23 June 2010

The routine

Posted by Callan Bentley

It’s that time of year for me… summer’s here, and I’m winding up my duties at NOVA in preparation for some travels. We leave Sunday night for two weeks in Turkey, followed by my regional field geology course in Montana (also two weeks), followed by some family time and mountain climbing in New Hampshire (three weeks), including hiking the Presidential Range.

This summer, as I have done for the past several summers, I’ll be subletting my home while I’m gone. Among the many disadvantages of living in DC (high taxes, high crime, lots of noise, all those politicians), this is a big advantage: you can sublet your apartment soooooo easily. It’s a cinch! The city’s government and nonprofit sectors draw in swarms of interns every summer, and I’ve been very fortunate to find great subletters via Craigslist to come pay my rent/mortgage and take care of my cat while I’m away.

The first summer I did this was the most extreme: I was gone for three months in 2006 on a road trip up to Alaska and back; but since then I’ve subletted for at least two months each summer, mainly while I was out west. The 2010 summer is the shortest sublet I’ve so far had: a mere seven weeks. Still, the routine each summer is roughly the same: stock up on cat food and litter, pack up my clothes and store them somewhere (mom’s attic; my office at NOVA), clean the place up, and then clear the heck out. The packing has been more complicated this year since I’m essentially packing for three trips with overlapping gear needs all at once. But it’s a nice annual tradition: right about the time that DC gets to be sweltering hot and humid, I can decamp for exotic locales and cooler climes. I feel very lucky not only to travel like this, but also to have my home and cat cared for in my absence, and bring in cash to pay the mortgage, too. It’s a sweet deal.

More immediately, I’ll be in an all-day workshop starting tomorrow night, and through Sunday. It’s a SERC workshop on the role two-year colleges like NOVA play in geoscience education. Between that and packing, this might be the last you hear from me for a while.

Blogging will likely be light around here for the next two months as I’m flitting about. I’ll do my best to log on and post some travelogues when I can, but I can’t promise too much. When I have phone service (will my iPhone work in Turkey?), I can offer a series of short posts to my Twitter account. Beyond that, you’re on your own!