Hello from Houston. Just recently, I discovered how to relax again. In the last two months I've been to Toronto and Japan and now Houston, all while wrapping up my role as the organizer of the 2005 SEDS-USA national conference. And now I'm in Houston, or if I'm hearing the locals correctly, Yewston. Then it's back to Illinois and business as usual (granted no business has been usual since I left for Mojave).
My next stop in December may be India. I'm still working that trip out, i.e. I'm waiting for my next paycheck to purchase one of the new roundtrip tickets between Chicago O'Hare and New Delhi. Why go? Most significant reason: good friends. Through my work in SEDS, I've met a few very good friends that are travelling home to visit their families, or in one case, staying at home with his family. I will be trying to visit Megha, whose home is in Ambala (north of New Delhi); Pradeep from Mumbai; and Palash from Kolkata. Perhaps I might even be able to visit Sandhya, one of the great girls I met at the Space Generation Congress--she gets bonus points for being Australian (as far as I'm concerned all Australians get bonus points for being... well... Australian).
From my Japan trip--my first trip overseas--I learned to enjoy the feeling of being lost in a place that was strange to me. Sure there were signs written in English, and many of the store owners or taxi drivers knew enough English to get my what I wanted, whether it was a coffee or a ride to the airport. It's a feeling of helplessness, almost of going backwards in time or maturity to a place where I was unsure of any of the decisions that I could make. Waiting waiting for the "a-ha!" moment when the meaning of the environment falls into place--understanding when a faux pas is about to happen and observing the situation in order to prevent it. It's a feeling where the simplest sign (that I can't read) becomes art and the conversation on the street (that I can't understand) becomes music. Travel abroad was, to me, an escape to a place where I had to learn the situation on the fly, as opposed to everyday life with its routines that I have stopped thinking about--rote, mechanical movements.
That's a major reason that I'm travelling, not just for the girls. I can use this space to discuss my plans so that they can be critiqued. Two birds with one stone: filler material for the blog and travel suggestions from the wise.