Flying into the future

At the end of perhaps the most eventful week of my life, I leave the country tonight for the longest journey of my life: five weeks in Peru and Bolivia. Yes, these are heady days and the future seems filled with infinite possibilities.

A week ago, my sweetie Alix and I culminated a loving and supportive breakup and I moved out, housesitting for vacationing Guardian writer Amanda Witherell in her lovely little cottage house in the Mission District. It was hard and weird, but Alix had already left the country and Amanda’s place was quite homey and nurturing.

I’ve been working diligently on final trip preparations, including seeking an interview with Bolivian President Evo Morales (which is probably a longshot, but we’ll see) and a million other details, as well as writing a 5,000-word Guardian cover story about the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War (which is also my fifth anniversary at the Guardian and of my arrest for being a part of the protests).

Last Wednesday, just as I finally hunkered down at Amanda’s place to be able to focus on writing, I got the call from Guardian Executive Editor Tim Redmond that the jury was back with a verdict in our unfair competition lawsuit against SF Weekly and the chain corporation that owns it.

More than three years after filing the suit, and pouring a ton of staff time and emotional energy into working on it, particularly in the last few months, we got a $15.6 million verdict in our favor. It was huge, a vindication of an independent newspaper against a big chain, even though we probably won’t see any money until after years worth of appeals.

It was also a setback on my story as we celebrated the victory, but I managed to finish it amid adventures in the Mission, adjusting to my new solo life, storing all my stuff, studying Spanish, visiting my daughters in Modesto, and readying my backpack and mind for the journey.

And tonight, I strap on the pack, walk to the BART station, raise a glass with friends at The Attic next door, and then fly away, arriving into Lima tomorrow afternoon and La Paz on Friday night. Beyond that, the future is uncertain, and that’s OK with me. But I’ll be doing periodic posts on this blog, so you can follow along on my adventure with me.

P.S. When I return on April 16, I’ll be couch-surfing and looking for a place to live. So if you hear about anything good, drop me a line at steventhejones@yahoo.com.

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