As the preparation finishes and the departure day gets closer and closer I have my feelings divided between a sense of childish excitement and the intrinsic need for a very rational analysis of what went well and what I could have done better. I find myself making infinite lists of gear, places, Japanese phrases and things to consider; assembling and disassembling kit looking for the best storage solutions; and wondering how Gui is dealing with all this.
My first big conclusion is that organising something is always a bigger task than what I originally foresee. This seems to be a cliche in every expedition or big travel account unless the goal was specifically to be away from all the planning. Unfortunately for us we have limited time to be in Japan and we cannot afford to simply wander aimlessly and still fulfil our initial goal of cycling its full length so we really do need to plan rather carefully. There are good and bad things with this approach but I think that besides the cultural experience the sense of achievement of the initial goal is very much present in our minds and that will give us a very good way of measuring our performance and help with the emotional stability of the team.
Lately I have also been focused and very much interested on how the relationships in the team are going to evolve under pressure and such an alien scenario. I have known Gui since we were both four months old and I consider us quite good friends but I can safely say that none of us was ever put under a similar situation so we are both quite curious on how things are going to evolve. Maybe attending his talk and speaking with Mark de Rond made me more aware of the challenges that may await us and made me quite curious about the mental state of my teammate.
Finally, before this post becomes too long: in terms of gear and my physical training I’m quite confident that there won’t be problems but my Japanese is not nearly as good as I wanted by now.