In mid-September I spent 6 days, 5 nights doing an Outward Bound Maine Coast Sailing Expedition with 9 other veterans and 2 instructors. It was definitely an unforgettable experience, although from the first several hours, I was already counting the days for it to be over. It was a cold, windy, and rainy first few days. It was challenging to say the least, with misery and awesomeness tangled about. I cannot exclaim how many times I just wanted to die and just be nudged off the damn boat. It only took 30 minutes on board in the stormy Atlantic to throw up my tuna-raisin sandwich I had for lunch.
As much as I want to go in detail about my adventure, I’ll just give a run down of the things I learned/experienced: How to sail, sail theory, sailing commands, sail terminology, parts of the boat, knots, how to read the winds, tides, interpersonal skills with 11 other unique and amazing (and sometimes annoying) individuals, navigating with charts, maneuvering sails, pirate talk, someone carrying a piece of whale bone and smelling like the carcass, teamwork, and taking ice-cold dips in the ocean at 6:30 every damn stupid freaken horrible morning. (Maine in September is cold! It’s like, you’re waking up cold and wet, just to jump into something more cold and wet. It’s so stupid. But it was our form of showering. That or stink and have the crew hate you.)
So the topic that was on my mind the whole time… and what this post is about… is comfort. I think the lack there of is what made the trip an adventure. I wouldn’t of wanted it any other way. So imagine living on an open 30 foot wooden boat with 11 other full grown unclean adults… changing clothes in front of each other, a part of you always damp or wet from the sea or rain, sleeping on wooden oars and uneven planks like sardines body to body, feet to face, and with the constant threat of losing your balance and falling into the drink. Oh yaaah, that’s what I call a vacation.
Oh and we also pee and poo in front of each other. So there’s this wooden box you see, at the front of the boat. We called it “The Head.” You open it up, it has hinges, and there’s a wooden toilet seat and under it is a 5 gallon paint bucket to capture the goodies. I was pretty shy to do anything in front of 9 other guys to say the least…peeing and having the crew see the sides of my legs (the box lid provided some privacy), let alone hearing and smelling me plop poop and dribble pee in the bucket, and seeing everyone else’s fecal matter in there (I even had to dump out the bucket once while we were at sail, and we had corn chowder the night before…good thing the ocean is large cause we swam and also cooked our pasta in the same sea water and washed our dishes in it.)…But I was getting used to it sorta, tried not to care, but unfortunately, I held in my pee and poo a lot until I really had to go.
I peed only when absolutely necessary and pooped only twice on board in 5 days. My body couldn’t get itself to do the deed! So on day 6 when we finally touched land that morning, I pooped like 3 times and again at the airport. I also gave myself a hemroid.
What’s a hemroid you ask? It’s when your poop bleeds – to explain it in a rather vague, and pretty much medically wrong way (cause poop doesn’t actually bleed)… And don’t be all grossed out either reading this, it’s not all that uncommon. I’m just telling you about what happened. I’m only a little ashamed!
And here are the causes thanks to Wikipedia:
A number of factors are believed to play a role including: irregular bowel habits (constipation or diarrhea), a lack of exercise, nutritional factor (low-fiber diet), increased intra-abdominal pressure (prolonged straining, ascitis, an intra-abdominal mass, or pregnancy), genetics, an absence of valves within the hemorrhoidal veins, and aging. Other factors that are believed to increase the risk include obesity, prolonged sitting, a chronic cough and pelvic floor dysfunction. Evidence for these associations however is poor.
So here’s the lesson folks that I wanted to get across….
… WHEN IN ROME …