Though I still haven't quite figured out how I'll get from Philadelphia to New York on a Friday evening while avoiding Amtrak (because I refuse to pay $54 for a one-hour trip, and I doubly refuse to pay $81 for the same trip during peak hours), and though I haven't yet tried to butter up my Auntie Paula to ferry me to Logan at 5 a.m. for my return trip to SF (A.P., if you're reading this, you're the best great aunt ever!), my itinerary for my upcoming vacation is set. It goes something like this:
  • Fly into Boston next Wednesday, where Otes will fetch me from the airport and I will (of my own volition, though the promise of wine helps) spend the next two days helping him and Sean pack for their impending move.
  • Head to the Cape on the weekend, either via Greyhound with Jonny D. on Friday night or with Paula (and the rest of New England) on Saturday morning.
  • Drive home with Mom, Dad, and Greg on Sunday night, and stay in CT until Wednesday morning, at which point I will...
  • ...fly to Pittsburgh to see Rachel, David, and adorable little Joseph for a few days.
  • Fly to Philly (alas, Southwest goes no closer to NYC) on Friday afternoon, and somehow (SEPTA? New Jersey Transit? Greyhound again?) deposit myself in downtown Manhattan.
  • Ingest as much of New York as I can before Amtrak-ing back to Boston on Sunday night for one last hurrah before the aforementioned crack-of-dawn departure on Tuesday.

It's funny: I keep describing this trip to friends and colleagues as a chance to relax, do no work, and generally lounge around. Of course, it's clearly insane: not even counting my cross-country flights, I must be spending the equivalent of a full day on various forms of mass transit, and I haven't scheduled more than three days in one place.

But I couldn't be happier. This is a vacation I feel like I need more than ever, both because I still feel like I need to keep slathering myself in some sort of balm that will help dull the effects of the various stressful events of the past half-year and because, with the exception of Amtrak's bathrooms and Logan before dawn, I love everything that awaits me: some of my best friends, some of my favorite cities, time with the family that loves me without question and without fail, the chance to pick blueberries from Twin Chimney's bushes and run the Rail Trail in Orleans in the cool of the morning and swim in the Atlantic.

And the chance, best of all, to fall asleep on thirteen cricket-soaked, open-windowed evenings with the smart of heartache, the gut-punch of financial worry, and the tug of uncertainty thousands and thousands of miles away.