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LJ Idol 06: Not of Your World.

Go sit inside a minivan. Take the seats out of their places, line them along the sides. Build a counter, a cabinet, a bed in the back. A bathroom the size of a washing machine. Cover the windows with duct-tape, except for narrow spaces at the top. Climb in and out through the sun roof. Now you have a model of the inside of a small sailboat.

Bring in your food. Enough for two months with no ice or electricity. Canned goods, rice, beans by the bag. Become friends with tuna, with Spam. Fresh fruits and vegetables for the few days they'll last, just enough for one person. All the onions you can stand to keep up your health, and vitamins for when they run out. Eggs coated with oil so they don't need kept cold. Water, forty gallons of it at the very least. Find places to put it all.

Bring in everything you need for three years. Bring your clothes, your tools, your books, your life. Pare it down until it fits, and then eliminate more until you have space to breathe. Remember to worry about weight.

Bring a spare of everything important. Don't forget four spare tires, an extra steering wheel, an extra radio and axles and an alternator. A whole spare engine, if there's room. Where you're going, you will be the only mechanic, and there will be no stores. You'll be as far off-road as it is humanly possible to get. Be prepared for everything you can imagine, and then read disaster books so you can imagine more.

Do you feel ready? You're not. But it's time to go. It's time to sail around the world.

This is my entry for LJ Idol Week 06 - Not of Your World. All of my competitors' entries can be found here; please do go and read them. This entry is inspired by my oncoming trip, sailing around the world in a 25-30' sailboat. Con-crit is always welcome, and I hope to answer further questions about this cruise in upcoming idol entries. Thank you for reading!


( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 10th, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC)
Oh great. Now not only will I be worrying about you getting lost, encountering rogue waves, boarded by pirates, or encountering Kevin Costner's character from Waterworld. I will worry about you running out of onions. How, then, will you be able to get the correct complex flavor of your chili con spam? It'll keep me awake at night!

I'm going to send you off with a giant bag of onions, maybe some dehydrated onions, and half a cow's worth of beef jerky.
Dec. 10th, 2010 11:45 pm (UTC)
You're coming with me, you dip. *wubs*
Dec. 11th, 2010 12:02 am (UTC)
Well, for some of it, unless we change our minds in Hawaii. In Hawaii, I will get you lots of onions and dehydrated onions and beef jerky. For the Hawaii leg, however, I'm gonna make sure our food is yummilicious. I look forward to challenges of storage and micro-kitchen.

Dec. 11th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
Oh, and we must also learn to fish, and what to do if we actually catch a fish. Because I don't even know.
Dec. 11th, 2010 10:27 am (UTC)
I will show you what to do with fish.
Dec. 11th, 2010 01:02 am (UTC)
The worry about pirates is an actual threat so a nice semi automatic rifle with lots of ammo is a must too especially if your trip is near the African or South American coastline. On second thought most have gunboats so maybe you should mount a swivel fully automatic on the what ever is the highest steady point.

Well done.
Dec. 11th, 2010 10:27 am (UTC)
Pirates are a threat, but not a large one to a scruffy little pocket cruiser like mine.

Unless I have something they want. Like a gun.
Dec. 11th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)
Its what they THINK you have like money or drugs. Or just taken and hold you for ransom. I'd take my chance with the gun.

When we took the cruise down the South American coastline we were shocked to see guard posted with fully automatic weapons on deck. They said pirates were notorious for attacking anyone. They especially liked to burn small crafts.
Dec. 11th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
I am not taking a gun. I am pro-gun, I own one, but there are about a million reasons why it is a bad idea for me to take one on a cruise, most of which involve me being killed by my own gun (very, very common among solo sailors. Unarmed thief sneaks aboard in the night, finds gun, sailor wakes up and startles him, gets shot. 4-5 reports a year just in American waters, including a sadly late friend of mine.), having my gun taken away from me by customs officials (India, Maldives), having my boat taken away from me by customs officials, or having to bribe said officials to keep the latter two from happening.

Because I get this suggestion from about every tenth person who hears what I'm doing, I'm addressing it in length here, but the argument has become a touchy subject for me personally, so I need to ask that you not carry it further.

1) I'm not going to South America. The closest contact I will have with that continent is Panama. For precisely the reason that there are pirates there.

2) Likewise Japan.

3) Somalia is nearly unavoidable, unless I add approximately 3000 miles to my trip and go around South Africa (Much friendlier politically and legally more stable, but with its own very large disadvantages as a cruising destination). There are pirates there, very active ones. At the same time, hundreds of small boats make this passage yearly, unmolested. Those few private boaters who are attacked (In 2010, there have less than 50 reported attacks in the Gulf of Aden, mostly to shipping vessels) are predominately large pleasure yachts, million-dollar yachts which make obvious ransom targets. They are not doing this for fun, or for drugs. Piracy is the primary economy of Somalia now that illegal poaching has all but destroyed their fishing grounds. They have no reason to go after a small, obviously destitute sailboat which would be unable to even be added to their own fleet (Top speed: 8mph). Even if they were to come for me, one armed person, or even two, would be no match for two fast boats full of heavily-armed pirates.

