As I have my mom on speakerphone, she doesn’t realize I’m standing on a table.

and all I’m taking is my camera, film, toothbrush, and books.

While I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest, it’s not the sites I’m concerned with this time around. This week-long adventure is completely people-oriented. One of my best friends goes to Berkeley, so I’m flying to San Francisco and soliciting her for her company and food recommendations. Then it’s off to Oregon, a supposedly magical state where some epic kids I came to know and love in Russia now reside. First Eugene then Portland, the city “where young people go to retire”. I look forward to the beers and reminiscing of our stint in Petersburg. Seattle is last, and this is where I get to have a much-awaited dinner with my travel muse, Amy Leah, one of the amazing people I met on the Russian road way back in 2011.

The dinner in Seattle, and this whole trip rather, is on the 2013 bucket list.

All these informational nuggets amount to this: it’s going to be a good trip.

The books pictured are The Hobbit, About Love and Other Stories by Chekhov, and On the Road.