23 December 2012

Month Five in Colombia and Counting

Still in Cartagena. To explain, allow me to make a short story long.

Me and my dad on the aft deck of m/v Andante, 1979
When I was 11 years old, my parents took me out of school, and we embarked on what my family has since called "the boat trip." (I wrote about it briefly on the "forebears" page of our website.). Many years later, when I was grown up and in the Navy, my dad felt compelled to write a book about the boat trip. I found the idea of my dad as an author to be astonishing, since I never thought he had much to say - at least, as I recalled, he never had much to say to me. But a whole book he did indeed write. After reading the manuscript, I told him he needed an editor and that he used too much passive voice.

Now many more years have passed, and so has my dad. My mom is turning 83, and Ean and I have embarked on our own crazy "boat trip": let's call it Boat Trip 2.0. I find myself, more than ever, wondering about my parents and "their" boat trip. I wonder what it meant to them. I wonder if they had any inkling of the impact it would have on their daughter's life. I wonder why my dad felt compelled to write it out, so many years afterward. And now I'm wondering what Boat Trip 2.0 will mean, to me and Ean. My first boat trip had such a drastic influence on me. Who will I be, after Boat Trip 2.0? Who will Ean be, and how will we be, together?

We invited my mom to spend Christmas with us here in Cartagena. We found a sweet little one-bedroom apartment for her in the Walled City, and we have all been working to put together an updated version of my dad's book. The book, which my dad accurately entitled "Our Powerboat Experience," was self-published, and he never actually tried to sell it to anyone - he and my mom gave copies to their friends and to anyone else who expressed an interest. Apparently, many of his readers wished that the book included pictures and a map. This, definitely, we can do. All the boat trip pictures have been digitized, and we sorted through them and chose the best ones. Ean has started the painstaking process of restoring them with Photoshop. Actually, a lot of them were kinda crappy to begin with, so he is trying not only to restore them but to enhance them. We're thinking that we can figure out how to do an e-book that has a map with hyperlinks, so readers can link directly from the map to the text.

Besides the visual aids, there are other stories and details that my mom wishes had been included, and I'm asking her to fill in the gaps. For me, it's another shot at understanding the thoughts and feelings that motivated my parents to seek out such adventure. And a reminder of what made me.

My mom departs on January 1. Shortly thereafter, we will be headed for Panama.

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