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September 29, 2005

iPod

Unless my departure is imminent, there's always something more important to do than pack for the trip, or get ready to move. This was the case a few days ago as I spent the better part of an afternoon, that had been earmarked for packing, in front of my laptop filling my iPod full of music. 37GB's of music is the formatted capacity of the 40GB model and I've filled mine to the brim. This means I'll effectively be travelling with the equivalent of nearly 1000 CD's! 10,000 songs! 30 days of continuous music!

If things get desperate on the money front, I suppose I can sell or trade it for something more crucial to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. That is, of course, provided that it doesn't get stolen or left in a bus terminal first. It's sort of like in the old days when people used to convert their money into small, compact valuables like precious stones or metals as a way to store value in something other than local currencies. Yeah... I didn't buy the iPod on an impulse, I bought it so I'd have something of value that I could liquidate in a jam... or something like that. Anyway it's already proved it's worth to me.

The band 'Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah' has been the flavour de jour for me as I drive North, then South, then North, then South again. Except for the first song on their album, it's amazing. I'd recommend it to anybody.

In other news, stay tuned over the next couple days for an update as to where we'll be aiming for first; looks like it might be NYC. It's dependent on us finding a timely ride there. I'll call it a 'tentative destination' at this point. Very tentative.

September 27, 2005

Moving Time

There is nothing exciting about moving. Nothing.

Over the next few days, I'll be shuttling most of my worldly possessions 500km North of Toronto to the back of my parents garage, where they'll sit and gather dust under a blanket until I'm ready to root myself again.

By Thurdsay I'll have driven more than 2,000 km and spent at least 20 hours behind the wheel. The driving is the fun part; I find the road can be a great place to decompress. Many people, including myself, report that they can often drive for hours without really being conscious of the act. I once drove the entire length of Ohio, North to South, on my way to New Orleans without realizing it. It was almost as if my brain put me on automatic pilot as a way to set me free from the terrible monotony of the freeway. I'm not talking about sleeping. Sleeping while driving can be a bad thing. This is the sort of drifting that can still pull me back to reality in a flash if, say, an oncoming car were to swerve or an animal wander into my path.

Yeah, the driving is fine, it's the packing and organizing that I dread. My grandmother always cautions me to 'own my possessions rather than allow my possessions to own me.' I'm pretty sure she borrowed the advice from Thoreau, but either way it's good stuff.

"It is desirable that a man be clad so simply that he can lay his hands on himself in the dark, and that he live in all respects so compactly and preparedly, that, if an enemy take the town, he can, like the old philosopher, walk out the gate empty-handed without anxiety."

- Henry David Thoreau

While I have very few worldly goods compared to most, for the next couple days I'll be bearing the full burden of my possessions.

September 25, 2005

On the Road - Jack Kerouac


Title: On the Road
Author: Jack Kerouac
ISBN: 0-014-24-243725-5

I don't know what made me decide to walk home in the rain the other day, and I'm not sure why I ducked into one of the many used-book stores littered up Young street on the way, but I did. Now I'm the proud owner of my second copy of Kerouac's On the Road.

It's a book I've read before and would have read again long ago, if it weren't for the fact that I'd buried my only copy in a time-capsule in a small island on the North Channel of Lake Huron.

I'm not usually one to re-read a book, no matter how good; but this one is somehow different. Evidenced by the fact that this website's name comes directly from a passage in it, it's safe to say that this is a book that has affected me. I think of it often; it's a novel that makes me want to run out there, seize the day, and live, live, live!

As far a picking my first book to read on trip, this one seems like an obvious choice. It's bound to work me into frenzy and help get me out on the road. It portrays the sort of reckless sense of adventure that we used to chase when we were younger.

"Sal, we gotta go and never stop going till we get there."
"Where we going, man?"
"I don't know but we gotta go."
If you're looking for that extra little push to action, skip right past the self-help section of your bookstore and straight to this novel. His passion for living life 'in the now' is obvious... and infectious.

September 23, 2005

Self employed (with no income)

Today is my last full day of work. As of 5pm, I'll officially be self-employed with no income. Self-employed sounds much better than unemployed, though in my case, both amount to the same... No income.

Leaving the job has been the biggest single step I've taken toward getting this trip on the road. Most people, until very recently have been very skeptical about the likelihood of us actually leaving. While we're scheduled to depart in not much more than one week, we still don't have a concrete plan, yet people have started reacting much differently. They think I'm actually going, which of course is very encouraging.

Now is not the time for apathy, I've got a lot to do before this becomes reality. I figure I'll have an extra 45 hours per week to do other things, like update this site, plan the trip and maybe even read. I don't have a lot of time right now, as I'm headed out for one final hurrah with a few close work friends.... In fact, I'm late now.

More tomorrow...

September 20, 2005

Feedback

Well this is it. You're looking at what, I imagine, will be the design of this site for some time. There are still a few small changes and additions that I'll make, but for the most part, it's done.

