Hold Those Dice
The original departure date not being dictated by the dice gave Isaac some wiggle room in delaying the trip by two weeks. Photo: Isaac Stone Simonelli
“What are you doing here? Aren't you already supposed to be gone?" Dmo asked when I stepped into AquaMaster to return a pair of freediving fins I was testing for a review.
It was May 9, after an epic weekend of surfing in Nai Harn, partying in Patong, climbing in Krabi, dining in Ao Nang, freediving in Phi Phi and scuba diving off Bida Nok, I had forgotten what day it was. Not that I was still planning on leaving on May 9, but at least updating the website would have been smart.
The idea of delaying the trip by an hour, a day and or a week at first sounded unreasonable. However, the dice hadn’t dictated the start date for the trip, so there would be no technical issues with a delay. But why delay? Why leave the dice uncast? Why not allow fate’s rattling jingle of dice in a cup start my feet dancing? Let’s go for the short answer.
Though any delay feels like a failure to follow through on the plan, looking back on it at the end of a journey, it will without a doubt seem insignificant. What’s 14 more days of preparation when it's compared to 365 days of being on the road? It’s hard to suppress the feeling: the feeling that any delay is a weakness in resolution.
Resolution to hold to the path laid by the dice is essential. Any deviation from the path will see the bricks beneath my feet crack and crumble, swallowing me whole. It will wrap me in a tight blackness as I attempt to change my direction after the dice have decided for me. There is simply no room to entertain such weakness.
However, the dice didn't dictate the departure date.
A nagging cold, like a mother’s rote warning, has been draining my energy and focus for weeks. The mental and emotional stress of letting go at the Gazette and ensuring the smoothest possible handover despite concerns – what father does not have concerns the first time his daughter is out of his sight? Admittedly, the Gazette isn’t my baby, but enough 60+ hour weeks and it’s hard not to be deeply invested.
Those emotions, mingling with my body anticipating an enormous decrease in stress, are draining. Even now, a full week since my last official day as Managing Editor my brain is working at the Gazette. It’s thinking about page one, thinking about team dynamics, thinking about contracts, managing, story quality... it's an addiction that can only be treated by time.
Of course, there is also a bit of flu out and about, preying on those of us struggling with the record heat wave stifling the Kingdom. Starting this trip worn out, sick and tired seemed in the same vein of bad ideas as starting it without the necessary driver’s license.
However, every day spent dillydallying in Phuket truncates how far my funds will stretch. Without a doubt, I will run out of money before the project comes to an end.
So with this in mind, delaying wasn’t a possibility. It didn’t matter how unprepared or unwell I was, the dice must be rolled. However, in my final week as Managing Editor, an opportunity presented itself for me to do a little part time work while making my final preparations.
It was as if Willy Wonka had handed me a golden ticket himself. The price was right, allowing me to cover all my costs for continuing to play in Phuket – freediving, cliff jumping, deepwater soloing and rock climbing. Even enough to save up a bit. The clincher though was that it required only a couple hours of my time a day, giving me ample time to be better prepared for what the dice throw my way.
And if I am honest with myself, I’m not ready to leave my girlfriend. Spend every day of the last three months with a fascinating, beautiful, loving woman and that’s not an easy situation to drive away from.
But all in due time.
The clocks on the website have been reset.