When I put yesterday's fresh rounds of travel into TripIt, I saw a line that summed up my year:
You've traveled 43,660 mi to 44 locations.
I nodded, thinking to myself about the places I've been, the people I've met -- or reconnected with -- and felt profoundly grateful. I've been welcome in a lot of places over the past year, slept on a few new couches, met delightfully new recombinations of humanity. All unique, none replaceable.
Extended amounts of travel, over time, affect you. The anonymity of airports begins to rub off on you after a while. If you're not careful, your web of connections to the world at large comes at the price of feeling a little less seated in the place where you ostensibly live: when you consider where to shop, or where to order takeout from, you first reset your expectations by asking yourself what city you are in today.
I asked my calendar how long I'd be gone for the next few rounds of trips, and the answer? 36 days, total, over 3 trips. I'll be in cities I enjoy: Boston, New York, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver. Good places, good people.
I've upgraded my camera, and plan to take it on all three trips. The D80 has been sold, and replaced with a D7000, giving me better opportunities for low-light work. I've also bought an on-camera GPS unit, so I'll no longer have to wonder where my photos were taken.
My last decision is a more personal one. A few months ago, I made the painful decision to redo every bit of work I've done on Pentatonic, because I was unhappy with it. I showed it to a coworker (moment to stop and think, the conversation was in Boston) and demonstrated the problems with my technique, and even his untrained eyes could see it. I've tended to refer to this quilt, and Seven Brides, as my "masterwork" quilts, and they both deserve better than these mismatched corners and flubs.
So I started over. Ripped every seam, and have taken the sewing machine out of the equation. I began English paper piecing every piece, ripping out seams, and setting corners to rights. It is simultaneously deeply upsetting, and immensely satisfying. Was I wrong? Yes. Did I make major mistakes? Yes. Am I fixing them?
Every damn one of them.
The side benefit: Pentatonic can now be my airplane project. When I finish it -- and I will -- I want to be able to hold my head high and say, "Yes, that IS a king-sized quilt made of a Penrose tiling. Go ahead, look closer; the workmanship will get better, the closer you look."
I may be in transit. I still need to square away when I'll be in Canada. I've never had to say to myself before, "I'll get my Vancouver airfare straightened out once I get the Boston trip booked!" but some things haven't changed about me. I've been keenly aware that my travel schedule over the past year has forced me to take smaller and simpler projects while the masterworks sat, begging for time and effort.
Pentatonic, pack your bags. We're going to Boston next week.