Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hastalouego MV Explorer!

April 25, 2013

After three rocky, emotion-filled, work-filled days at sea where people wrapped up what needed wrapping, graduated from what needed graduating and hugged those that needed hugging, we said goodbye to our shipboard family and our home away from home for the last 105 days.

Two nights ago, we had the alumni ball where everyone on the ship got dressed up and had a sit-down, four-course meal. Matt and I sat with a couple who we had met early on in the voyage and then never really followed up with until that dinner. It was interesting to talk with them and hear what they remembered about our first conversation. Apparently, I raved about rambutan in Hawaii and told them how much I was looking forward to it in Vietnam.

Last night was the commencement ceremony for the students and after that was Unreasonable's graduation ceremony which is basically a circle up where everyone gets a moment to say whatever is on their heart. We first heard from the entrepreneurs, then Daniel made sure to highlight the admin team and then the media team. Following up after the articulate fellows felt a little bit intimidating, but because we had grown so close, I had some confidence to tell them how I really felt.

I'm sure it came out all jumbled and nothing like I had imagined it in my head, but when it was my turn to speak, I wanted to thank everyone and to thank the program for taking me through exactly the experience that I needed right now in my life. I came into this project thinking of it as an end goal. It was a year and a half in the making, and Matt and I had to make some dramatic changes in our life and careers in order to make room for it. We made some hard decisions, made it through the big changes of selling our car, moving out of our house, putting our cat into long term kitty-care with my mom, starting and pursuing our own business, Mass FX Media, and finally saying goodbye to all of our brand new clients that we had gained during the first seven months of doing Mass FX Media full time.

This trip had been the end goal for so long that once the countdown had reached single digits and we had reached San Diego, I realized we had nothing left to plan for. I got the expectation that this trip would answer the "what's next" question. About three months into it, I didn't have my answer, and I started to panic. What do I want to do? Who do I want to work for? What should we pursue next?

With work as a distraction and ridiculously talented and inspiring mentors, I slowly came to the realization that this trip ending meant our future was beginning. We were in charge once again of our day to day and the projects that we'll take or turndown. We can live anywhere we want and work with whomever we want. With just three days left at sea, I started packing and felt excitement for what is to come, and it was these people standing before me that offered me excitement for the edge, not fear.

I ended my, probably too long and rambly, speech and admitted that I was about to follow in their footsteps and follow my own dreams: I'm going to direct the feature film, Operation Babylift. Cesar yelled out, "tell us about the film!" and I couldn't help myself. I used the opportunity to pitch the film. I got some good feedback and one of the mentors approached me afterwards and said I had to make that film, and another mentor gave me a contact our in San Jose.

That all said, we'll be heading out to California late this summer to follow up on these leads and visit all our new friends in San Fran, San Diego and LA. I'm ready to jump in. No more excuses.

We had a fun, but late, party and headed to bed to get a couple hours of sleep before our 6:30am breakfast call to be ready to disembark. My emotions were extremely level and steady today. Nothing extreme, no tears, not really any giddiness either. It was all happening and it all felt right. I felt content and ready.

We debarked, grabbed some taxis and checked into our new home for the next ten days: an AirBNB apartment in the middle of Barcelona. We had to get four taxis to get all of our stuff and all of our peoples over to the flat, but it went pretty smoothly. The flat is really nice and there are enough beds for each of us to have one, a small kitchen, a laundry machine and a little patio. It's close to restaurants, grocery stores and public transportation. It will work out well.

We settled in and were ready for an early lunch around 11:30. Spain shuts down for lunch which is scheduled for 2-4:00ish, so we were turned down at every restaurant we went to. People had no idea why we were wanting lunch so early. We found a nice little Colombian restaurant that was willing to have us in early and we ordered up some fun Colombian delights. We worked on our Spanish and made friends with Fernando who we knew we would being seeing a lot during our stay here since his restaurant is just at the bottom of our apartment building.

While we ate, we were sought out by a random lady looking for a bunch of Americans. She was with the taxi company and we had left a bag in one of the taxis. It turned out to be Mark's clothing bag, and it was crazy how it got back to us in that restaurant. What awesome people!

After lunch, we did a gear swap, bought groceries and then hunkered down on post-production while part of the team went to shoot the Unreasonable VIP dinner tonight. It feels good to start settling down, and I'm now just looking forward to the day that we can get some sleep. Early event tomorrow all day for the culminating Unreasonable pitches in Barcelona. Should feel good to see the entrepreneurs in their final form and hear the pitches they've been perfecting for the last four months.