Over the past few months, people have asked me what I’m packing for 90 days abroad. I’ve joked that my backpack will consist of three tee shirts, two pairs of pants, a sweater, sneakers, a dress, a pair of Manolos and those daily necessities for life abroad.
That has dramatically changed in the last 48 hours. Not that I will be quadrupling my quantity, or roaming the lands with only a toothbrush, but I’m no longer stuck on squirreling away clothing or Cipro, but on bringing the incredible relationships, love and support that surround me every day.
I don’t need a backpack for the inscribed box of challenges lovingly crafted, hand-written, designed and organized by the amazing Anne, nor for the cards of thought- and laughter- provoking activities penned by you, my brilliant and mischievous friends. Not for the feeling of my cheeks hurting from smiling for hours on end as 30 of us belted out Carly Rae Jenson, nor for my awe at the rigor and creativity of Anne’s party planning. Not for the tears of joy that streamed down my face when my parents surprised me with a weekend visit all the way from Florida. Nor for the hours that Christine spent with Blair and me, mapping our adventure to India and penning down the names and numbers of friends in the region. Not for the hugs and jokes in the office, nor for the satisfaction of putting on an out-of-office message for the next three months. Not even for Barnum’s wiggles and woofs that get me out of bed each morning (although I do wish he would fit in my carry on.) I’ve got a pocket for the lucky marble from Margot, my best friend from age 5, and for the prized memento that Peter has trusted me to carry around the world. And what would I do without Cecily’s Febreeze-To-Go… especially if I decide to live the life less backpacked?
All this to say, I love you all. I’m lost without you. I adore and admire every one of you, my dear friends near and far. I’m humbled and amazed by you on a daily basis. You all are the most important item that I will pack.