October 05, 2005

Packed

All You Need For A Trip Around The WorldSuccess. It seemed like an impossible task but I did it. I packed my entire life into these two small bags. Just two bags of clothing and gear. I'm pretty sure I have roughly the same volume of stuff to go around the world as many people bring to a cottage for a long weekend. Except for a few small items that still need to be picked up in Toronto, beginning tomorrow, I'll be living exclusively from these two bags.

Of course my luggage didn't always look as neat and tidy as you see pictured above. I've developed a highly effective, two-step packing strategy that I might consider trademarking and selling if I didn't already have my hands full with this trip. Consider yourselves lucky, you get this packing advice free of charge. Here it is: Gadgets and Stuff - To Bring Around the World

1. Throw everything that you think you might want to use while travelling onto a pile on the floor. Don't eliminate anything. If you think you can use it, add it to the pile. All the important decisions come later, in step two.

2. Begin removing things from the pile while chanting to yourselfClothes to Bring Around the World
my new favorite mantra: "Less is more." As soon as the pile has diminished enough to fit into the luggage you've got, pack it up and then take a nap.

That's it. It's that easy. In my case it worked out to two easily carried bags. A 50 Litre backpack and a 58 Litre MEC duffle bag. (My daypack is actually inside the duffle bag.)

Tomorrow will be a trial run for me as I'll be making my way over to Sudbury (2hrs) to board a bus down to Toronto (5.5hrs), which is officially where we want to leave from, and return to.

I plan to provide a breakdown of what I'm bringing and what I've decided to leave behind in the FAQ section very soon.

October 03, 2005

Idle

Ryan and Brian - Sailing
Over the last few days we've been in contact with The Sudbury Star, a local newspaper that may be doing a story on our trip. It wasn't until they asked for a picture of Brian and I together that I realized that there are very few pics of us in the same frame, at least that I'm aware of. The one you see is what my mother was able to dig up on some very short notice. It was taken a couple years ago at John Island and has the added bonus of having a sailing theme! However, I'm pretty sure we'll need a more substatial boat than the one pictured.

I've also managed to secure a ride down to New York, my old roommate, Jon, has friends in Brooklyn. When he realized that this coming weekend up is, in fact, a long weekend here in Canada, he offered up the ride as a chance for him to help us out and catch up with some old friends. We'll be leaving Toronto on either the 7th or the 8th. This turn of events works well for Brian and I because it means we'll have a place to stay for the weekend before we have to move into a New York City hostel. If anybody out there has any hosteling secrets specific to Manhattan or Brooklyn; I'm all ears...

Brian has finished with his medical school applications only to divert his focus over to law school applications. I spoke with him tonight and I'm confident he'll have finished up all loose ends and be ready to travel by Friday morning. For now I wait. Idle. Tomorrow I'll chop wood and golf at the new 18-hole course in town; Built where the house I lived in for most of high-school used to exist. I think our home was about where the first green is now.

October 01, 2005

Deadlines

"I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by."

-Douglas Adams

Today is October 1st. This was to be the first symbolic day of our storied journey, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. Brian is fighting to free himself from what seems to me to be endless Law and Med School applications while I'm trying to stretch this move out as long as possible in an attempt to avoid being too idle, for too long.

Tomorrow should be the last of the move for me and I fully expect Brian to break free very soon. We plan to converge together here in Toronto early next week and are already taking concrete steps to get us out of Canada and on the road.

I think I may have found a ride to NYC where I've arranged to meet with a 52 year-old surgeon who's apparently has a 40' Beneteau that he'll be sailing from NYC to Bermuda then eventually down to the British Virgin Islands. He needs 3 crew, I'm hoping we fit the bill. These plans of course are subject to change at a moments notice as I haven't actually secured the ride to New York, nor have I been able to get a firm commitment from this skipper leaving New York sometime after the 10th of October.

Whatever happens, I'm eager to go. To start travelling, and spend my money somewhere other than Toronto.

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 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 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...

August 29, 2005

You Get What You Pay For - In My Case, Not Much

Well, I knew it was too good to be true; a fully functional laptop computer for $244 USD. It worked perfectly for long enough for me to set up the software, plugins and bookmarks and get it humming just the way I like. It worked just long enough for me to get up off my arse and sell my other, bulkier, laptop. It even worked for long enough for me to start bragging about how great a bargain hunter I'd become.

Then it happened. I first noticed it with the "P" key; It wasn't as responsive as it could have been. The next morning it wouldn't work at all. 'No worries', I thought, 'maybe I'll just circumnavigate the globe without using the letter 'p'. It's probably never been done, I could be the first. Who really needs 'p' anyway?' It wasn't long after I'd decided that living without 'p' wouldn't be so bad when I noticed that 'o' and ';' were suffering the same fate. Long story short, the plague consumed my keyboard within 3 days.

It'll have to be replaced now. There's no way around it. I'm banking that this replacement keyboard does the trick. $40 USD with shipping, and once you figure labour to get it installed, I'll be lucky to escape for under $80. Still, with all things considered I haven't yet wasted my money on this laptop. It's still pretty cheap. I'll concede that I've wasted my money as soon as I drop my backpack in the first bit of water we encounter, or when it gets stolen at the first hostel we check into.

August 15, 2005

The Plan

My plans are purposefully vague at this point, not because of some hidden agenda, but more because I'm trying to leave myself free to take up whatever opportunity strikes along the way. It's not about setting an itinerary and pre-arranging rides, it's more about walking out of my front door on October 1st with one objective; To return home the long way. To finish with a complete and real sense of the true scale of this planet. Of course, I plan to have some fun along the way and maybe even see some sights.

August 14, 2005

Circumnavigate The Globe

As I continue to brainstorm ideas about the aesthetics of this site, I was startled to discover that there are actually people visiting. Strange. I haven't mentioned the existence of this site to more than one or two people for many months. I'd figured that by now it'd be long forgotten and I'd have all the time I needed to get the ball rolling.

So far I haven't mentioned, in any detail, what this site is about. I'd been hoping to wait until the layout is actually finalized before explaining myself. However everything I read online insists that I should have several weeks worth of content before 'going live'. Content is king. So, umm... expect more from me from here on in.

This is my plan: Circumnavigate the globe.

This is the catch: Do it without the use of air travel.

Here's the tricky part: I don't own a sailboat.

No air travel, no time limits, and nowhere near enough money saved up. I'm convinced it'll make for a story worth telling, hence this website.

It's been a long time in the coming (10 years give or take), though we still won't actually leave for another couple months. My target date of departure is October 1st. Though I've just realized that if we wait an extra 10 days or so, I'll have a chance to spend Thanksgiving with family. Turkey dinner is my favorite meal of the year. Decisions, decisions...

July 14, 2005

The First Post

I really feel like this is something I need to get over with once and for all. Every new site seems to start with it; the symbolic first post. In my experience it usually doesn't say much beyond 'Wow, my first post, neat!' This one likely won't be any different.

To be honest, I'm surprised that I've made it this far. I typically get an idea in my head; go with it for a couple weeks, then move on to the next big thing. This site, however, has been differentiated by the fact that it's consistently been in my thoughts for two years now, sort of a recurring daydream that won't go away. Of course, I have yet to take any real initiative other than registering the domain name and getting my host, LivingDot, to install the Movable Type publishing platform.

Not to worry, I've got big plans from here on in. If all goes according to plan this site will become a sort of travelogue about a pretty big trip I'm planning to take in October.

There we go; the first post is out of the way. Boy what a relief.