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Pre-trip Q&A

May 24th, 2011

As the trip has grown closer, people have been talking to me more about it.  I’ve begun to notice some common questions emerge, so I thought I’d try addressing them here.

Q: How are you going to find hockey games?

A: Finding hockey games is going to be a huge logistical challenge.  My strategy will be to tap the people on various hockey forums for information about game times and arena locations in each city.  I’m not picky about the games I play.  Open hockey or pond hockey would be fine.  So would serving as a sub in a league game.  I’d even be okay with skating around during a stick-and-puck session.  I don’t have the right gear for roller hockey or street hockey, so I’m going to make an arbitrary rule that ice must somehow be involved.  Hmmm… On that line of thought, I’ll make up a few rules on the spot.  To qualify as me having “played hockey” in a state or province, I must have skated on ice in full goalie gear, faced at least one shot, and made at least one save.

Q: How long is the trip going to last?

A: Six months, give or take.  That brisk clip affords only a couple of days in each state.  I see this trip as more of a “sampler” than an in-depth experience.  I can always return to interesting areas and explore them in greater detail.

Q: Are you getting any sponsors?

A: I toyed with the idea of sponsorship and have talked with several large companies, but I haven’t found the right combination of relevance, philosophical fit, and mutual benefit.  The fact that I can afford to do the trip without sponsors has dampened my motivation to find them.  That said, I’m open to sponsorship if the right company comes knocking.  (I wonder if the IRS would let my company sponsor me?)

Q: What are you going to do after the trip?

A: The trip hasn’t even started, and I’m already getting asked this all of the time.  In fact, I get asked about my post-trip plans more than anything else.  The short answer is: I’m not sure.  The longer answer is that I will continue working on saving the world from blurry photos during the trip, and my hope is that I’ll have figured out a viable business model by the time 2012 rolls around.  It’s also possible that I’ll write about my trip, perhaps in book form, but that’s largely dependent on a compelling narrative emerging from my travels.

Q: You’re bringing your hockey gear in your car?  How are you going to deal with the smell?

A: Yes, I’m bringing my hockey gear with me in my car.  Yes, hockey gear tends to smell bad, and goalie gear has a reputation of smelling particularly ripe.   I plan to deal with this by getting a clothespin custom-fitted for my nose.  Seriously though, a combination of Febreze, diligently airing out my gear after games, and occasional spins in those specialized hockey gear cleaning machines should do the trick.

There are also some questions that I haven’t been asked except in my inner monologue.  I’ll give those a crack, too:

Q: What is your biggest fear?

A: Moose.  One or more.  I am terrified of hitting one with my car, since such an encounter at highway speeds would almost certainly destroy Sam and might gravely injure or kill me.  Coming in at a close second is my fear of having my stuff stolen while I’m parked somewhere.  Everything is insured, and I’m not bringing anything particularly valuable anyway, but replacing the missing items and repairing the damage would be a huge headache.

Q: What are your biases going into this trip?

A: I wish I could say that I was going into this adventure as unbiased as Lady Justice, but that simply isn’t the case.  I admit that I don’t have a particularly high opinion of the Deep South at the moment.  The heat, humidity, history of racial tension, and prioritization of religion over science have all rubbed me the wrong way.  Their relative lack of ice hockey doesn’t help matters.  I will, however, strive to keep an open mind, and I’m not opposed to having my perspectives changed by experiences or facts. For what it’s worth, these appear to be similar to the biases that Peter Jenkins had about Alabama when he began his walk across America.  Over the course of his trip, he grew to enjoy the South.  Perhaps I will as well.

Q: What place are you most excited about visiting?

A: This is a hard one, but I’d have to say Alaska.  Big mountains, large animals, long summer days — it’s all very intriguing.  Despite my romantic view of the state, I have no plans to stay there, and I have no illusions about “finding myself” or proving something to somebody.  And why in the world would I want to get away from society forever?  I love being in the woods, sure, but I have yet to encounter a tree that grows goalie pads.  Chris McCandless was a fool.

  1. May 24th, 2011 at 18:00 | #1

    Have you considered letting the hockey gear ride top-side? As long as it was tied down and relatively covered from inclement weather and bug impacts, it might actually help the smell situation.

  2. Jeff
    May 24th, 2011 at 19:25 | #2

    That might end up being the optimal solution. Hockey bags are fairly water-resistant to begin with, so it wouldn’t take too much effort to sufficiently protect the gear within from the elements. It might even be possible to rig the bag open on nice days for 70 mph drying. 🙂

  3. George
    June 16th, 2011 at 11:59 | #3

    Huntsville, AL, actually has pretty popular college and minor league hockey teams. There’s also an amateur hockey league, but apart from its existence I know nothing about it. If Huntsville happens to be your Alabama destination, you’re welcome to stay at my place.

    I had the same biases about the South, which made me pretty wary about moving here. Now, having lived in New England, the Midwest, and the South, I don’t believe there’s too much difference among U.S. regions regarding racial and religious views, not in this day and age.

    But you’re right about the heat and humidity; avoid traveling through the South in July or August if it can be helped.

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