It's been 15 months since I last posted, and exactly (to the day!) two years since I hiked the final miles of the Appalachian Trail. My time since hasn't been as exciting, and my biggest adventure since leaving the Trail has been purchasing my first house and finishing a complete remodel of it over the last few months. Hopefully the lack of stories and adventure is about to change in the next few weeks and months.
As you may recall, I spent quite a bit of my A.T. hike thinking about what kind of challenge to undertake next, what adventure would be a worthy followup to a 2,200 mile walk up the Eastern seaboard. I've got another long hike coming up this winter with my good friend Santa which you'll hear about, but beforehand will tackle something completely different. Late this week I'll be getting on an airplane and flying to Barbados to begin the first bit of hands-on research for my next planned long distance undertaking. It may seem crazy to have the desire to sail a boat across the Atlantic Ocean, and may seem even crazier to do it alone, but it's an idea that my dad brought up to me 3 years ago that hasn't left my mind. While I'm not sure of an exact timeline, with my main focus is aimed towards the safety of myself and the boat, rest assured that I'll be making sure that all the ducks are inline before leaving the literal and metaphorical harbor to undertake this kind of trip. The thought of such a journey sends chills down my spine in a way that I know I won't be able to look away from, and I think it's a phenomenal large scale follow-up to a cross country bicycling ride and Appalachian Trail thru-hike.
From Barbados I'll be flying on a twin prop plane to the island of St. Vincent, in the Grenadine Islands off the northeast coast of South America. I've signed up for a week-long offshore sailing course with a company called Barefoot Offshore Sailing School, where I'll spend 6 days on a 50-ft sailboat traveling around the island chain. The course, combined with the textbooks I've been reading, will prepare me to take the American Sailing Association written and on-the-water exams for certifications in Basic Keelboat Sailing, Coastal Cruising, and Bareboat Cruising with 35-45' boats for multi-day sailing trips in moderate weather conditions. This course is the first big step for me to figure out whether or not my heart is genuinely invested in an adventure like this, and will also yield me the proper documentation to continue to more advance sailing training.
As you may recall, I had toyed with the idea of creating a new blog and developing a new brand and format for my writing. Thinking more about it, I came to the realization that this website, this portal I have to the world, was still yielding a large amount of visitors - 30,000 unique visitors from around the globe in the last year, even without my writing anything new - meaning there's no good reason to abandon a web presence that has such a phenomenal audience to speak to. My intention, should you be interested in following along with another of my undertakings, will be to post about my day-to-day activities on the boat, as well as upload as many gorgeous photos of the Grenadine Islands as I can. This goal of mine to sail won't be as quick paced as the Appalachian Trail, and certainly won't have as many concurrent blog posts, but I hope will still be entertaining and something that will intrigue an audience to follow along. I spent the majority of last week revamping the site as a whole in an attempt to consolidate the information, clean it up, add details from my 2007 cross-country cycling adventure, and do my best to keep all the pertinent Appalachian Trail information readily accessible for those that access the site to research their own future trips.
I hope you've all been doing well. I finished the book about my A.T. hike in February, and at some point will be making the effort to find the right way to get it edited and published. As I've said before, the support that the group of family, friends, and relative strangers who followed this blog gave me throughout my Appalachian adventure was one of the most driving forces behind my hiking, writing, and photography while on the Trail. I hope that we can continue that as I turn my sights towards bigger seas.
Onward & upward,