An audio and video podcast of my trip hitchhiking around the world by sea.
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Set to Sail

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA.

Good morning, people of the world. It is Friday, 11-30 and we are about to set sail for the Bahamas. I don’t have a lot of time to write, so I’ll do what I can.

First of all, thank you- thank you- thank you! I have received an overwhelming number of emails, notes and messages wishing me luck on this adventure. Which leads me to the first lesson of the trip, a lesson I realized before even leaving Flagstaff: It’s good to let the people you care about know you care about them. One of the first things you realize when you are leaving for a big trip is just how many people there are in your life that you care about. Not knowing when you are going to see you friends or family again stirs those feelings you know you have… just don’t realize how deeply you do. Saying good bye is tough, but I think worth it, if only for the fact that you are reminded (and hopefully expressive) of just how much you dear those around you are. Ok, now put your hankies away and let’s get back to business.

Another thing that became clear recently is how little anyone knows just what I am doing. “Sail the world” is kind of a broad statement, I know. But the truth is I don’t entirely know what I’m doing. And when it comes to sailing I know NOTHING (a third thing that has become clear). 3 weeks ago I still had a job and sailing was just an idea. Today I am at dock in Florida getting ready to hop on a 33′ Pearson Van Guard sailboat, with Capitan Dan and one other friend leaves on December 4.

Here’s what I do know. I ran into Dan 4-5 weeks ago at a friends house. Dan and I went to college together but he was younger so we were not much more than acquaintances. We hung out before my last “round the world adventure” (, in May of 2006. This was the first I’d seen Dan since then. He told me he was going to sail around the world and invited me to join. What’s funny is that now as I look back, I’m not entirely sure I was even invited to do the trip with him… but somehow that’s was the conclusion I reached. (Here’s a lesson for you… If ever inviting Derek to do something be VERY clear on just how involved you do or do NOT want him to be.) Anyway, I call Dan a couple weeks later to ask if he is serious, before I quit and turn down a couple great jobs. He says yes. I say yes. Bam! I’m in Florida about to sail.

Now for some your most common questions:

Where are you going? Well the goal is to literally sail around the world. But exactly what route is yet to be determined. Well get to the Bahamas and then we’ll see. The purpose of this trip is not just to sail around the world, but to make it meaningful as we do. Stop at countries. Get involved. Lend a hand here and there. There is no set route or schedule. Yesterday as we traveled from store to store, picking up supplies and looking at maps, I think we came to the conclusion we will travel through the Bahamas, sail around Cuba to Jamaica and then cut across to Central America. That’s the plan as of today.

How big is the boat? It’s funny how big this question was and how concerned everyone was when I didn’t know. But I finally found an to answer your question. The boat we are sailing on is a 33′ Pearson Van Guard (Google to find out more). There a great story about this too but to save time I will only mention that Dan traded his boat for this one with some guy he met maybe 3 weeks ago. The boat has already been around the world twice, in case you are wondering. Here’s another fun fact: top speed of the boat is 6 knots or approximately 7 miles an hour. Did I mention that is the TOP speed?

How often have you been sailing? Never. Not one day. Not one hour. Never. Am I nervous? A little, although I think this has all happened too fast to get too nervous. Ask me in 2 days. Already they are taking bets how long it will take before tossing my sea worthy cookies overboard.

How well do you know Dan? I would call him a good friend, although I really don’t know him all that well. We know each other from Grand Canyon University (represent!), but I think we were 3 years apart. I can say there are few people (if any) that I would rather do this with. He’s adventuresome, well traveled, qualified (experience and coast guard certified) and he appreciates a good prank on occasion. He also shares the drive to do something to better this world.

Are you excited/nervous/sad? Yes. Yes. Yes. Again, everything happened so quickly it is difficult to get my head around, but yes. I am excited just looking at maps puts a little wind in my sail. Nervous, for sure. Especially considering I’ve never sailed and don’t know if I get sea sick. The idea of 10 days without seeing land is also hard to wrap my head around. Sad, yes. To say goodbyes with out really knowing when I will see people again can choke a guy up. Even a tough cat like myself.

So, there it is. The last blog before setting sail. I’ll try to upload a couple pictures and some videos if I get a chance. Otherwise, I’ll post again once I get to the Bahamas.


1 Dawn Carey { 11.30.07 at 9:18 pm }

Hey Derek,
I was on the GCR Fam in Sept. I just wanted you to know that I think what you are doing is great. I”m sure you will be fine. This sounds like a very exciting trip and look forward to reading about it.
Take care,

2 George Martin { 12.02.07 at 10:52 am }

Good luck and Godspeed!

George from N.C.

3 Zen { 04.18.09 at 1:21 pm }

Hey buddy, you inspired me. I’ve been thinking of doing this for a long time, but it ain’t easy to leave everything behind and just go. The world needs more people like you and Dan – a drive to better this place. Do email me if you ever come by Western Australia, I’ll help in any ways I can.

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