Because the Slacking Universe Needs a Center

Paris, France

Escalator - Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
I am selflessly volunteering. It starts with some kind of twitch, I think, and from what I can gather, most of you are afflicted with some form of this thing, too: After going some while without being on a plane across an ocean, without having another stamp in the passport, without the struggle of a strange language in a strange land, without the gastrointestinal chaos that inevitably comes from cuisine found just the other side of one’s sphere of microbial familiarity, the twitch metastasizes. The symptoms grow and a common pathology sets in. This strange process — a longing, really — hijacks our neurons and wallets with equal ferocity and soon a ticket is booked. And the day arrives.

That day is today and, of course, I’m nowhere near ready to depart.

The time for travel has come and with it, my usual barrage of stories from the road. Over the coming days and weeks, this little desultory adventure brings me to France, Tunisia, Greece, Switzerland and — drum roll please — Newark, New Jersey.

While I won’t be gone long, I hope to bring you some of my exploration of the unknown and deeper inquiry into the various flavors of foolishness. And this time, my wallet is staying with me.

To those of you currently on the road and those of you contemplating giving your backpack a workout, let me know if there’s a chance we will cross paths. To the rest of you, photos, suggestions, requests, money, vile comments and caustic invective are all welcome.

So with that, I depart. Because my train leaves in 15 minutes and I live at least 20 minutes from the station.