I wouldn't have made it this far if it wasn't for the help of both Rachel Cunliffe and Ben Saunders. Rachel has been working with me over the last several weeks to get this site to do what I want; her expertise and insight has proved invaluable. Ben, on the other hand was able to step in last minute to make some key aesthetic changes. What you see now is a result of both of their efforts. I can't thank them enough.

So please, if you have a moment take a look around. Let me know what works, and what doesn't. Either send me an email, or leave a comment at the end of this post, all constructive feedback is, of course, welcome.

September 18, 2005

Ben Saunders - Athlete, Adventurer, Web-Designer

No matter what you do in life, there is somebody, somewhere is doing it much better. This is a truth that proves itself to me nearly everyday. Everywhere I go, people are doing things better than I'll ever do. (I'm not complaining... merely commenting on it.)

Ben Saunders is certainly no exception to this rule. Here's a guy, who's roughly my age who's managed to ski cross-country, on his own from Siberia to Canada. At 25 he was the youngest person to reach the North Pole. Over the past few weeks I've been watching his website. So far he's:

  • Announced that in Oct 2006 he and a friend are doing a 1,800-mile, four-month round trip, from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back. No dogs, no vehicles, no kites, no resupplies. Details here.

  • Crashed his car at 70 mph on a London motorway.

  • Took off to Spain for a long weekend.

  • Ducked over to NYC.

  • Ran 18 miles in 2 hours in Central Park.

  • Flew back to the U.K. to run a duathalon the next day.

At some point he's found the time to start a web-design business and agreed to help me with the colour scheme of this site. Check back over the next couple days, I expect you'll see a new and improved site very soon. In the meantime, I'll be watching Ben's site closely; he's doing a lot of things that I wish I was doing. I'm hoping I'll be able to draw some inspiration from him and his website.

September 14, 2005

Latest Position - New Feature!

The 'Latest Position' link on the horizontal navigation bar is finally operational. Previously when anybody clicked on the link it brought up one of those disappointing 'coming soon' messages. Now it brings up a map of the world, which I, of course, intend to update as we travel. Have a look...

Feedback is welcome.

September 13, 2005

Going Away Party

Even though we still have another 20 days or so before we leave, Saturday September 10th was my official going away party; I, of course had a blast. The greatest thing about hosting a party is that, aside from a few friends of friends, you know everybody. This party was no different. The turn out was great and I caught up with some old friends I otherwise may not have seen before leaving. Brian also managed to drive down from Sudbury to make an appearance, dispelling the notion, here in Toronto, that he may not actually exist.

I've uploaded the photos to my flickr account. Any time you click any photo, on this site it should bring you straight to flickr. I find the process of hosting photos there much easier than my own webserver.

September 09, 2005

Time To Start Looking For Our First Ride

21 Days until we leave. 3 weeks.

Don't Panic.

We'd better start taking some concrete steps to prepare. This isn't some weekend road trip. This is the real thing. I first noticed the dread creeping in as I was driving back from a family reunion in Windsor, another Labour Day gone, it could only mean two things; time to stop wearing white and time to start looking for our first ride.

Any good sailing trip around the world will go through the Panama Canal and the Caribbean at some point. We'll be in a good position if we're down there where the action is. If we can be there by the end of October, it's worthwhile to note, we'll also have escaped the horrific Canadian winter in the nick of time. The way I see it, we have a two real options; we can travel overland or we could sail down the coast. Flying is obviously out of the question.

I've emailed a couple drive away programs that are based here in Toronto, apparently there are a lot of old people who fly south to Florida, Arizona or California but still want somebody to bring their car down for them. I haven't had any success yet.

I've also started to feel out the possibility of hitching a ride down the coast on a yacht. There are actually a lot of people looking for crew online. All I need to do is find a boat that'll get us South. It'll serve two purposes in that it gets us South and it'll give us some much needed experience sailing on the Ocean.

These are the sites that I'll be lurking on for the next little while:

I've sent out a few emails, and have already had at least one response. It looks promising...

September 07, 2005

Wedding Crashers

Todd and Ryan (Wedding Crashers)

My roommate created this image on his 'spare' time at work. I personally think it's a little strange. I can't help but feel like he's going to snap sooner, rather than later, and kill me in my sleep. I'm just waiting for the slightest thing to set him off.

The true purspose of this post, however, is to see if I can master enough html to have the text appear to the right and below the picture, rather than just below it.

September 05, 2005

A Functional Website (At Last)

T-minus 4 weeks 'til departure and I can finally say that I've got a website that functions (and a keyboard too; the new one came in). Go ahead give the site a whirl. I'm most proud of the horizontal navigation bar. Every single link works now!

Probably the best decision I've made thus far was to shell out a bit of money for help getting this site up and running. I would have been here a lifetime, and still not have been successful, if I'd done it myself. For the next few days, if you're looking for content, try the horizontal nav bar above this entry; the links work, but as of right now there isn't any content. Most of my effort will be focused on updating the FAQ section.

As always, I'm interested in hearing what others have to say about the site. Feel free to leave your comments below or use the 'Contact Ryan' link.

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