Apologies for long radio silence - I had been posting my blogs via my mobile phone, but for some reason I lost my Gmail capability a few days ago. And I could probably have fixed it, but I was busy having fun and/or travelling. So there you go!
Today I arrived in foggy, frosty, England. The bottom half of the country was foggy - when we touched down at Gatwick Airport I thought we were still up in the clouds when suddenly we were on the runway, barely able to see as far as the wingtips in the thick fog. The top half of the country was frosty and sunny and beautiful in a very un-Mexican way.
It was an epic journey, involving 9 different stages and taking 42 hours. That's what happens when you book flights from an airport in the hope that your sailing trip will get you there in time - it always goes wrong. Still, nothing an 11-hour overnight bus ride can't put right.
And no matter how many planes, trains and automobiles were involved, it was important to get home to spend Christmas with my mother. This time last year I was bobbing around on the Atlantic, so I owed her one.
[Photo: me in Zihuatanejo bus station, 4:45am. Note sleeping Mexican in the background.]
As we cruise down the west coast of Mexico my mind is partly elsewhere, on a very different kind of ocean adventure. I am writing about the early days of the Atlantic Rowing Race - events that were taking place exactly 12 months ago. And I have a quandary.
The publishers that have expressed an interest so far want it to be a personal development book (formerly known as self-help) based on my adventure. This is fine with me - my 'I am what I am' guest column for the Sunday Times got a good enough response for me to know that the lessons I learned on the Atlantic have broader applications.
But how far to go in that direction? On the spectrum between Adventure at one end and Personal Devevlopment at the other, where should I position my story?
I don't want to preach - I know a few things that worked for me and they might work for others too - lessons about tackling big challenges, the value of perseverance, how to make difficult decisions, the importance of realistic expectations, and overcoming obstacles. But readers are smart. I don't have to bludgeon you over the head with my home-spun philosophies. So do I just tell my story and leave you to draw your own conclusions?
My current plan is to tell the story and add a few short bullet points at the end of each chapter summarizing what I learned. Let me know what you think!
Blog sent via my cellphone
[Photo: Eric against the backdrop of Jangada's spinnaker]
We really are off sailing now. We leave at lunchtime today. There was an influx of people yesterday - the Tall People (Jim, 6ft 5in, and Cathy, 6ft 2in) arrived mid-afternoon, and the High People (Scott and Laurie, who met each other on Everest) arrived last night. We had a First Night Party at a ridiculously cheap Mexican eatery - huge quantities of margarita and shrimp for about GBP 10 each.
And now we're off out to sea. At last.
My laptop has died - the same hardware fault that my previous MacBook had, which causes it to power down at random. Plus I'm unlikely to have internet access as we harbour-hop down the coast. So I'll be picking up emails via my cellphone, so no large attachments please!
At this time last year Roz was rowing the Atlantic. From time to time she had problems with her electronics and was unable to put her message on her website. In a phone call she would ask me to do it for her.
This is happening again - not because she is rowing, but because her computer is ailing. She has asked me to mention that the Geographical Magazine (Royal Geographical Society) for this month, December, has an item on page 101 entitled "Explorer's Essentials" written by her. It is a list of 10 items that were invaluable to her on her voyage across the Atlantic. Her Kakadu golf gloves are at number 6 on the list. The picture shown with that article is this one of Gloves with Holes.