The Before Picture

by Andrew Stein

Ready or not, here I go. Filled with the feeling that I’m forgetting something, I end a crazy week of goodbye’s, of packing, of moving, and of wrapping up work. But now, as I sit here in Terminal 2 at LAX waiting for Air China to begin boarding, my mind is really starting to move. Usually when I’m worried about something, I can largely pinpoint what it is, and somewhat lessen that worry. Unfortunately, being worried about the unknown is a particularly hard fear to mitigate. Even when not looking that far into the future, I imagine landing in Beijing and figuring out how to get to the hostel from the airport. For this first hostel, I decided to make a reservation, get an address, and have something concrete to start my trip after landing at 5:30am in the morning, but despite all of that, it still remains unknown how I plan to get from A to B. I know that I will eventually get more comfortable with this type of task as I continue, but for now, it remains exciting.

Before Picture

I’ve packed one backpack that also fits the small day bag in my other hand. In preparing for the variation in temperatures I would experience from China to SE Asia to Nepal to Europe, I embraced the layers philosophy meaning that there are very few clothes that I packed that can’t be worn at the same time. In terms of numbers, I’m bringing 3 short sleeve and 3 long sleeve shirts, one pair of shorts, two jeans, and one synthetic pair of pants. I’ve brought 6 pairs of socks and underwear, a beanie, gloves, and hat. For jackets, I have a fleece, light down jacket, and wind/rain shell, all of which can be layered. I’ll find out soon how effective my packing really was.

Other than possibly having some more facial hair, I’m excited to see the differences between the before and after pictures from this trip, both superficially and psychologically.