In 2012, just before heading west to Park City, I decided to make the trek from Minneapolis to home one last time. It was a sleepy, fall morning in Oconomowoc and I had driven into town for coffee. As fate would have it, I happened to run into Lou Morgan who was doing the same. I had heard from other people that the Morgans were planning a sailing trip and we began talking. Half joking, I believe I said something to the effect of "Well, if you need an extra crew member you know who to call...".
Flash forward almost three years later and I am catching the 8:00 am train from Glasgow to Oban, joining Arctic Monkey. The 24 hours prior were a whirlwind. A newbie to Heathrow Airport, I wandered through customs like a lost puppy. This was my first time traveling abroad with no return ticket. I had my crew letter on my phone but I was still nervous that wouldn't be enough. The customs officer eyed me suspiciously when I told him the reason was because I would be sailing back to the states. "Have you ever sailed before?" Clearly, I had inexperience written all over me. He proceeded to question me on everything from the exact details of my trip to my credit limit and amount of cash I was carrying. After drilling me with questions he let me go and I thought I was in the clear. Unfortunately, it was then that I realized my connection was actually out of Gatwick. When the British Airways ticket agent heard this she gave me a look of worry, explained where to go and then exclaimed "You need to run! Now!". I'm still not quite sure how I made it but I did eventually make my connection.
Exhausted, I splurged for my own room at a hostel in Glasgow (quite possibly the best money I ever spent). A man with a thick Scottish accent, who seemed to have no answers to any of my questions (but in the most charming way possible) sent me up to the top floor. I immediately popped open the window and looked out. The sun was setting over the rooftops of Glasgow. I felt a sense of nervous excitement knowing this would be my last night on land.
The train ride was a three hour tour of the Scottish countryside. The "most beautiful train in Scotland", according to the family sitting in front of me. Before I knew it I was in Oban and getting on the ferry shuttle to take me across the harbour where Arctic Monkey was.
Less than 48 hours later we departed for the Caledonian Canal, the last leg before Arctic preparations would begin.