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Join us (vicariously) as we circle the planet, and then transform 104 daily posts into a full-color treasure book.
Join us (vicariously) as we circle the planet, and then transform 104 daily posts into a full-color treasure book.
153 backers pledged $10,504 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

West By Sea: a Vicarious Virtual Voyage project video thumbnail
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$10,504

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Update #10: Phoenix Press visit and Final Hours!

West By Sea float plan
West By Sea float plan

My wife and I want to bring you with us on a Vicarious Virtual Voyage to circumnavigate the globe. We'll document the experience with a daily blog, then publish a book, and along the way build a friendly community around this shared experience.

About us - and why we're doing this

The story really begins in 2006 when my wife was diagnosed with brain cancer. After two surgeries and experimental radiation, we decided it was time to realize our dream of sailing around the world.

This is where you come in! If you've ever wanted to do a circumnavigation but couldn't find the time, following this trip is a rare opportunity. By helping to fund this project you will follow the experience across all 104 days, first through daily blurbs and photos, and finally as a printed book. This travel diary will be a unique product and something we know you'll love.

If you are a cancer survivor, are living with cancer, or have watched someone you love battle this terrible disease, then you know exactly how it can steal lives and dreams. Michelle is an inspiration to me and to everyone she meets.

We hope by following this journey you'll be inspired too. Inspired to go after your dreams while you still can, and bring joy and goodness to the world no matter what you're faced with. If you sponsor a page you can even leave a personal tribute to someone who inspired YOU.

Join us on the journey
Join us on the journey

I've done a lot of writing about adventure and world travel. I've been to 19 countries on six continents. As a retired helicopter pilot, this trip is the latest in a long string of adventures. Since 1994 I've been the creative and technical editor for over two dozen websites, e-zines and weekly podcasts. I've been published in numerous peer-reviewed and industry trade publications for my work in leadership development and adult education.

That time south, this time West By Sea
That time south, this time West By Sea

Who should back this project?

If you want something positive in your life for a change
If you've ever dreamed of sailing around the world
If you have kids who are learning geography
If you want to see how to publish a book
If you want to go on a treasure hunt
If you know (or are) a cancer survivor and respect the value of time
...then this project is for you.

About the trip - what you're getting into

Everything about the trip itself is already paid for. The itinerary and dates are set. We'll depart Sydney Australia in May and go west around the world ("bringing" you with us), and return to Sydney 104 days later.

Along the way you'll read about life at sea. Laundry, food, staying busy, exercise, weather, close quarters, loneliness, separation - everything is totally different. We will transit the Panama Canal, Suez Canal, Anzac Cove, and the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas. You'll also get to experience stories about sites around the world, including:

West by Sea: expected port visits
West by Sea: expected port visits

What you're backing

Your pledge will let us purchase satellite bandwidth, bring quality camera gear and produce the highest quality rewards. What YOU get from the voyage depends entirely on your support. With enough satellite bandwidth we'll blog every day, tweet up a storm and send back weekly podcasts and on-location video. More backer support means better photo equipment, software, and production quality for every part of the project. It also means much more regular communication with you, the backers.

Capturing, preserving and reporting like this is only possible with the right technology. When I field-blogged a five-month shipboard trip to Antarctica in 2002, even limited by slow and short satellite windows, 2mp cameras, tape-based SD video and a tiny laptop with a slow 400mhz processor, I was still able to post daily email and pictures, video, 360º panoramas and detailed weekly blogs. Since then the tools have only gotten faster and better.

Via satellite: a grainy but still amazing penguin picture from 2002.
Via satellite: a grainy but still amazing penguin picture from 2002.

So please - back the project - and of course tell your friends.

Sure we could just go on the trip and enjoy ourselves. But this will be so much more fun. We would LOVE to bring this adventure to as many as we can.  So, lets get underway and make some history.

Come with us around the world!

Rewards - what they will look like

The West by Sea postcard: front side
The West by Sea postcard: front side
  • The post card will be 8.5"x5.5" color glossy front & back.
  • The eBook will probably be issued in several formats and will NOT be just a PDF of the book - probably ePub at a minimum plus iBooks and probably Kindle.
  • The paperback will be industry trade size 9"x6".
  • The hard cover will be 9"x6" casewrap bound.

