In just over a week, I will be heading south for 12 days. Pete, the producer for Enzoology/Exploration Nation called me when his "preditor" (the word, spelled with an 'i' commonly used now a days for producer-editor) up and quit.
It seems the job was too frightening for the poor guy. He declined the offer to work in the jungles of Costa Rica, (he lives there) and Nicaragua filming the journey of three twelve-year old kids as they explore agriculture, reforestation, rain forest medicine and survival skills. So he phoned up Pete, voiced his concern and bowed out.
It won't be all popsicles and lollypops, that's for sure. My chief role will be to produce a short daily live feed that will be shown in hundreds of classrooms around the US via video stream. We will be in the jungle so to complicate things we will use a satellite phone uplink powered by a solar cell and streamed by a laptop...all carried in a backpack.
Last jungle I saw was too overgrown to let much sunlight in, and this being a rainforest would predict, well, rain. So, what tree canopy doesn't stop us, perhaps cloud cover and rainwater will. Now I understand what shook up the last guy. This ain't my first rodeo, however, and it beats sitting around wishing for work. Besides the impossible task of broadcasting live programming on time and without glitches, I will also assume other preditor roles and film or assist others on the team with their tasks.
In the end the "Exploration Nation" (XN) team will come home with many hours of footage and enough content to support several hectares of curriculum for any number of publishers including Discovery Education. It will be some long hours of editing for Pete and his post production team if we all do our jobs right.
Earlier this year with the growing realization that I have less and less to lose, I said "yes" to the challenge of this trek through the rainforest. And I still feel that way, maybe more so. The option of sitting around waiting for everything to line up perfectly... or on my own terms ... isn't any longer an alternative. I will leave that kind of living to the overly-cautious. I'm, in the end, grateful that Pete's former preditor chose the safer route as it opened a door to live dangerously. And I'm not talking about malaria, denge fever, fresh water parasites that penetrate your skin or monsoons. The greater challenge is to inspire US classrooms to tweet their questions back to us live. If we survive that kind of creative challenge, I'll have really done something difficult. Attention spans being what they are.
The greatest danger of all though is the life so safely lived that all risk has been avoided. God bless you if that is you. I think its a death from a sort of... occupational leprosy, a kind of unfeeling or a death of the soul. So hopefully I will be heading north on the 16th as scheduled after a wild ride with Pete and his team. With less to lose, coming back isn't the point. Living in the moment, is.
I'll be writing along the way, even if it means pushing a post through the satellite phone from time to time,presuming we can find a satellite.