Friday, May 25, 2007

The Big Overland Truck in the Sky

JetCity Jimbo was both my inspiration and competition, sometimes both at once. But he became ill right before MariesWorldTour, and it was eventually discovered that he had cancer.

I knew it had gotten bad when his "It Will Be So Awful, It Will Be Wonderful" website went down while I was living in Cairo. His online diary about his overland African tour had been up since... well, I don't know, but I think I stumbled over it in 1999. Except he stumbled over me. When he found my first overland trip website, he didn't tell me that he and his "spousal unit" were en route to New York. He waited until he'd found a hostel to stay in. He'd read that I hated having houseguests and he didn't want me to think he was angling for an invite.

Jimbo's stories made me laugh. His tales of diarrhea in the minefields and being dubbed "The Dickhead" during a cranky moment in Tanzania were funny. He always encouraged me to write a book. He'd talked of writing one, but then the cancer came and his story was put aside.

On May 8th, four months after he'd joked about scoring a book deal using self-pity as a gimmick, Jimbo's long fight with cancer ended. I last heard from him on January 30th, when he mentioned having bags of saline running through him. But only a month before, he'd talked about taking a freighter to Oz (20 days) while knitting the world's largest sweater. His wife wrote that he kept up his good cheer until the end.

"It Will Be So Awful, It Will Be Wonderful" won't become a book now. But the good news is this: His spousal unit, SueBee, put the website back up. Enjoy.

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