Check out the rewards in the right column.  In a nutshell:

  • A basic pledge will get my thanks and access to all the "backer only" updates.
  • For $6 you'll be funding satellite bandwidth for regular text, photo, audio and video blog entries at westbysea.com.
  • For $12 you'll reserve an exclusive daily postcard marked with the ship's noon position and a personal note.
  • For $20 you'll reserve an e-Book copy of the trip Journal.
  • For $40 you'll reserve a printed copy of the trip Journal.
  • For $60 you will sponsor one page/day. Add your short message to the Journal. This might be a great way to recognize someone or honor a special memory. A numbered copy of the journal with a personal note from us, plus a postcard mailed on your day.
  • The $80 reward is West By Sea in hardcover, plus an exclusive postcard mailed from the port of your choice.
  • The $100 reward is the 11"x17" Adventurer Certificate (similar to a traditional "line crossing" certificate, example) plus a postcard and paperback.
  • $120 backers reserve luggage space to send along a small object! (Nothing irreplaceable, breakable or expensive, and nothing larger than a tennis ball. Something like an action figure, patch or small flag would be perfect.) I'll send you regular pictures of your object at sites around the world, plus a post card, e-Book, and paperback. And return your object after the trip.
  • The $150 level includes phone/video chats, one postcard per segment (5 total) from the ship, plus stuff from lower reward tiers.
  • The $180 "Bookbinder" level sponsors the binding, front or back endpaper or cover.
  • For $360 you can sponsor one of five voyage segments to have your logo or company featured in reports during that segment and in the final Journal. (Yes that's only one dollar for each line of longitude.)
  • And at $3600 for three U.S. backers I'll swing by with some copies of the Journal for half a day and use this experience to inspire and develop your work team.
The West by Sea postcard: back side
The West by Sea postcard: back side

Update Index

  • 3/27 Update #9 - In the press
  • 3/25 Update #8 - Objects and News with one week to go
  • 3/20 Update #7 - How will funds be used?
  • 3/15 Update #6 - Format enhancement: a virtual treasure hunt
  • 3/13 Update #5 - Blog and Book mock-ups & artwork
  • 3/08 Update #4 - Stretch Goals (gear funding tiers & sponsors)
  • 3/04 Update #3 - Michelle's perspective on the project
  • 2/28 Update #2 - Project funded!
  • 2/26 Update #1 - Underway! (first day progress)

Stretch Goals

Stretch goals help enhance the project quality and support upgrades to existing rewards.

Stretch Goal #1: $4500 [REACHED on 3/8] will fund access to Adobe Creative Cloud software. Funding this goal will also let us “go big” with the printed rewards: larger post cards, paperbacks and hardcover books. $60 and $80 backer postcards will be mailed in envelopes.

Stretch Goal #2: $6000 [REACHED on 3/20] will fund better cameras. Michelle has a lot of experience with SLR photography and a great eye. Funding this goal will let us upgrade or replace camera gear that is over 20 years old and frankly starting to fall apart. Plus fund envelopes for $12 postcard backers and a dust jacket for the $80 hardcover backers.

Stretch Goal #3: $7500 [REACHED on 3/24] will fund podcasting gear. If you can help find more backers and get us here, all $6 bandwidth and $20 eBook backers will also get a handwritten postcard from the ship. All $40, $60 and $80 backers will also get the eBook.

Stretch Goal #4: $9000 [REACHED on 3/28] will fund a Drobo Mini with 2-3 terabytes of redundant storage, an upgrade from our current 500mb redundant storage solution. If you can help find more backers and get us here, all $12 postcard backers will get an eBook and all $20 eBook backers will get a paperback. $100 certificate backers will be upgraded to a hardcover book.

Stretch Goal #5: $11000 will help fund a laptop upgrade. If you can help find more backers and can get us here, $6 backers will get the eBook. All $40 and $60 paperback backers will get a hard cover book. All $80 hardcover backers will get upgraded to the Adventurer level and get the full-color hand-calligraphed framable certificate.

Risks and challenges

If I've learned one thing from expeditionary travel is nothing ever goes perfectly to plan. A trip to the corner store or even across town can be done with "I promise" as a reasonable outcome. When you stretch from hours to months and kilometers to a circumnavigation, wrinkles are bound to happen. For this trip I'm confident the transportation is reliable. We'll be at the departure port with an extra week to cover contingencies. Besides, part of this project is reporting what actually happens on a trip around the world. You might say we actually WANT things to pop up. (OK, maybe don't say that. Not loudly.)

I already plan to bring redundant laptops, power, cameras and media storage. Your support means I can select and transport the most rugged gear possible. YOU and the other backers help me ship out with a robust kit.

