Two more days.
This trip is rising up to meet me much faster than I thought it would. It's also accelerated incredibly in the last weekish. Yesterday I had such cold feet that I was ready to postpone or even cancel the whole deal, to keep on keeping on with the smallness and mundanity and comfortable familiarity of regular life - not only because of all the uncertainties and worries about what might go wrong, but because the prospect of everything going right - of loving the adventure so much that I didn't want to come back - was so terrifyingly tangible.
A conversation with a new friend last night helped. I'd gone to him originally for specific tips and tricks - where to go? where not to go? anything you wished you'd brought but didn't? and the other common topics you find in travel listicles - but found myself achingly saudade at the faraway look in his eyes when he talked about what he missed the most. It wasn't the volcano hikes or the ruins or the surprisingly swanky mall in the capitol city or even the stunning scenery, which he showed me in photograph after photograph of breathtaking mountain vistas and turquoise water and brightly-painted houses lining the cobbled streets. He missed the slow, smooth warmth and ease imbuing everyone's mindset and approach to every moment, and the consistently higher appreciation for human connection and a richly-lived life than for dedicated deadlines and a packed schedule.
And as I listened and watched the scene he saw beyond the windows of the coffeeshop where we sat, I remembered the invisible threads that drew together four strangers in a hostel in Galway and pulled us away from previous plans and over the gorse-covered sheep-dotted hills, down a muddy path that sucked at my shoes, through a wickedly tangled thicket of rhododendron, right up to the banks of the fjord, where we sang the sun down. My frantic mind, forever coming up with the worst possible chain of events, quieted. The excitement returned - not a manic wild light, but a deep, calm rightness to this impossible daydreamed plan.
Even more powerful is the realisation that while I hold that moment with the very best of my memories and would send myself back to that very spot in the blink of an eye if I could, it's never diminished for having ended or edged further away through the timeline of different adventures. Avoidance of meaningful experiences because you are afraid of the pain of their inevitable end kills your chickens before they're hatched.
Thanks for the metaphorical foot-warming, Morris, if you ever read this. You made more of a difference than you may have realised, and I'm enormously grateful for it.