A Familiar Face Appears in the Crowd

July 18, 2015 § 1 Comment

As I write this, I sit in Heathrow airport in London, having just arrived from Chicago (this will be posted later). I’m on the first leg of a journey to meet the senders of messages in bottles, and hopefully to make new friends. I’m surrounded by strangers, and yet, I can’t shake the feeling that there must be invisible connections between us we are simply not aware of. Maybe someone near me has visited my hometown, or maybe they know one of my friends. Heck, I may actually know someone here!

I remember there was once a Facebook app that created a visual representation of the connections between your friends. You’d click ‘Yes you can have allll my information!’ And then the little app would start churning, and soon enough, it would spit out this crazy looking wheel with all your friends arranged around the border, with little lines drawn between any of them who were connected. This gave you a concrete way to visualize the connections between your friends. How cool would it be if you could visualize the connections between everyone in the airport in the same way? Then, if you’re like me and you get terribly lonely when you travel alone, you could find someone you are connected to and have a good ol time.

Of course, no expedition of mine would be complete without a crazy connection happening unexpectedly. This time, that came in the form of a former student materializing before me in the Chicago airport. We now live several states apart, and it’s been about 4 years since he was in my class.

The moment I saw him I believed it was him–Robert. But I was just tired enough and out of my element enough to second guess myself. But then I saw him a second time, and finally, the airline actually called his name and I KNEW it was him!

Finally I approached him and he recognized me! I had to remind him of my name, but hey, I’ll take it. Robert was such a cool student–very memorable, very creative and imaginative. I have many former students but I was truly glad to see him. Not only was he in the same airport and same wing as me, but he actually was on my very flight, just a few seats away. So we caught up about life, he told me about his upcoming travels, I told him a bit about mine, and that was it. We just crossed paths in a bizarre coincidence, and it was a breath of fresh air in what was for me a long and depressing 26 straight hours or so of travel. When I was farming under the merciless Utah sun at the height of summer last year, every now and then a big cloud would pass in front of the sun and it was just pure relief. This felt like that.

Now Robert is off to various corners of Europe and so am I. I must remember to keep my eyes open. I may not be as alone as I think!

Late Blogging: It’s The New ‘Live Blogging’!

July 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

When I told friends and family about my plan to spend a few weeks traveling Europe to meet the senders of some of the messages in bottles I have found, some suggested I ‘live blog’ my adventures to keep folks updated on my progress.
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Everything in a Bottle (and Some Stuff That Isn’t)

July 7, 2015 § 1 Comment

I’ve often marveled at the variety of things that end up in bottles on the beach. I mean, the variety among the messages folks write is amazing in itself. But then, beyond that, there’s a lot of other…stuff…that people put into bottles, often for reasons unknown.

In truth, every bottle on the beach sends a message, doesn’t it? Sometimes, the message seems to be: “I was sent here by someone who doesn’t care about destroying fragile ecosystems!” Sometimes, the message is more like: “Oops! I was using this bottle when the wind kicked up and blew it into the sea.” Many bottles (and other objects) are spilled from ships during storms, or find their way into the ocean after having been dumped in a river. In any case, lying there in piles of thousands on the beach, the collective message is clear: this is not good.


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Learning

June 25, 2015 § 9 Comments

I have now been hunting messages in bottles for 8 years. That’s almost a third of my life. It’s no wonder this work has become such an important part of my identity.

Meditating on Messages in Bottles Identity
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Talking Trash and Treasure With BYU Radio

July 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

I had a blast stopping by the Morning Show on BYU Radio! Got to talk about a lot of bottles and connect the dots between messages in bottles and flotsam. Have a listen to this fun interview–it’ll help you procrastinate :-)

Message in a Bottle Hunter on BYU Radio

Sleuthing an MIB With the Salt Lake Tribune

July 7, 2014 § 4 Comments

The work I do with messages in bottles (MIBs) is often solitary work. Occasionally, the stars align and I have help with the work. This May, I had special visit from the Salt Lake Tribune who helped me track down the sender of a particularly elusive bottle. This one:

Andy Pelicano Bottle 2
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Mystery Cameras

May 12, 2014 § 5 Comments

Well there I was, walking along a deserted beach, wondering about my place in the world—wondering what would come of all my messages in bottles and whether I’d get to do anything like a book or a movie with them before we drown ourselves in plastic trash—when a waterproof camera appeared on the beach!

Fuji Camera on Beach 2013
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