Our Alumni Santeri Lehtonen ready to sail to the COP in Chile

Blog date: 27 September

Preparing for the Voyage
I am one of the 17,000 Alumni of EIT Climate-KIC and representing the Alumni while sailing to the COP in Chile. In this first blog piece I give you some insights about the preparation for Sail to the COP. I have to say goodbye to my family and friends for over four months. That is certainly longer than usual, and I’ll miss everyone heaps! I hope this blog makes us all feel a little bit closer during this long voyage. I’ll of course the great opportunity to make new friends on board and while visiting all the new places on land! More on all that in future scribbles.

Taking the train to Amsterdam
Several neat piles of shirts, shoes and other items are scattered on the drawer and bed of my apartment in Berlin. A far less neat spreadsheet stares back at me indicating that at some stage of planning rubber boots and an item labelled “nice pen” have evaded the shopping list. They will have to be purchased in Amsterdam. It is 8:45 pm on Friday 27th of September. The train to Amsterdam will leave early 12 hours later and thus mark the departure from Berlin for the next four months.

Among buying, renting and borrowing important items for survival and comfort, the preparation for the trip involved a partial upheaval of my professional and personal life. Quitting a job, and starting two new ones; resigning from an insurance only to re-sign for it three days later; getting in shape, then spending two weeks in bed with a high fever! With the support of family, friends and colleagues (shout out to the the Sail to the COP Slack!) everything came together however.

The Think Tank programme and structure is finding shape, the Climathon is prepared and ready to go, most things are packed (one hopes), the vaccines are running in my veins, all bones are well-insured and the return journey home on a cargo ship is booked (Click here to read more about how I took care of this huddle).

On the train, writing this blog
As I am writing this on the train for Berlin to Amsterdam on Saturday 28 September, I am excitedly waiting for the official Sail to the COP Dinner, and Farewell party in De Ceuvel tonight! The who is who of Sail to the COP will be there – and the nautical fun will be off the hook! Activities and songs, stories and jokes, fears and dreams will be shared as the air buzzes with expectation of the Sail Out. On Sunday, it’s a chill day. Some will smash out last pieces of work, some will relax to the max, and some idiots will run still around trying to find, for example: rubber boots and nice pens.

Kick Off event at EIT Climate-KIC
I am also looking forward to the Kick Off event at the office of EIT Climate-KIC in Amsterdam. We will get a better introduction to the partners, the problem framing and the different missions of Sail to the COP. After some media training the participants will head back to their accommodations, for the last night on land for a while… On 1 October the participants will scrub the deck and hoover the roof of the Regina Maris for the first of many times, ahead of the big Sail Out event on Wednesday! It will also be the first of many nights spent on the ship — albeit yet hooked safely onto the dock in Amsterdam.

Sail Out on 2 October
As the ship leaves the harbour in Amsterdam, so officially ends the pre-Sail to the COP life as we know it, and a totally different looking and feeling chapter unfolds, as we grip on ropes with white knuckles of dread and expectation. Stay tuned for updates from the high Seas, stories of sea creatures, and many reminders of how much we already miss your cute faces!

With hardly access to WiFi. we really have time to get know each other better, form a strong community on board, work on all kind of challenges related to sustainable travel and of course do some sailing! And when I have WiFi again, I will tell you all about how this great experience went so far!

See also the article Sail to the COP will deliver a road map to a sustainable future of travel 

Santo

 

 

 
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