4) I do, actually, have more options to increase my safety for that crossing.

a) Travel in convoy. This is the usual method, and it's pretty effective. Five or six small scruffy boats traveling together does not make an appealing target, seeing as pirates have no way of knowing which of us has satellite communications. The various navies on patrol in the area too are often seen accompanying said convoys. Downside: If I am still single-handing at that point, traveling in convoy means staying awake for several days on end to make sure I keep my course matched to everyone else's.

b) South Africa. Piracy numbers so low as to be neglible, all along the southeast and southwest quarters of the continent, and I would get a chance to visit Madagascar (if they don't close their borders). Cons: South Africa is not a nation I feel welcome, as an American. Also perilously close to the Roaring Forties.

c) This is my favorite option, at the moment. Put my little sailboat into a cargo ship in India, ride through the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea protected by their security and speed, and disembark in Egypt in time to go through the Suez Canal.
Dec. 11th, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC)
Wow, this turned out longer than my actual entry. *sheepish* Sorry about that.
Dec. 11th, 2010 02:06 am (UTC)
I don't know which would be worse - the seasickness or the claustrophobia. Reading this entry I felt somewhat ill, which you shouldn't apologize for at all, because you wrote beautifully of what it would be like in a little enclosed boat. That it was too much for me is entirely my own fault.

Your adventure sounds fascinating. I mentioned it to my 18-year old son and if you need a strong young deckhand I don't think it would take much to get him along.
Dec. 11th, 2010 10:30 am (UTC)
The seasickness goes away. It really does. After 20 or so hours, in my case. And the claustrophobia only lasts until you come up on deck and realize that you may as well be out in space.

But! As for your son, watch this space. As a departure date becomes concrete (sometime in the next three years), I'll be looking for interested souls to come along for some leg or other of the voyage. I don't want to share a boat for three years with anyone, but I wouldn't mind trading crewmates from port to port.
Dec. 11th, 2010 10:45 am (UTC)
I'd have a hard time leaving my Stuff (yes, capital S!) behind, but wow, what an adventure you're in for!
Dec. 11th, 2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
I am trying to pare down my stuff before I go, so I'm not just leaving my bedroom at my parents' house as a storage unit. Currently, it all fits in about a minivan and a half. Need to go juuuust a bit further.
Dec. 11th, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC)
Your adventurous spirit is still shining through.
Dec. 11th, 2010 07:44 pm (UTC)
It had better keep on shining, I have a long road ahead of me.
Dec. 12th, 2010 02:32 am (UTC)
This is really good.
Dec. 14th, 2010 03:25 am (UTC)
Thank you. :3
Dec. 13th, 2010 03:37 am (UTC)
Intriguing! I hope your trip goes well! Don't wind up on the Island. :D
Dec. 14th, 2010 03:26 am (UTC)
Oh, I hope not. I've already seen how that turns out.
Dec. 13th, 2010 05:19 am (UTC)
When do you leave? Will you by any chance be blogging while you're away? I, for one, would love to hear about your adventures.
Dec. 14th, 2010 03:27 am (UTC)
Probably in about three years. I need to raise at least another thirty thousand before I go.

And yes, I'll blog as much as I feasibly can, but that'll be whenever I hit shore and can find some 'net.
Dec. 13th, 2010 08:03 am (UTC)
Nice visual. :)
Dec. 14th, 2010 03:27 am (UTC)
Thank you.
Dec. 13th, 2010 02:15 pm (UTC)
What an amazingly daunting task.
Dec. 14th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
It's a bit scary, but the scariest thing is that I'll be closing in on 30 when I get to leave.
Dec. 13th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)
A great way to write this, making it a mini-van and related items rather than stuff for your actual boat trip. Everyone can relate to the idea of a car and a long journey. Great entry!
Dec. 14th, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
I've used the analogy before. Talking to my friends, I'm startled by the sheer number of people who have never even seen the inside of a sailboat, let alone been aboard a small one.
Dec. 14th, 2010 02:19 pm (UTC)
Dec. 14th, 2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
I LOVE THIS! Makes me want to know you better.
Dec. 15th, 2010 01:43 am (UTC)
Thank you. If I stay in, I think this'll be a topic I write about often.
Dec. 15th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
Oh fun- take me with you! One of my dreams is to cruise around the world someday.
Dec. 15th, 2010 01:43 am (UTC)
Watch this space. :) I'm hoping to find kindred spirits to share this leg or that of the cruise with.
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )