When I get to Texas I will give up the bicycle and switch to boat. Every leg of my Adventure must be powered by my own body, and the Gulf of Mexico will be done paddling.
Here is what I fear most about the kayak trip.
- Running out of water. The first 200 miles after crossing into Mexican waters there will be no one. The first town is Tampico and until we reach that there’s nothing but deserted coastline. Not even farms. I always wondered about that on maps and now a more experienced kayaker has confirmed it. 200 miles could easily be 8-12 days of paddling and it will likely be the toughest part of the whole trip. Obviously, being alone heightens the risk in many ways but the most urgent one is water: we have to bring our own and ration carefully, with nowhere to take on more fresh water on the way.
- An accident. People have so many fears for me on this trip such as hurricanes, storms and cartels. We won’t be out in hurricane season, we will stay ashore if there are severe storms and the cartels just aren’t known for preying on kayakers. But every morning we are going to have to paddle fiercely to break through the surf and get out to sea, and every evening we will have to ride big waves back to shore like surfers. There’s so much potential for something to go wrong during these crucial, wind buffeted times—especially with rocky shores. It’s a matter of training and experience, knowing how to handle your kayak, but the training curve is steep.
- Personality conflict. This is the first leg of the Adventure where I’ll have co-adventurers and the idea of companionship sounds great. I’ve also been warned, and seen firsthand, how friendships can suffer under extreme stress. We will be living off rations, physically exhausted with daily discomfort and dangers. That makes people mentally tired and grumpy. Little things become big things. Everyone will look to me as the expedition organizer to keep things together. Will we get along?
These fears don’t hold me back. To me, fear is something to give you consideration: it says here are the issues you need to address. Right now is the time to make plans and preparations so that these risks will be minimized. We will learn to deal.
What I Want Most
Despite the above I look forward to this trip with happy excitement. There are many things I look forward to: days at the beach training, the thrill of riding a wave, paddling into small fishing towns, eating street food after dark, seeing dolphins leap beside me.
It will be good.
But of all the things I hope to see and experience on this trip, there’s only one thing I want the most:
I believe adventure is a life-changing practice, and I want to share it with others. There must be more people out there who have the bold or reckless spirit to commit themselves to the journey; who have a quest without, perhaps, a cause. How many times I’ve experienced great joy (or hardship) in private moments on the road—and wouldn’t the joys be sharper, the hardship lighter, with strong-hearted companions?
To adventure is not to find heaven, but to discover earth; it is to fall in love with our fickle, wonderful world and her many highs and lows.
I’d like to meet the kind of soul that takes a chance on the love affair.
Right now there are two individuals tentatively planning on joining me. That makes three of us putting paddles in the water this winter, three of us crossing the face of the sacred earth.
I wonder if there are more of us.
If you’re interested in joining the Adventure you should email me. We’re training in Corpus Christi, Texas this fall, then paddling 1,000 miles to Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. Interested? Email me at [email info removed—adventure is over!] Not sure yet? More information here.
Please tell others.