I'm now in my seventh week on the road. It's not quite a personal record—as an SI writer I once was gone for three months on assignments that took me to a dozen countries—but it's plenty long to be living out of a suitcase. And so I will happily take a bus to the Sochi airport around midnight on Sunday (just two hours after the Closing Ceremony ends) for more than 24 hours of travel back to New York. After a day back in the office at SI, I'll head home to Maine.
For the last three weeks, every time I've tried to type the words "Main Press Center" I have involuntarily typed "Maine Press Center." It has made me smile each time. As of next week, I'll be back at my true Maine Press Center—our house and The Naturalist's Notebook. The next blog you read will likely be posted from there. I hear that much snow has fallen in Maine since I left in early January.
For now, two busy days are left here in Sochi. We are setting up an SI cover shoot for tomorrow morning (I can't reveal who's involved). Stories are being written and pages laid out. I'll be editing right up until the time I go to the airport, where the scene will be, at best, chaotic; on the morning after the Salt Lake City Games, I stood in a check-in line that was almost 100 yards long and snaked out of the terminal into a parking lot. The small Sochi airport is going to be overwhelmed with Olympic humanity.
By noon on Monday, our office here in the Maine—I mean Main—Press Center will be dismantled. Imagine a big box store going out of business and being stripped down to bare shelves, and the shelves then sold off, in the span of 18 hours. That's how the Olympics end. Yes, the Paralympics will roll into Sochi in a few weeks, but the Olympics will vanish. Sochi will fall back into its former life. This politicized, palm-treed, winter sports wonderland that was our whole world for three weeks will become mere history and memories.
I will admit: Better memories than some of us expected. Thanks for sharing in the journey.