I remember three English teachers from high school. English teacher number one was notorious for giving out terrible grades. I think I got mostly D's in that class. English teacher number two, after I submitted a particularly fine analysis of The Scarlet Letter, asked me if I had copied it off of the internet. I got a B on the paper which means that she either didn't believe me or it wasn't that good after all. And English teacher number three who claimed that the reason why I did better in some classes then I did in others was because of an early traumatic childhood experience that I may not remember. I am not making this up.
In writing this blog I was hoping to get feedback from a person of English teacher status or greater so I thought back to my high school days, now 9 years past. I couldn't cope with what I imagine might be English teacher number one’s honesty “D- Consider instead a job as a garbage truck driver.” Or even worse, the psychoanalysis into my writings that comes from Number Three: “Dov, this writing tells me that you need to to prove yourself to your peers as a way of compensating for the fact that you still wet your bed.” That leaves English teacher number two.
“Dov, your writing is nice, but you need an introduction,” she told me. So I will write here who I am and what I intend to do.
My name is Dov Neimand. I am 8 years old and I intend to kayak from Spain to Israel starting this August. No, just kidding, I'm 26. The rest of that crazy statement is true though. After months of planning and mostly failed attempts to organize sponsorship I have now most of the logistical issues behind me and am training in earnest.
There are some questions that people frequently ask me when they hear about my trip and I will try to answer them here.
Q: What countries will you go through on the way?
A: I will start in Cadiz Spain, after France and then Italy I will cross to Albania. South of Albania is Greece which I will cut through then across the bottom of the Aegean hopping through the Grecian Islands. At that point I will need to consider how safe Turkey is. If I proceed then I will continue along Turkey and then cut south to Cyprus then make the final longest crossing from Cyprus to Haifa, Israel. From Haifa I will head south and conclude my trip in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Q: Were you often dropped on the head as a child?
A: I am only familiar with two such occasions. Once by my brothers and once when I was in the back seat of my mom's bike.
Q: Will you sleep in your boat at night?
A: I hope to sleep every night on the shore except for during my crossings the longest of which is 160 miles. I hope to make that in under 40 hours of paddling and then sleep on shore. I will however be prepared to sleep in my boat if I am unable to complete the crossing without it.
Q: What does your mother think?
A: She doesn't like it that much.
Q: What kind of safety gear will you have?
A: I will not have any safety gear.
Q: You where really dropped on you head as a child, weren't you.
A: No, just kidding (though not about being dropped on my head as a child), I'll have lots of safety gear with me. I will not risk my life for any kind of fun or thrill on this trip, my list of safety gear is too long and boring for me to get into here.
Q: How many miles is it?
A: About 4,200. I came up with that number by having google maps measure the length of the roads along the coasts. In order to complete this trip in 6 months I will have to average at 32 miles a day 5 days a week.
Q: Will you be using that boat we see you training in?
A: No no no no. I'll be using an Epic 18 which I tried out at Jersey Paddler. It fits like a glove and is a damn fine boat.
Q: Will you be doing it alone or with a group?
A: I haven't yet found a partner and I still hope to have one for all or at least part of my trip. Would you like to come?
Q: No thanks I'm married / have a job / can't kayak / too old / need to finish school / have a life / need to study the topography of my navel.
Q: What made you think of such a crazy idea?
I've always wanted to do a really long trip like the Appalachian trail or one of the E trails that cuts across Europe. I've wanted to see Europe for some time now. Since I live in Israel I thought it would be nice to do a trip that starts or ends in Israel and that pretty much leaves only one direction. Lucky for me I've been kayaking since I was a little boy. There's one last question that only a very few people ask. “How can I help?” There are three things I still need though I'll manage without them. A partner, logistical help, and money (Anything I raise above half the cost of the trip will go to the Alliance For Climate Protection). If you can help me with any of these things, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you continue to read and enjoy this blog,