16 July, 2005

Nothing like taking a journey down the streets of New York the night before leaving for an around the world voyage.

Some of my favorite residents.

If you can find this place, it's worth the search.

A typical bunch of New York posters.

A remnant from the past.

With a message from the future.

16 July, 2005

Day 0. It's begun. Sort of. Although tomorrow is the official day when I begin to head east until I wind up back where I started. But today is the day I officially start to act like I'm traveling. That means being all packed, taking pictures, shooting footage, and keeping a log.

I won't say blog now or ever. I'm not entirely sure why I hate that word so much; probably something to do with the fact that everyone suddenly feels the compelling need to share the most mundane things with the entire world and I can barely summon up the interest to keep track of the day to day activities in my own life. Years ago (like 3) people would keep diaries for themselves. They were meant to be private. Now the most trivial thought or activity is there for the entire world to see. Who they have a crush on, what they want to do with their life, what the mall was like yesterday, what they REALLY think of someone who apparently will never stumble upon these thoughts through Google. People put their home addresses, class schedules, pictures of their family, and more on these things/ Stalking used to be a challenge; now, thanks to these lamebrains, it can be an automated task.

This is an example of the kind of tangent I'm liable to waltz into while typing away during my travels. I'll try to keep it under control. Let's focus on what I'm actually going to be doing.

Sunday I embark on the Queen Mary 2, the largest ocean liner in the world. I'm a bit embarrassed by this as this is something that's well beyond my means but it's something I've always wanted to try so, fuck it, I'm going to do it anyway. I won't fit in with all of the rich snobs on this boat who I understand actually expect me to dress up for dinner. Oh, I'll dress up. It probably won't be what they expect, however..

Of course I realized after writing this that it's very likely I'll become friendly with some of these people who will learn about what I'm doing and wind up reading this very piece. So please don't take offense, fellow boat travelers. It's all about clashing cultures and learning various things along the way. I'm sure I'll be surprised.

The idea is to travel from New York to New York by circumnavigating the globe without making use of air travel. Hence the QM2. Along the way, I'll be working on the latest 2600 Films project, which I'll get into in a little more depth onced I'm actually on the boat and have confirmed that I haven't forgotten the camera. I'm also going to be doing two radio shows a week, each in a different fashion. "Off The Wall" will air on Tuesday nights on WUSB and over the net. That program will be comprised of a recorded CD that I will have produced from wherever I happen to be a day or so in advance and then (hopefully) uploaded to the station. "Off The Hook" on the other hand will be live and it will sound like I'm on the phone because I most certainly will be. The "on the road" shows are always a challenge since I have to be a host without seeing anyone and there are often technical issues of every sort imaginable. It makes for exciting and sometimes exasperating radio.

I'm due to arrive in England on Saturday morning. I'll spend some time in London and then make my way over to What The Hack, the once-every-four-years Dutch outdoor hacker conference the following weekend. After that, it's eastward by train to Berlin, Warsaw, Minsk, and Moscow where I'll be meeting up with some friends for another adventure I've always wanted to take part in: the Trans Siberian Express. This train (the longest line in the world) will take us to Mongolia, where the plan is to ride jeeps around in the Gobi Desert and environs. That should be pretty memorable on many levels. After this, it's on to China, first Beijing and then Shanghai. I realize it's the most populated country in the world so a one sentence description is completely inadequate insofar as summing up my expectations. But for now I have nothing else to say about it other than the fact that from Shanghai I'll catch a boat to Osaka, Japan and from there hopefully a ballet train to Tokyo. I've heard much about these ballet trains and I hope to finally see for myself how they're able to incorporate dance into the narrow corridors of a train. And then, another really unusual leg of the journey as I cross the Pacific Ocean but not on a luxury liner. In stark contrast, I'll be one of a maximum of eight passengers on a freighter hauling God knows what to California. And once back in the States, the final and probably scariest part of the trip: Amtrak.

So now you (and I) have a sense of what's ahead. This is what you'll be subjected to if you continue to read these pages. Today is pretty much a test of the system and an attempt to get into the mindset of traveling, typing, and taking pictures. The three T's of travel. Travel also begins with T. And a cup of tea is exactly what I will start looking for now, here in the city of New York. Cheerio.