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  • Writer's pictureErin Spineto

The Growing to Do List

One of the hardest things about planning my four-day, single-handed sail through the Florida Keys this February is juggling of all the side projects associated with the trip. Not only do I have to plan normal travel arrangements like airplane tickets, reservations, and meals, but I have to plan for the aspects of the trip that make it more of an event.

There are blogs to write and websites to design and maintain. There is fundraising to do, sponsors to court, and thank you letters to write to the people who have really stepped up to help make this dream a reality.

And, of course, there is the book I’m writing, which unfortunately seems to take a backseat sometimes.

It has recently been in the back of my mind to capture this trip in a short documentary, so today I spent four hours researching how to write, plan, and film a documentary. I read books on Amazon. I checked out video blogs from the sailors currently racing the Velux 5 Oceans race to see the ins and outs of filming on a boat.

And I watched a documentary sponsored by No Limits about three diabetics who go on a kayaking trip to see how to incorporate diabetes into the story as I chronicle my four day journey on the sea. It turns out there is more to making a documentary than just doing something adventurous and turning on the camera while you do it.

A documentary should have a theme and a vision. It should have a plot and pacing. It should have beautiful camera work that does not rock up and down (how I am going to be able to pull that off in a boat, I have still to figure out.) And all of this has to be planned beforehand without actually knowing what is going to take place during the trip.

I have now added the following to my to-do list: interview family members and friends, write the plot, figure out how to upload videos while away from my home computer and how to handle a camera to get the best picture. And the worst part of this entire documentary idea is that for a good portion of the movie, I will be the only person on film.

Anyone who knows me will quickly tell you that this is pretty close to my worst nightmare. I hate to be filmed. I am shy and quiet and have a very hard time expressing myself in person. In writing, I have learned to open up and share, but in person I am still slow to speak.

To fix this, I have written out interview questions to ask myself during each portion of the trip hoping that this somehow magically lets me overcome my lifelong severe shyness and makes me into my daughter who could have eight hour conversations with the wall if she needed to.

The thing that this whole trip keeps teaching me, though, is that I still have plenty of room left to grow as a person. I do not have it all figured out. I have weaknesses. I have fears from childhood that need to be overcome. If you were to ask me what my worst fear is about this trip, just after being cast out to sea and set adrift in my life raft for sixty-six days, it would be having to speak in public with a microphone or to speak on camera. Actually that one would probably come first.

As a rational adult, I know it is not a reasonable fear. I know that no harm will come if I happen to let out to the world that I am a total dork, and I know that by challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone and forcing myself to do the things that I would naturally shy away from, I will gain new skills and lead a fuller life and hopefully, as an added bonus, I will provide a little bit of motivation for another person to get out there and lead a more adventurous life in the process, which I suppose makes it worth the risk.

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