My two bags are packed to the limit, and I still don’t have a place for my cameras. I’ve got ice tools, crampons, a tent and sleeping bag, ropes, a harness, and all sorts of other gear.  I’ve still got to add socks and flip-flops to the mix, but mostly I’m there.

This is a project that might make me a couple thousand dollars, in addition to providing me with a great vacation. Working at the paper is a good job, but it isn’t lucrative enough to convince me to give up other opportunities. I’ve got to chase them just to make it all come together.

In many ways I’m like Berlin: I’ve got to diversify. My staple industry just doesn’t pay the bills the way I’d like it to, so now I’ve got to figure out how to spread myself around to make that work.

I just finished a video project for a nonprofit client, making three short videos aimed at their various demographics. (These are the rough cuts. I just burned the final DVD today, but I’m not going upload updated clips to YouTube before we leave tomorrow.)

These are another example of what working in the modern media landscape means. It pays to have multiple skills, because as newspapers change they are edging out the promise of a secure profession. Having a bit of photo, video and audio skills, plus some design experience and website development, really helps. It makes it possible to live in the most seemingly impossible places, like northern New Hampshire.

I’ll be chasing after another branch of my diversification in the coming weeks, and then again when I head to Iraq (hopefully) this fall. And piecing it all together, if I can make it happen, should be quite rewarding.

It’s like reviving your economy with a prison or two, a biomass plant, a resurgent paper mill and some tourism dollars—not the same as the old model, but it can work if it’s the right combination.

So while my packs are almost packed, in some ways it’s my schedule that’s even more packed. At least every piece is baggage I’m excited to carry.