Thursday, May 25, 2006

May 25th, 2006

Providence, RI
9:00pm EST

Greetings Again,

This past Sunday the V-TEAM gathered at Bill Mullen's house, which we have now come to think of as our V themed "Valhalla". We were meeting to discuss the adventure which is rapidly looming on the horizon. With only 12 days left before our departure, the teams preparation has begun to quicken it's pace and all of us are now spending a significant portion of our day working on trip related activities. Although I can't speak for much of what anyone else is doing, I thought it would be interesting to give a brief snapshot of my personal preparations at this point.

Also, as a side note it is worth mentioning that when I decided to embark on this journey I did so with the knowledge that I probably wouldn't have a job to come back to. That possibility has now become a reality; so in addition to planning for the next month, I am also trying to tie things up at work. Oh, and on top of that my lease runs up while I am on the water so I have to move out before I leave. Now then... where should I start...

1) Made list of items to bring on the trip including a bathing suit for chilly morning dips, 2-3 sweaters to survive the 40 and 50 degree days, a bottle of all purpose Dr. Bronners biodegradable soap to minimize stink in close quarters, and an Oxford shirt and dress pants to make sure that we look presentable for all media presentations, or, more importantly, for any potential meetings with winners of the Mrs. Helen of Toija contest!

2) After talking with Peter Criswell, a old friend of Bills who is a multi-talented multi-continent trip planner; it has been decided that our safety precautions are not up to snuff and therefore we need to collect and compile information that will be used in dire circumstances. Although I understand the importance of this, I can't help but admit that it leaves me feeling a bit superstitious. However, given that we are already breaking traditional superstitious rules by bringing a lady on board (who we are all lucky to have joining us for the record) I figure that this is just another detail to add to the stack.

3) A few months ago, when departure was further in the periphery, I made plans to go home for memorial day weekend. At the time I intended it to be an opportunity to rest and relax before the real preparation began, but since it is going to be the last opportunity for me to see people before flying off for a month it has quickly turned into a weekend that will be filled with friends, family, and household chores. Although this means that I am throwing all my ideas of rest and relaxation out the window, I am hoping that splitting logs in the Maine woods will serve as a way of getting into the mindset of the hardened men whose past we will be tracking.

4) Last but not least I have taken this friday (the 26th) off from work with the hope of packing all of my belongings out of my room and into the basement. Thankfully they do not have to go farther than that due to the generosity of my landlord, but to try to do it in one day will surely prove to be a challenge. Also, once everything is moved out on friday I will spend the next week living in an empty room with no bed. Although I can't be sure, I am betting on the fact that after a week of conditions such as this I will be more than happy to find myself in a cheap youth hostel or in the cramped quarters of our 38 foot boat.

In addition to these tasks there are also dozens of other details that will need to be addressed in the coming weeks. Confirming reservations, choosing a small selection of books that will keep me going through weeks on the water, arranging travel insurance, and having my mail forwarded to my parents address are only some of the ones that come to mind.

But for all that this may sound like a long list of complaints about how busy I am, I would be a fool if I couldn't see the implications that are embedded in the fact that I am able to have such a list at all.

While we were sitting around Bill's living room on sunday and toasting each other on the efforts that we have put in so far I suddenly realized that part our goal for the night was to celebrate the end of the first section of this adventure.

Sunday marked the last time that we will be together as a team before we get on the water, and it was also one of the few moments that we have all been present together to plan and mentally prepare ourselves for whatever comes of this. Over the last months the vast majority of our communication has taken place either through e-mail or over the phone. Because of this we haven't had much opportunity to acknowledge the time that each of us has devoted to the project and to the ups and downs that are inevitable in planning for an adventure such as this one. My long list of chores serves as a good illustration of the fact that we have all been very busy with the rest of our lives over the past months and there have been many times when the reality of this trip has been put on the back burner.

But this past sunday we were able to commemorate the end of the preparation phase, and the beginning of butterflies in the stomach and that almost imperceptible restlessness that takes hold in everyday life.

Cooking together in the kitchen, trying on our new team shirts, and talking about the feelings that are evoked by a storm on the water there was an almost palpable palpable anticipation of the reality that we are about to be faced with. And even though all we have now is vague feelings, soon we will all be writing from the water, and it will quickly become clear how great a distance there is between speculating about an adventure, and actually experiencing it.

Until next time...



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