Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Millennium

Friday, January 23, 2009

“There’s nothing but pirates and malaria out there! Can’t you just go to Italy?”

23 January 2009 - Houston, Texas. I’ve been in Houston since 15th December, except for a short trip to Comfort, Texas with Nikki last week. I’m wrapping things up over the next few days and will make my way to Phuket, Thailand – arriving there on 2nd February. I’m booked for three nights at the Phuket Hilton. We will set sail between the 5th & 12th February.

I’ve been pretty elusive about discussing the trip details with people. There are several reasons why. The first is that I’ve never actually planned on doing the whole trip. As always, I need an exit strategy at every turn. Besides, after canceling the India trip three days before I was due to depart last November, I decided I no longer want to manage people’s expectations. This time I just want to go to Phuket, meet Popeye, see the sailboat and then decide if I want to sail to Andaman…then from there I’ll decide about the Maldives…and from there I’ll decide about Chagos…and so on. Also, I’m superstitious and don’t like to project into the future; or maybe it’s just my fear of commitment, because the minute I commit to doing something, I don’t want to do it anymore. I haven’t wanted to curse this trip by declaring that I’m going to do it. Besides, the thing about this trip is that I really don’t know if I want to do it. I’ve never done anything like this before. I may hate it. I may get seasick. Popeye may be a nutter. There’s no telling what might make this not-the-trip-for-me, so I have no designs on making the whole journey.

Another reason I don’t discuss the details is because I don’t really know all the details. I’m going on a vibe. The trip details I do know came about slowly. I have processed them intellectually and emotionally over the last several months. I’m a fearful and cautious person just like most people, so it’s not like I’ve been footloose and fancy free about the due diligence. It’s just that there’s only so much research you can do – once you determine the risks you simply have to decide whether you want to take them. I’ve had all the same fears everyone has expressed. My first fear was the pirates and I was almost physically sick about it for over a week – I even found a map online that charts all the pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean. I eventually found on the internet a lovely woman, Cheryl, who lives on a boat with her husband and sails around the world. She assured me there is no real threat of pirates but that I should make sure I have a safe harness so that I don’t fall overboard. That allayed my fear of pirates but I spent the following two weeks worried about falling overboard. Now, two months later, I'm obsessing about malaria.

Still, it was Cheryl’s reply:

“Do it!!!!!!!!!!! How wonderfully fantastic…It will most likely be a life changing experience for you. The ocean is magical, especially with a full moon. There are pods of dolphins and fish in the South Indian Ocean. The local people you meet will give you a different perspective from that a a tourist…”

that convinced me I had to at least try it.