My Last Minute Life

I’m no good at leaving places, because I’m no good at planning anything. Having some money in the bank, booking a plane ticket, and packing a bag (without forgetting my passport) is my idea of really having my shit together. It’s when I arrive at the airport, like I did today, in complete and total disarray, that my ridiculous reality reveals itself.

Rewind a few hours to me packing for an open-ended trip south. In what became, as it always does, the hour of franticness, I packed more of what I didn’t need and less of what I did. Who takes two sweatshirts and two base layers to hot, humid Nicaragua? I did that.

And now, here I am. Outside the international terminal of LAX. Carelessly, I haven’t even checked my departure airline. And unless I can get my expired phone linked up to WiFi, I’ll be out of luck. I’m walking a thin line, here.

After some time fumbling with a weak connection, I figure out I’m in the wrong terminal altogether. My layover is in Vegas, so I’m flying domestic. Okay, that’s one thing sorted, but what about the onward ticket I never purchased? I need proof of leaving Nicaragua in order to be let in on a 90-day tourist visa. And it’s something I’ll apparently need to figure out before even checking my bag. Anxiety sets in like the familiar fog of this morning’s hangover. A cold beer sounds like the right remedy, but there are a few things to be sorted beforehand.

My under-preparedness is stifling, but realistically there’s no other way. Some deep breaths and I’ll have to get on with it. I don’t plan well, and I know that if I plan things too far in advance I’ll end up talking myself out of ever doing anything. I change my mind so chronically, in fact, that a friend recently observed it may be in my best interest to never make plans further than a day in advance. Because if given the time I will change my mind. And it will be—as it always is—frantic, and totally last minute.

I may not have thought so far in advance about buying an onward ticket, and I may have no idea how to get where I’m going after my plane lands, but these are a few of many things I’ll wind up procrastinating indefinitely.

Which brings us here. I’m finishing this post from a woven hammock at GM Granada Hostel in Granada, Nicaragua, enjoying a cold Toña, and watching the beautiful tortugas relax by their pond. I count 11 turtles. Luck, fortunately seemed to be on my side on this one. In the end I was never asked by anyone to present proof of onward travel. I caught the first taxi from the airport in Managua willing to take me to the city of Granada per my offer. And now I can laugh at the fact that in spite of my logistical ill-preparedness, I made it to exactly where I want to be.

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