Step Two: Ballistics

I spent almost $3,000 today.

Not really, but sort of. I picked up a few items for reporting, and I rented my bulletproof vest. All together it was about $2,600, but a big chunk of that was the security deposit that will hopefully be returned when I get back. And the equipment, while important for this trip, will be part of my tech repertoire for years to come.

I also got some good news today — the New Hampshire Union Leader wants to carry my stories. Now, in addition to the work for NHPR and the Conway Daily Sun, I’ve got a third media outlet on board.

That means I’ll almost make back my investment in this trip. Maybe I’ll even make a few dollars? Doubtful.

I’ve been jokingly telling people “it’s cheaper than grad school” whenever they ask why I’m going to Iraq. The truth is I’m both nervous and excited, and I know the experience will be worth the expense. And as I get closer I feel more and more like I’ve made the right decision. I want to make sure soldiers, whether they are from the Mount Washington Valley, the North Country, New Hampshire or elsewhere, are not forgotten. Iraq is in transition that the administration isn’t calling war, but those soldiers are serving nonetheless. They deserve recognition, and the public needs reminders every once in a while.

I’ll be posting a lot on my way there, I imagine — LPJ will serve as my war logs. When my equipment comes in I’ll make sure to toss up some photos, and I also plan to chronicle as things happen.

I’m all set, I think, other than I still need my visa, but otherwise I should be good to go. Vest, helmet and goggles are all in the mail, and I’ve got a shotgun (microphone) coming too. It’s now past midnight, so I have a week left. I’ll have to try not to hold my breath.

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