When I left home on April 22, the combined weight of me and all my stuff was about 217 or 218 lbs. When I returned home, the combined weight of me and all my stuff was 223 lbs. So either I gained weight or my gear gained weight, right? It seems safe to assume that I didn't gain weight, so apparently I acquired about 6 lbs of new stuff during the trip. Are you with me?
Well, I weighed 168 lbs on April 22, but I only weighed 161 or 162 lbs on June 16. So when I left I was carrying about 50 lbs of gear on a 168-lb body (168+50=218), but when I returned I was carrying 61 lbs on a 162-lb body (162+61=223). On April 22 my gear weighed about 30 percent of my total body weight. On June 16 my gear weighed about 38 percent of my total body weight.
I was very shocked to realize I'd acquired over ten pounds of new stuff during my trip.
There have probably been some times when I have carried even a couple more lbs of stuff, like when I've had multiple cans of ravioli in the backpack. (I had no ravioli when I returned home and weighed myself.) But I'm not trying to make you think I carried around 61-63 lbs on my back at all times. There are some asterisks to address now.
* I almost never carried four full bottles of water (1 liter each) because I would drink the water pretty rapidly. I imagine on average I probably carried about two full bottles of water. That's a difference of over 4 lbs right there.
* The camera bag and its contents weigh about 7 lbs. I almost always carried the camera bag with my hand, not on my shoulder or back. That's another seven fewer pounds on my back than the statistic may have suggested.
So instead of carrying 61-63 lbs. on my back on a regular basis, I probably carried something more in the neighborhood of 50 lbs on my back.
Just because I didn't carry the camera bag on my back, though, it doesn't mean I wasn't carrying its weight. In fact I did have to carry it at all times, so my gear's total weight, on average, was somewhere between 55 lbs and 60 lbs toward the end of the trip.
So where did all this new weight come from?
I began the trip with 3 water bottles, but I returned with 4. That's over two pounds right there.
I began the trip with 12 videotapes, but I returned with 29, plus some packaging. (I don't know how much that weighs yet.)
I also acquired 3 books along the way, as well as a pretty big stack of tourist/traveler literature from various areas... One additional pair of swimming trunks... Three baseball caps in place of one Aussie style hat... One additional belt... Dozens of business cards and other small pieces of paper...
There are also some other things I can't think of right now. Maybe later, when I separate stuff from the backpack.
When I finally sat down in front of the computer yesterday to fetch the previous week's e-mail, I was surprised to see that Lidia had sent a response to one of my messages. In her message dated last Tuesday, she didn't say much, but I honestly didn't expect to hear from her ever again. So what should I make of it? I don't know, but here's how I see it: If she had absolutely no interest in knowing me, she wouldn't have replied... EVER. But she did reply, so I suspect she at least has not written me off as a complete loser. And that matters to me. I have no rational reason to give a shit one way or another, but I really do care what Lidia thinks of me... as long as she does think of me.
When I said it was time to forget her, I wasn't bullshitting. I really did leave the thought of her in the past the moment I left Allan and Ann's house eight days ago. But as soon as I saw her e-mail message yesterday, I had a brand new crush on her, even though I have not met her in person. I can neither explain it nor rationalize it, but I believe I adore Lidia [last name removed] and I really hope to hear from her again soon.
Driving to and from a doctor appointment today, I learned something about how Aimless Leg 1 has changed me: I am now incredibly patient. Big difference from before. I was probably more patient than the average person even before I left, but I am ridiculously patient now. I'll probably have a lot more to say about this before long.
The Quasi-Aimless Trailer
If you'd like to contact me, call me at 614-738-3867.