And so begins a new chapter in this glorious adventure called life: In mid-August, my wife Beci and I will leave Kansas City and become Peace Corps volunteers in Namibia, Africa.
After three months of in-country training, we will put down roots in a new city, town or village (we don’t know which one yet) while speaking a new language (ditto).
Welcome to the Peace Corps, where flexibility is key.
We will help teach English to secondary school students, all while becoming immersed in a new culture and eating new foods.
Our volunteer service could last up to 27 months, putting us back in the States in late 2019.
The Peace Corps application process began last November. It included plenty of paperwork, long resumes, a few tests, Skype interviews, FBI background checks and — lastly — lots of medical tests.
It was … interesting. But it also was exciting when my final clearance for volunteer service arrived by email at 4:59 p.m. last Thursday.
My wife and I still have plenty of reading and studying ahead of us before we get on our international flight.
Which brings me to the future of Yael on the Trail.
I started this blog last October after leaving The Kansas City Star, where I spent 37 years, including 32 fun and intense ones on the editorial page.
The blog allowed me to continue writing my rather frank — and dare I say mostly liberal — opinions about local, state and national politics, along with a few other issues of interest.
The wonderful readers of this blog often commented positively — and negatively — on it through Facebook and Twitter. Many chipped in donations to support my work.
But all things come to an end.
Others in the local and national media world will carry on writing about my favorite topics over the next few years.
Kansas City: Here’s hoping Mayor Sly James and voters succeed in getting a needed new Kansas City International Airport terminal and a great, extended streetcar line.
Kansas: As an early critic of Gov. Sam Brownback’s reckless tax cuts, I’m so pleased I got to see the Legislature repudiate him this year. Brownback will go down as one of the state’s worst governors ever.
In Johnson and Wyandotte counties, residents deserve someone who will treat them with more respect than U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder does.
Missouri: Gov. Eric Greitens has turned out to be even sleazier and less-principled than feared, hiding his dark money funding while spouting empty-headed conservative rhetoric to defend his often-ignorant decisions.
I could go on and on but here’s the thing: I don’t have to right now.
It’s time to open that new chapter in life, where other priorities exist.
After 44 years as a working journalist, it’s time to try to serve people in a wholly different way.