Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Mapping – John Calvi September 2010

I’ve a box full of maps. Going through the box to find maps I might use, I find odd sorts of things. Here are 5 postcards bought in Spain and one written out to me but unsent- Marshall had some work in Salamanca Spain. And there’s a map of the solar system- now that’s a hell of a drive. Mostly it’s state maps and various beach towns- vacation to me generally means beach. But these are mainly maps from work. Here’s a Denver/Boulder map from when I was in Massage School in the early 80’s. Here’s a map of Costa Rica from that international torture conference in 88. And under it all are old notices of the ferry schedules across Lake Champlain, Vermont to New York, from several years.

When I teach in a city I haven’t been to before, I try to get a map and keep it. I’ve always loved maps. Some parts travel worry me, but as soon as a map is laid out in front of me I get a familiar itch to just go. Buying the new Rand McNally road atlas each year is a delight I cherish. I love driving to new places, seeing new landscapes. Since I’ve been in cozy little New England most of my life, almost everywhere else looks and feels different. This time I will drive a northern route across country I’ve never seen, including the Badlands and Eastern Oregon.

I am packing for a 33 day trip driving through 22 states, almost 8,000 miles. I’m teaching in 5 states, 6 cities. I’m looking over maps and making lists of things to bring, things to get, things to do before leaving in one week. I haven’t been away for a whole month in years and years. Do I own enough underwear? Will packing 3 suitcases for 5 days each make it easier? Is there enough music in the car to carry me through the long mid-west twice? Will there be snow in Idaho? Will there be sandstorms in Arizona? Will my 4 year old car be patient with me and show mercy? Do I have the names, phone numbers, and addresses for each of the 21 stops I’m making? Where am I staying in ID? Where’s the meetinghouse in Albuquerque? And what time do I begin in Missoula?

I want to do a bit of blogging each day and let people know how the trip is going. I may not have internet access each day but often enough to give some feel for what’s happening. I am just now beginning to get away from the computer and stacking things in piles to put in the car. I’ve one more laundry to do, plus some things at the cleaners, and most importantly my mechanic is doing a special check on everything to help my Saab cross the Rockies, go down the west coast, and brave the Southwest deserts before returning to quaint little Putney, VT. I am thinking that the hard part will be the too little time to linger and enjoy a new setting, but rather charge on in a schedule created to get much done in several places. Some day I will do a similar route with more time and Marshall by my side, I hope. (He will be working in Korea much of the time I am gone.)

For now I am cleaning my desks to be sure I haven’t misplace a vital cell phone number for California. And that’s all before my favorite part of travel- choosing luggage. Oh dear, no matter what I do, some weirdness leaks out.