19 February 2010 | Rice Lake/Birchwood
Along with a few other things on my to-do list, I really procrastinated getting this blog started, so bear with me on these first few blogs.
On Wednesday (2/17), I began a journey that I’ve been planning for nearly half a year and something that’s been in my mind for a few years. I’m heading to panama on 2/18 to eventually meet up with my buddy Alex and begin sailing. The hope is to begin in panama, hit up the galapagos islands, and then head over to the french marquesas to island hop until I need to head back.
So it might sound like I’ve quit my job and turned into more of a nomad than I’ve been the last few years, but that’s not the case. My company actually has a program that allows employees to take off up to 3 months of work to pursuit other interests or to simply take a break…obviously something I had to take advantage of. Why not take a 3 month break? Right? So that’s what I’m doing. I got a taste of the cruising lifestyle last year when I sailed for 15 days through the bahamas (cruisers is the name of people that live full time on their sailboats and just sail the world). I have been fortunate enough to get to travel quite often and the trip through the bahamas was absolutely the best trip I ever had. It’s an amazing combination of freedom, excitement, meeting new people, and hardwork that pays off. After that trip, I knew if I had another opportunity, I’d have to go for it.
Along with all of the logistics of planning of a 3 month journey, work got extremely busy (of course), I had to file my taxes, and on top of that I had Lasik surgery scheduled for the Friday before I flew out. I had to talk to the doctors to make sure they thought it was safe jumping on a sailboat so soon after getting the surgery. Thankfully, everything went great and my vision went from nearly legally blind to 20/15…it’s ridiculous, I feel like superman. Other than a small problem getting some GPS maps for polynesia, everything came on time and as usual, I started packing around 11:30pm tuesday night and got it all in a bag.
On Wednesday prior to heading to minneapolis, I headed out to the Birchwood Charter School (more on that below), finished off a few final things for work, stopped by the bank to get my accounts all in line, picked up some embroidered boat shirts, and then jumped in the car with my parents to head to Minneapolis for my last Lasik check up….it was a crazy morning. We were a little early, so I was able to swing by REI and pick up a hat. It’s probably one of the weirder hats that I’ve ever bought and looks pretty wild. It has a flap that hangs from the back to cover your shoulders and neck…you’ll have to see the pictures and make your own call on it. Anyway, we got the hat and then headed to Crave (where my sister Val works) and I had an amazing New York Strip. My parents said goodbye and then I headed out to uptown for a quick drink with my buddy Andy Bitz.
Thankfully, my buddy Hassan was still awake and he said he’d be able to pick me up at 4:30 for my 6am flight. I headed back to Val’s to my favorite couch and got to bed around midnight.
Birchwood Charter School
Something else I’m excited about is the work I’ll be doing with the Birchwood Charter School. A great highschool friend of mine, Todd Brunclik, is one of two teachers at the school. He invited me to come in and simply discuss what I do for work. He explained to me the concept of the charter school being that the students kind of plan their own projects. So if a student is interested in engines, he could write a paper on engines to get an english credit. I thought it might be cool for the kids to do projects related to sailing or the pacific…and I thought it’d also be fun for me to work with them during the trip. The projects that I’ve seen so far have started out great, and I think it’s going to be fun to work with the students throughout the trip. Some of the students actually got me the information about this blogging site and will be helping me out with maintaining it during the trip.