Well the time has come to start the final preparations for our leave date. The boat is complete and ready to go, so now the little things. Checking off the final lists, going over the last bits of gear that need to be packed, filling up water bladders and the cooler, and most importantly, saying our “see you laters” to our family. Last week was spent grocery shopping, checking over gear, and doing a final packing of the boat. We fit everything we need for the next 6 months and 8 days worth of food snugly in their proper hatches. Fortunately we planned this out so that there would be lots of time to take care of such things, and for that I am feeling very grateful. I was able to take my time when thinking and planning for the preparations. There is no rushing around feeling stressed or forgetful. When Kyle and I first planned this journey over a year ago, we made a dream board; in the center of our dream board we had written “No Schedule and No Rush”. While we do have a leave date, it’s flexible and most importantly we aren’t feeling rushed! So I’d say we are on the right track with that goal- which is just wonderful.
I have gone through an array of emotions this week, anticipation and excitement mostly, but every once in a while fear creeps in. There will be some moments where my brain starts on a “what if” tangent. What if something happens to the boat, what if someone gets sick, what if we don’t have the right gear, what if I forgot something, etc. But these fortunately only last for a few moments and I, or Kyle, is easily able to calm me down. What if something happens to the boat? Well, we fix it. We have spares, supplies, and a huge support team. We are smart, capable, and we built the boat so we know it inside and out. So if something happens to the boat, we deal with it. If we get sick, well I went a little crazy on the first aid kit so I’m sure something in there will help. Otherwise, there are towns with doctors along most of the river. And just as quickly as the fear crept up, it dissolves and I go back to being thrilled for the upcoming adventure.
Due to the array of emotions I’ve experienced, I have noticed that fear is an interesting emotion. While it often feels very real, I have found that most of the time I am creating the fear, feeding it. I view fear and danger as completely different things- danger is real, it is something we should pay attention to and make decisions about. Whereas fear seems to be something that we create in our own heads. I have taken a situation and completely over analyzed it until I became fearful of it. It’s strange. I am slowly learning to recognize this habit and beginning to change it; to recognize when I am feeling fearful of something, and to then take that as an obstacle I need to overcome. In doing this I have grown tremendously and I am extremely thankful for that. I really think I would still be in Salt Lake City, where I am from, doing the same things I had always done, if I hadn’t learned to overcome my fears. Now I am definitely not perfect at this, but in learning to face my fears and to get past them, I feel I am experiencing life just as I have always wanted to. I take risks, dream big, sometimes fail, but always continue on. There is quote by Naguib Mahfouz which states: Fear does not prevent death. It prevents life. And while this is a bit dramatic, it really rings deep to me. When I take a few minutes to really contemplate that way of thinking, I can’t help but laugh a little. He’s right! If we live our lives in fear of death, of failure, or of what could go wrong, we might really miss out in life. Whereas if we face it and do it anyway even if it’s scary- while yes we might get hurt along the way, we might try, we might fail– but at least when we look back on our lives, we will have experienced life fully and not look back and wish we would have. So while Kyle and I get ready to depart on this 6 month journey, when fears arise and I start to question my decision, I push past and remember that I want to experience life. I want to see places, meet people, and challenge myself. With everything I do this last week before we leave I try to take my time, to enjoy all the little moments of getting ready, because they are part of the adventure as well.
My parents arrived on Friday evening to spend the weekend with us and to see us off with Kyle’s family. It has been so wonderful having them here and showing them around Wisconsin. Today was spent hanging out with Kyle’s grandparents, sister, and parents. We all had a joyful time together laughing, telling stories, and enjoying the beautiful weather. I am so grateful that my parents made the trip here, as they were a big part of the build, so I am glad they get to see us off.
Kyle and I will be taking off on Monday morning from Interstate Park and we couldn’t be more eager to get going. We wanted to again say thank you to everyone who has helped us get to this point. This has been a long long journey with lots of learning, growth, and anticipation. We honestly could not have done it without the support and encouragement from our friends and families. I started to throw names out there, but it would just go on too long. You all know who you are—in fact, if you are reading this right now, you are supporting us- so THANK YOU!! We love you all so very much. Life is so wonderful and we can’t wait to share our journey. Stay tuned for updates along the river!!
With love, gratitude, and excitement,
Skipper and Flipper