I am thirty seven days away from my start and it is time for me to start begging for money! I really wish I did not have to do this but sadly everything costs money. I am pretty optimistic about the campaign and had a huge amount of help from many people putting it together. You are going to see a fair amount of emails and tweets from me in the next 45 days regarding fundraising, and for this I apologize. The more money I raise, though, will not only cover my expenses across the United States, but hopefully will also be more money donated to Child’s Play at the conclusion of my walk.
I want to give a huge thanks to Colin Campbell of IGN. He interviewed me yesterday about the walk and is publishing a story about me either today or Monday. I could not ask for better coverage and am pretty nervous about this. I thought I would be lucky to get a few interviews here and there during the walk and here I am already talking to IGN. Eep!
Things are about to be put into high gear during the weeks leading up to my departure. I have to find a good pair of starting shoes. The shoes I have been wearing are awesome but sadly not at all water resistant. I would even go as far as to call them water absorbent. So I shall have to find something else.
I am going to start checking and re-checking all of my gear on a weekly basis. You can never be too prepared. On Monday I am going to post an itemized list of everything I am taking with me so far. This way if I am forgetting anything obvious maybe someone out there can give me suggestions. Thanks in advance to anyone who took the time to look at my indiegogo campaign!
I must apologize upfront as it seems I have misplaced my phone. It was turned off during the time of surgery and never turned back on. It has to be around here somewhere but I have yet to locate it. Sadly this means you miss out on the surgery pictures that were taken, one of which included me in a smashing hospital gown and hair net, which is odd considering I have no hair – a fact that seemed lost on the nice hospital staff who made me wear it anyway. They were kind enough overall, but did not seem to understand my unique flavor of humor while I was anxiously awaiting to be sedated so they could cut into my knee. It is an attitude I like to describe as “charmingly uncooperative.”
It got to the point (and I must admit I am a bit proud of this) that the nice doctor in charge of my drugs actually ninja-dosed me with Valium. I was joking with a nurse about never being able to clog dance again and suddenly my IV line was burning. I turned to look, saw her pumping a syringe into the line and I poignantly stated “I take umbrage at your subterfuge, madam!” Actually, that is what I wanted to say. What I actually said was “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!” Then she told me to relax, and I said ok.
The next thing I knew was Dr. Pepper. A word on Dr. Pepper and surgery. It is without a doubt the best thing you will ever taste in your life the moment you wake up from surgery. Its complex blend of 23 flavors synergizes very well with the after effects of anesthesia and pain medication so that you taste each flavor separately and they all taste like joy, pure, blissful, fizzy joy. If you ever go under general anesthesia, I recommend you have one waiting.
So the deed is done and I am happy to report that it went well. The worst part was the itching of the bandage which I was supposed to keep on for 48 hours. I made it to about hour 38 and tore it off in the middle of the night and slept better for it. I am already off crutches, am using a cane a bit for support but that too shall be cast aside within a day or two. By March 10th I shall be able to skip; I won’t mind you, but I at least I’ll have the option!
I am also happy to report that my website is now just Walkinggamer.com. Although if you still use the WordPress URL it will re-direct you to the new one.
And here I thought getting to the starting line would be relatively easy. To add a bit of spice to the story I am going to have knee surgery tomorrow. The blog post I made before about my knee acting up has led to a few doctor’s appointments that have shown that my cartilage is torn… again.
I asked the doctor why it keeps doing this and he told me I chose my grandparents poorly. At least he has a sense of humor over this; I found I have lost mine. Hopefully I will find it again. Not all of his news was bad, however. He said I could walk across the country on the tear that I have and it would not get any worse. It would hurt, but I have come to expect that a venture such as this will come with a certain level of pain.
But why do that if we can fix it? So we are, and the doctor said with physical therapy and an effort on my part I should have no issue stepping off the beach on March 10th. He said he is going to be my “pit crew.” All I need is a quick tune up and he will push me out onto the track. I told you he had a sense of humor. And anyway, these blog posts were getting boring. I was running out of material leading up to my departure. I just had to go and make things more interesting.
So expect a running account of the surgery and my recovery to shortly follow. Let’s do this.
I just noticed it has been eight days since I made an update to this site. Time does seem to fly. I do have some very valid excuses for this and a few not so valid.
1- I’m a movie star! This past weekend saw the filming of the video for my Indiegogo campaign which I am planning to launch on Feb 1st. I would like to give a huge thank you to Kevin Jennings and Mya Riemer of “Bird in Sun Productions” for spending their weekend helping me with this. Their enthusiasm for the project was amazing and the rough cuts they have sent me have already far exceeded my expectations. Had I shot the video myself, it would have just been me blabbering into a webcam. Their work is much more interesting.
2- I have had a few doctor’s appointments concerning my knee to make sure it is in the best shape it can be in before the start.
