Monday, January 8, 2018

One month out...

One month from this moment, assuming all goes as planned over that next month, I will be preparing to board a plane at Boston's Logan Airport on the way to Toronto and continuing on to Seoul, South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
This is both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time, but I'd say the excitement has the edge, at least in my head right now. Before I left for Russia four years ago, there was a lot of talk about the dangers that the region posed to people, particularly from the United States. That trip turned out to be the trip of a lifetime and something that I will always look back on fondly.
Obviously, the state of the Korean Peninsula has certainly been interesting as of late and part of me has a little apprehension about making the trip, considering the dangers that could lurk around every corner. But I've found that the Olympics have done a good job of making sure we are as secure as possible and for that, I am grateful.
As I tell people when they ask if I'm nervous about the trip, I could walk outside my apartment and get hit by a tractor-trailer. There's danger no matter where you are and how you choose to react to that danger will determine the path you take in your life. If you spend your time hiding away from the world because you're worried about what could happen, you'll find that you are missing out on experiences that could take you in many directions. I've often wondered what it would be like to just stay in my apartment and never leave, but I also know that I would be missing out on incredible opportunities like traveling to Russia and Korea. These are things I likely will never get to do again (assuming I don't hit the next big lottery prize) and to say I've done them is something I look forward to.
Yes, there is danger out there, both in Korea and here in New Hampshire. No place is truly safe, but I believe that as I make my way through this life, it's OK to confront that danger head-on.
Yesterday I poured over the Olympic schedule that was provided to media members in one of the many manuals we have been spent. I looked at places I needed to be to see local athletes (biathlon, women's ski jumping to name a couple) and then also tried to lock down seeing each and every venue and as many different events as possible. The schedule looks like it will be a tight a few days and a bit looser on others and certainly changes can be made as I go along.
While doing so, I blocked out a little time to catch up with a friend from college who is living in Korea now and will be at the Olympics for one of the days of competition. I am looking forward to catching up with him and seeing a little bit of the Korea outside of the Olympic bubble.
I also looked over the map of the area a bit, noting it's a lot like Sochi in that there is a mountain cluster with access to the outdoor venues and a coastal cluster with access to the indoor venues. There are media centers in both locations for me to do my work and the media center in the coastal cluster, from the best that I can tell anyway, is really close to where I will be staying, which will be a nice change from Sochi, when it was a 15-minute bus ride, often on a packed last bus run at 1:30 in the morning.
I also sent an e-mail to the US Olympic Committee in hopes of attaining a ticket for the opening ceremonies (for high-demand events, media must request tickets). However, I am realizing that it might be a tight fit to make it from the airport to my room and then to the ceremonies in time. In Sochi, I watched the opening ceremonies from the Moscow airport, which was pretty cool in and of itself, but it would be pretty cool to see them in person. Stay tuned.
Of course, I'd like to take one more opportunity to thank everyone who has helped to make this trip a possibility with their financial assistance. It is greatly appreciated.
I will likely post a few more times before I head out, but my plan, like in Sochi, is to have a blog post every day while in Pyeongchang.

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