Leaving on a jet plane…

I’m excited and terrified to say that I’ve finally given in. I’m hitting the road. I’m going to live the range life, if you will.

On April 21, my dad and I will fly from Boston to St. Petersburg, Russia. He’s always wanted to visit the Hermitage, and I’ve always wanted to see Russia’s center of art, architecture and poetry.

A week later dad will fly back to Boston, and my nomadic experiment begins. The idea is simple – almost naive: to see the world. I won’t have a fixed itinerary. I’ll support myself by writing articles and whatnot, as a divemaster when I can, or, if necessary, by doing whatever odd jobs come my way.

This seems like a good moment to announce that anyone who even mentions Eat Pray Love will be kicked off this blog. I mean it. I’ve had enough of people trying to foist that book on me. I am not trying to effing find myself. I’m being myself. Big, big difference.

You might be asking: Am I insane? Well, this is the craziest thing I’ve done since Feb ’96,when I moved to Budapest on a whim. I managed to convince Mike Simon, an expat Ohioan I had met only once, to hire me for his kooky little Budapest-based internet startup. I had no real technical skills. Other than Mike, I knew no one in Hungary. I didn’t speak the language. I was so broke that I had to pay my first month’s rent on a credit card. I had no idea what would happen.

None of this mattered. To say that I “decided” to move to Budapest doesn’t capture the reality of the situation. It’s like saying I “decided” to obey the laws of gravity. Back in ’96 there was no question in my mind that Budapest was the only option for my life. It was inevitable and unavoidable. I feel the same way now.

(I can only hope that this new adventure turns out half as well. As many of you know, Budapest still feels like home to me – more than any other place I’ve been, including New York.)

Yes, I’m giving up my apartment in New York. I’ll sell, throw out or give away most stuff. Anything else’ll go into storage.

No, I don’t know when I’ll be back. Unless disaster strikes, it’ll be at least a year – probably much longer and possibly “forever.” It all depends on what happens.

Yes, I hope you will come visit me wherever I am – I’ll post my travel plans regularly. My initial plan after leaving St. Pete is to jump on the Trans-Siberian in Moscow and head east. I’ll to go to the Lake Baikal area in eastern Siberia, Vladivostok, Mongolia, and then China for the eclipse on July 22. After that…who knows? Probably Vietnam/Laos/Malaysia, but we’ll see.

Wish me luck!

PS – To answer the most-asked question about my plan: Yes, there will be a going-away party in New York. (Ahh, my dear friends – always looking for an excuse to party.)

I’ll head up to Boston around April 13, so the party’ll either be the weekend of the 4th or the 11th. Stay tuned.