Tallahassee, FL – 6/1/16
Layers of handwritten notes litter my desk, stacked on open boxes, on old photos, on hard drives. To-do lists. Things to remember. Kinnarodden has two ds. No accent on Tarifa. Thoughts that I don’t want to lose, but can’t hang onto in the flood spilling out of my head.
The ends of two hiking sticks lie on the floor where I tossed them a week ago, broken and battered and replaced with new, unscathed, unbent titanium. Equipment is everywhere. An unsalvagable water bottle that leaks near the mouth. A solar panel. Two down jackets that I’ve stared at for months and can’t decide between. A third that won’t make the cut, but I haven’t had time to move. Hats, batteries, gloves, a solar panel, charging cords. An old tarp I don’t quite trust anymore. A tent, wrapped up and stuffed in a sack. I took it out three weeks ago and sprayed a hose on it for an hour to make sure it wouldn’t leak.
A backpack somewhere, buried under it all. A sleeping bag that still needs washing and a patch over a small tear where tufts of down leak out. An air mattress, new out of the box, just replaced. My old one liter cooking pot that I’ve had since the Pacific Crest with its dented sides and fire blackened bottom. An alcohol stove that still burns after ten years. I need a new windscreen, that’s what the roll of aluminum flashing is for. It’s sat for weeks waiting for me to get to it, to cut it into shape, to pop holes in the side that will vent air into the flames.
An emergency beacon. I activated it yesterday, stood outside in the sunlight swatting flies as it beamed signals to satellites in the sky. No bigger than a cell phone and it just might save me anywhere in the world. Twenty feet from my front door, it seems silly. Days away from civilization, it might be the last thing between me and death. I flick it on to check it again. “This is an automated reply to your message” the beacon reads. “I can still save your life,” it says in my head. I turn it off and hope I never use it.
My headlamp is somewhere on the table. I tested it a week ago and as soon as it worked I put it down on my desk. It’s stayed there ever since, slowly buried under paper until only the strap peeks out from under the pile. I’ll need it, but not at first, not in the everlasting daylight of the arctic summer.
Clothes. Boxes of clothes that stack like I’m making a cardboard wall. Shirts and pants, far too many to bring. I’m picking one of each and returning the rest, but I can’t decide. I want to love the choice since I’ll wear it until the threads fray and fall apart, until the back is nothing but strings of cloth hanging off my shoulders after thousands of miles.
A groundsheet. Bandana. Sunglasses. Memory cards. A stack of books that read Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal. A new cell phone that will work in all of those. The books are filled with information that I’ll never get to because I haven’t been able to open one. But what do I need train and bus itineraries for when I have my two feet and a pair of shoes. Two pairs actually. I still need to decide which one goes and which gets sent back.
I need to decide a lot of things, here, while there are options, while I’m surrounded by stacks of things, stacks of decisions to make. I stare at the stacks and wonder if it’s all here, if everything I need to walk across a continent is here sitting in this room, if I can succeed by making the right decisions now.
I stare. I drown in it all. I barely sleep, like I’ve barely slept for weeks, my mind rushing too fast for sleep, only giving in at three or four in the morning when exhaustion finally shuts everything down.
I’ve got to keep going, to keep making decisions. I think about five days from now. I think about when I’ll walk out my door with that pack, when all the decisions will be over, behind me right or wrong, cleared away in the final rush towards the next adventure.
Then everything will be clear.
Just walk south.
Welcome back to Predictably Lost!
I’m glad you are here to join me on this next adventure. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment, but once this gets going, I think it’s going to be fantastic. I’m excited to write again and I’m really excited to add video. I’ve worked for the past month to figure out how to shoot, edit, and post video from my phone because, along with the writing, I think it will do a fantastic job of putting you inside the adventure as it is happening.
So, to keep up as this next adventure unfolds, here is what I recommend:
First, follow this blog via email. This way you will automatically get an email of every new post on Predictably Lost. The signup is at the bottom of the page and looks like this:
While you’re down there, feel free to follow the blog on some of the other social media platforms like instagram, twitter, and facebook. Basically, I want it to be easy for you to find out about new posts on Predictably Lost.
Second, subscribe to the new YouTube channel. Here is a link to the Predictably Lost page on YouTube: www.youtube.com/predictablylost. Go there and click the subscribe button so that you can stay connected and easily find the videos on YouTube. Here is a picture showing you the button (you’ll need a google account to subscribe. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, you can always just go to Predictably Lost’s YouTube page or search YouTube for “PredictablyLost” and watch any of the videos, subscribing just makes it easier to find):
Finally, share the blog and YouTube channel with anyone who might be interested in following along on this adventure. The best time to start a story is from the beginning so the more people who are following near the start the better story they will get! Share it with friends, hiking buddies, travelers, whomever might get a kick out of it!
Thanks so much! Looking forward to having you with me on this crazy trip! I should start posting regularly in about 3 weeks so be sure to check back in, but if you go ahead and follow the blog and subscribe to the YouTube channel, you won’t have to remember, you’ll know as soon as new posts and videos are up!