A remote travel blog via satellite is no fun without, well, a satellite. Sun spots, meteors and the shipboard antennas might all start acting up. So the float plan has us in port almost every day. I have skill and years of experience maximizing a low-bandwidth field blog. Any gaps in coverage will get filled in over café or hotel wifi, probably with a juicy story (or entertaining excuse). The crew needs internet for more important things than blogging, so an outage won't last long. We also have an at-home support crew to handle contingency uploads and messaging. And remember, the final published item is a book based on the blog, so instant high-tech gratification will become a satisfying low-tech journal in time.

I've backed 30 projects (with hundreds of dollars) because Kickstarter gives the chance to follow a project in progress. Now you all get to follow me. The Journey is what matters, not the destination. So pledge, contribute and come along on this journey with us. It'll be amazing. "I promise!"

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Receive our thanks via email and "Backer" credit on the voyage web site. (All pledge levels also get access to Backer-only updates on Kickstarter.)

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    Pledge $6 or more About $6

    Sponsor the Bandwidth. Get Contributor access and "Bandwidth Backer" credit on the voyage web site. Site access allows comment posting and emailed event alerts, activity links and other exclusive audio & video content.

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    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    Get a message in a bottle. An exclusive post card sent from the ship. Mailings will be spread across all 104 days. Each card will include a hand-written note and the ship's noon position, plus Contributor access and "Card Club" credit on the web site.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    e-Book Backer. A copy of the 104+ page trip Journal in e-Book format. Name, 'handle' or email in Special Thanks section of the Journal. Contributor access and "Journaler" credit on the web site.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    The Logbook. A copy of the printed 104+ page trip Journal. Name, 'handle' or email in Special Thanks section of the Journal. Contributor access and "Journaler" credit on the web site. Shipping to USA included, international add $10.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Sponsor one page. A personally inscribed, signed and numbered copy of the 104-page trip Journal. Your name and short tasteful note ('tweet') in the Expeditionaire Appendix section of the published Journal. An exclusive postcard mailed on your day. Contributor access and "Expeditionaire" credit on the web site. Shipping to USA included, international add $10.

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    West By Sea in hardcover. Your name and short tasteful note ('tweet') in the Expeditionaire Appendix section of the published Journal. An exclusive postcard mailed from the port of your choice. Contributor access and "Wanderer" credit on the web site. Shipping to USA included, international add $10.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    For the real "Adventurer". Framable 11"x17" (compare to 'line crossing') backer certificate with foil embossed medallion, hand calligraphed by Michelle with your name. West By Sea in paperback, eBook, postcard from port of your choice, Contributor access and 'Adventurer' credit in the book/website. Shipping to USA included, international add $10.

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    Join in the fun! Send us your small (G rated, non-sentimental, nominal value) artifact. We will email you photos of your artifact at sites around the world. Photos may be featured & credited to you on the site and in the Journal (with your permission). Contributor access and "Voyager" credit on the web site. Return of your artifact, a Post Card, e-Book and a numbered/inscribed copy of the Journal included.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    'Segment Hopper'. A phone or video chat with us (English language) before and after the trip. Adventurer 11"x17" certificate, five post cards (one per segment), West By Sea in paperback, eBook, Contributor access and 'Segmenter' credit in the book/web site.

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    Pledge $180 or more About $180

    Sponsor the binding, front or back end paper, front or back cover of the book. A copy of West By Sea in both hardcover and paperback. A phone or video chat with us (English language) before and after the trip. Adventurer 11"x17" certificate, five post cards (one per segment), eBook, Contributor access and prominent 'Bookbinder' credit in the book/web site.

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    Pledge $360 or more About $360

    Segment Sponsor. The voyage is split into five segments. I will feature your company, logo and/or service prominently in posts, audio and video during one segment. Contributor and "Segment Sponsor" credit in the Journal and on the web site. Includes one short printed message and (if desired) 5 signed Journals.

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    Pledge $3,600 or more About $3,600

    Site Visit (USA only). After the voyage I'll come to you and deliver a 4 hour leadership seminar for your audience of up to 50 people. I'll bring 10 signed copies of the Journal for your use. You'll get immediately useful lessons from the trip and my extensive experience with Expeditionary Strategy, Tactics, & Leadership. (Alaska & Hawaii sites add $400 to cover additional travel cost)

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Funding period

- (34 days)