3- The return of Frankenankle! Elika is now out of her cast and into a walking boot! Her recovery is going much better than expected. She can already put a tiny bit of weight on her leg and starts PT today.
4- Gear research! I keep thinking I am done with gear although I suppose I never will be. Every time I think I am set something else is suggested or thought of that needs to be researched and then decided on and I tend to over research things. Today or tomorrow, probably tomorrow, I am going to do a “If I were to leave today” post and gather everything I have and pack it up and see how it goes.
5- Stomach bug! I got food poisoning or a stomach bug and it knocked me out of commission for a good two days. I am feeling much better this morning.
6- Chivalry! Brandon and I discovered Chivalry on Steam and have become a bit addicted to it. For an indie, first-person, medieval combat deathmatch game it is very fun. There is a bit of a learning curve but we are almost over that. Brandon said it is an excellent blend of twitch gameplay and strategic combat, which is very true. Unlike BLOPS or Halo you have to think how best to approach an opponent when you wade in with sword and shield instead of just going for the pew pew pew!
7- Lastly my father brought to my attention several apps that reward exercise through donations to charitable organizations. I am looking into these but for anyone reading this who goes for a daily jog… hey, every little bit adds up.
When I was a child I got caught in a thunderstorm of truly epic proportions. I was arrogant enough to think I could outrun it on my bike. I was wrong. I had to hide under a tree, huddled and soaked as thunder, rain and wind danced around me. This memory is one that I think about almost daily.
A thunderstorm draws warm, moist air into it, even from places it has not yet reached and, if it is big enough, sometimes from a pretty long way off. This leaves an area with dry warm air which can be pretty still… for air. This is what causes the feeling of a “calm before the storm.”
I felt it the day of that storm while riding my bike and I feel it again now sitting here writing, only this time the storm is exactly sixty days off. In two months I start my walk across the United States. I can feel the storm coming.
When I started this five months ago it seemed little more than a happy daydream. I started walking every day and pouring over maps at night. It was exciting and fun. Then I started researching gear and it grew a tiny little bit out of the realm of daydream and into the realm of reality. Then I bought my first piece of gear and that shift grew. Then I told family and friends, purchased nearly all my gear, got Child’s Play on board and now I am here two months away and the daydream has nearly morphed into complete reality.
Suddenly two months does not seem like enough time to prepare, but the funny thing is you can only be so prepared for something like this. Eventually you just have to take that first step off the beach.
So, I can feel the calm before the storm although I cannot yet see the clouds. I suppose comparing my walk to a thunderstorm might seem a bit ominous and foreboding but I will share with you a little secret. That soaked child huddled under a tree years ago was laughing and yelling with joy with each booming clap of thunder… I love thunderstorms.
I wanted to write a post today but now that I am here I keep getting distracted by Twitter. It is shocking how fast one incorporates social media into their lives. For a self-confessed gamer and technophile I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the scary, wide world of socializing online. The irony here is not lost on me. For a venture such as this walk though social media is not only a good idea, it is a must. It is key. I have found over the months though that I scream and kick much less now if at all. I think I rather enjoy it to be honest. And that is it I am afraid… my well today is very shallow but one must know their limitations. Trying to force a creative process results in abominations. So here are some random pictures I have taken over the years.
I can now exhale. There was a decent chance the walk would have to be pushed back due to Elika’s broken ankle. Yesterday brought news that her recovery time is much better than expected so March 10this still a go and just two months away. The anticipation is driving me a bit batty.
So, happy new year! I must admit I have never placed much stock in the transition of one year to the next. I was doing dishes when the clock struck midnight. I did manage to give a heartfelt “woo!” while scrubbing a plate of buffalo chicken dip. I wish I could be as excited as those people in Times Square. They seem a jolly lot. And even if I do not celebrate the progression of a calendar, this is the year I attempt to walk across the country.
I am asked two questions a lot. Why are you doing this? My short answer is what I say on my home page. I talk about Tolkien and self-discovery. That is true, but in my heart I know it to be a simple truth. There is a complex personal truth to that question that I have not shared. It is difficult to verbalize. I am not even sure how to say it other than I am doing this for me. I need to do this for myself. Maybe one day I will find a voice that allows me to better explain it.
Which brings me to the second question and the title of this post. What if I fail? I have given this question too much thought and yet it still lingers in my head nagging at me. I of course do not wish to fail and have no intention of doing so, but it is a possibility. I think it depends on the nature of the failure. If I am injured and forced to stop, I can accept that although the disappointment would be crushing. It would be the same if some emergency drew me back home. After all, these two scenarios do not rule out making another attempt.
Failure due to difficulty is not an option. After all, that is the point, isn’t it? I am not attempting this because it is easy. I cannot stop due to a string of bad luck or sore muscles or the desire to lay down in my own bed. I will guard myself against such a failure fiercely. I hope that makes sense to you. But look what I have discovered already about myself! I say I want self-discovery on this walk and it seems I am already getting it, and I have yet to take my first step.