Well it’s got to start someplace. On a subconscious level it undoubtedly began well before seeing the advert below, posted by Paul on UKSKGB, but for now, at least, it will do nicely as a starting point.
I looked at the ad for some time, and did nothing. I then mentioned it to my wife.
She turned to me and said, “You should do it”. The last time she uttered this sentence was the precursor to upping sticks for a year and a half of working and travelling around the antipodes followed by a marriage proposal and four fantastic children.
In most folks eyes the biggest obstacle of this expedition had just been overcome – (the question mind you, still beggars to be asked, is if she wanted to just get shot of me for some peace and quiet) – so I sent Paul a tentative note to ask him if he was still looking for a partner to do the trip with. As far as I knew he may well have found someone to join him. But he hadn’t.
It wasn’t long before I was tucked into devouring Bill Taylor’s book about his exploits some 25 years previous.
Questions were beginning to accumulate. I had no doubt that I was physically capable of achieving the circumnavigation. One of the biggest questions was whether it was a good idea to embark on an expedition such as this with a person who, at this time, was a total stranger to me. I reasoned that many folk embark upon trips, journeys, businesses or whatever, as the best of friends and end up falling out in dramatic ways, due to pressure; strain; cold; tiredness; pain; hunger; divergent objectives; the list goes on. I concluded that it wasn’t such a big deal that we didn’t know each other it was more a question of whether we could get on and overcome the challenges that we would both inevitably face – that was part of the adventure.
After a few phone calls talking over concerns and objectives and e-mails that resembled some kind of bizarre kayak dating site, we decided to progress to the next base.
I was committed at the very least to meet up in the flesh and go for a paddle together and see if we at least could get on before the start. The ball had started to roll.