Monday, Sept. 1
Dixcove, Ghana

Hurricane Gustav is supposed to be hitting the Gulf Coast today.

I have no idea whether it’s on course, creating serious damage or turning out to be a dud. Instead of following the storm moment by moment like I would be from Houston, I’m on a rainy beach in Ghana, a bus taxi ride or two away from an Internet connection, surrounded by people who haven’t even heard of Gustav.

I hate knowing I’m missing a storm I could be covering! And for that, I’ve come to see Gustav as a blessing: I’ve realized, in the last day or so, just how important it is for me to find a reporting job when I return to the States.

During the last two months, I’ve pondered whether I might be satisfied with another writing-related career, one with more job security and better pay. It’s a question I think a lot of journalists have asked themselves lately as newsroom jobs are cut, wages are frozen and industry morale takes one hit after another.

Since finding a newspaper job on the East Coast after this trip is likely to be difficult, I figure if I am ever to make a change, now would be the time.

But Gustav made it pretty clear that ain’t gonna happen. I don’t want to read the newspaper and wish I had covered the story on the front page.

Once a journalist, always a journalist.