must cut this off as my Malamute is gorging upon a colander of steamed cabbage I absentmindedly left on the counter. I can only imagine the bazaar or bad smells he’ll put me through later tonight….