Friday, June 20, 2008

pre-planning: the broad strokes

(fyi, a YouTube search of "South America" will bring you mostly soccer vids, but about the 7th one down will bring you a foot-long centipede. I really hope I don't have to include these in my on-the-road diet.)

So aside from adding to my current menu, I also did some very basic research on South America last night and today. I was hoping to get further, but I got really distracted by all the National Geographic vid's on YouTube, mainly involving "something" versus "something", such as the one where they film the same centipede above attacking and eating a tarantula.

Anyway, I kind of expected nature to be the end of me on this trip, seeing as creatures are apparently 20 times the size that they're supposed to be. However, just in case the gods don't decide I need to die by their hands, I certainly don't want man to. And for someone growing up in the burbs in the South, I know very little about the political history down there, other than you're apparently issued a junior pistola on your 7th birthday for the upcoming protest.

And so the cursory to-do list starts like this:

- Language: Become fluent in basic Spanish, and learn as much slang and dialects as possible

- Income: Begin removing myself from my painting business, start automating, subcontracting, and outsourcing as much as possible to turn my income on auto-pilot. I'm also going to have to clean up some debt and put all that on auto-payment as well. Collection companies are that much pissier when they have to make a $20 international call to harass you about your $50 electric bill.

- Health: Get knee, foot, and shoulder past injuries looked at. This might actually be a trip deal-breaker, as I've neglected getting the proper attention for these for several years. I imagine I'll need to get in touch with my holistic side to address some of these ancient injuries.

- Eyesight: So that I can be as independent from glasses or contacts as much as possible, I'll need to begin alternative eyesight-improvement methods, like the See Clearly program. This gets it's own category because my sight is so horrible

- Diet: I've been wanting to go pure raw these days (currently a part-time vegan), and with all the injuries I need to heal, as well as the energy I'll need to train, learn, etc, this seems like the time...

- Exercise: I've really become a poor excuse for a sack of muscles these days. I'll blame it on the business agendas. This should also boost the energy levels. Jesus, I'm gonna have to be one of those guys grunting out their demons at the gym now, huh?

- Education: In general obviously, the geography, the politics, the environment, the climate, the holidays, the culture. More specifically, I want to be able to have the foraging backup plan in case I get caught between towns with a flat tire, and I'd rather not end up being the inspiration for "Into the Wild 2".

- Bike Training/Education: So I've done the city-biking routine, but I am fully aware that this is completely different, from the mentality to the endurance. I'll need to purchase another bike as well, as mine was stolen last fall. I figure it will be the first "training" bike that I get for the trip, so that I can learn all the hard lessons on a cheaper version, then opt for the $2K upgrade a few months before I leave. To get my body used to the challenge, I'm guessing that I'll start with small trips around the city, then the outer boroughs, then to Long Island, then upstate, and so on. They have bike clubs all over the place that I'll probably join too, and who knows, maybe I'll meet someone who's as nuts as I am, and I'll have a traveling buddy too.

Liz told me last night that anything could happen between now and then, and because she's nominated herself as my relationship coach, this clearly meant that I might have a few child support payments to make. Eh...just put it on the auto-payment tab, and hopefully I'll make it back for the 1st birthday.

But as soon as she said it, I realized how lucky I am to be in the position that I'm in to take this trip: I'm single, no kids, no mortgage, no "boss" or "job", no more military obligations. I'm pretty much the only thing that could possibly sabotage taking this trip, and I'm eager to find out how I'll do just that.

Of course, I can't leave this entry without posting the centipede/tarantula battle royale:

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