Panama Preparations


Spent the night meticulously gathering all my filming supplies and attempting to optomize their loading into my backpack. My somewhat masochistic goal is to use the trip down to southwestern florida for the FLAIRS-25 conference as a stress test for my body and equipment.

I want to see how much equipment I can carry by myself in dense, wet heat. See how far I can hike, and how much stuff jangles around. See how intense bugs and sweat can be, and how that will affect my filming. I am hoping the everglades will be a good approximation for Panama.  down3AM up5:30AM



The main pack has:

T2i - All lenses, lighting, reflectors, 2 shorts,
3 socks, 3 undies, 3 shirts, meds, batteries, tent,
towel,dry sacks, Pens, Markers, notepads, hacked nook,
laptop, chargers

The Side bag has:

Tripod, 2 Heads, Glidtrack Dolly, Food, Vibram Shoes

First impressions are that the pack is far too heavy. The side bag that I’m holding the tripod in is not really a tripod case, and is too long and gets floppy when I walk. The amount of stuff in the bag seems too much to transport for more than 1-2 miles. After the day of hitch-hiking and just regular hiking down hot streets, the initial shock seems to have worn off. I was tired, but felt much more endurance for hiking in this fully loaded fashion.

The Hitch Hiking: Attempted to develop my stress test by hitch-hiking from Fort Myers Airport down to the very southern tip of Florida to Marco Island, where the AI conference was being held.

Got a ride 3 miles out of the airport. Hung around the rest area, scrawled my “South” sign and made people deflect my smiles. Started hiking away and Chip pulled up in his van. Chil is a “Golf Comedian.” Specializes in golf comedy. Took me quite some time to figure out that “golf” was the word he was saying from behind his strange accent. Chip drops me off in some off ramp in the middle of nowhere and the hitcher’s anxiety sets in as the hours slip by. I do a grueling 2 mi hike to the other highway, and it suprisingly gets easier as it goes. Finally give in in the evening and call a cab.


Evening: Don

The taxi man pulls up. Is weirded out by me (he tells me so). “What the Fuck are you doing?” Says he’s not going all the way down to Marco Island now, has a hockey game to go to. Says he’ll leave me at his house and maybe we’ll go on a midnight run to Marco Island. ” If you fuck me, I’ll shoot you!! I’m only doing this because without all that shit you look so fucking normal.”

Get a bunch of work done at his place. He’s the nicest man ever.

He gives me his life story later in the car. Used to be rich. Business fell apart. Wife left. He had the kids. Kids are world champion wrestlers. Spoke with Tucker; we change plans and he has me rent a car, and that way I can get Dr. Hybinette from the aiport the next day.


Finally cruise in to Marco. Florida is fucking harsh. Bobcat signs and mosquitoes pervade the environment. Didn’t imagine mosquitoes could be that thick. Campsites are all closed, everything so dark, sleep in car, waking up periodically because my neck keeps falling asleep. d2:00 up 6:00