4/1/2011 - Saying goodbye to my family was the hardest thing I can remember doing. The days leading up to my departure were tough, but I tried to spend all of my time with JoAnna and the kids. We also spent time with friends, but during those last days I’d almost rather fly under the radar since those final moments are just awkward. Others don’t quite know how to act and I was pretty much in a zoned out world. The final night before I left I put Emily and Jordan to bed. They both dealt with the sad emotions differently with smiles, distant looks and distractions. I held each one in their beds and told them it was ok to be sad, which in both cases helped them cry. We held each other crying for some time and then I said goodbye. It was good to have that emotional bond, rather than holding it in to come out in some other form later. JoAnna then drove me to the airport while our friend, Jessica, came over to stay at the house while the kids slept. I had to go early to pick-up my satellite phone since there was an issue with their delivery system. I got there and the phone never arrived, so now I won’t have a satellite phone for this 2 month expedition! Not cool by any means. JoAnna and I were pretty quiet on the drive; what could we say. We held each other for a long time at the departure terminal sidewalk and then I dragged my 2 60lb expedition bags to the EVA counter. JoAnna stayed parked on the corner for a few minutes where we exchanged sad glances. The next thing I knew she was running toward me in the airport. I left my stuff and ran toward her and we hugged and kissed. It was like something from a movie……but better. It was tough saying goodbye, but now we’re on the other side of it and can focus on what needs to be done.
Travel The 13 hour flight to Taipei was a good chance to catch up on sleep and movies that I would have no interest in otherwise. Chris Rose (INX) and I then flew to Bangkok, spent 1.5 hours in customs and then met up with Dennis Broadwell (Mountain Gurus) at the hotel. We walked around town, got some food, jumped out of a moving tuk tuk in traffic and went to bed early to combat the jet lag. But of course I was wide awake at 1am. Similar to acclimatizing to altitude, you can’t force your body to recover from jet lag.I’m feeling healthy and mentally prepared for what lies ahead. It’s interesting to study the psychology in preparing for a major climb. It reminds me of studying for a final exam, where you know you know the information but you never quite feel 100% confident when you sit down to take it. I have been training for this climb my entire life, I know the route, have a plan mapped out and I’m in the best shape of my life yet there’s a sense of whether or not I’m completely ready? I guess time will tell. In times of doubt I tend to just power through it.