Jun 292013

Wilst sitting here on the porch of the old bait shop where the internet is strong, writing yet another world changing award winning post, a sailboat pulled up along the fuel dock.  It happens quite a bit here with the fuel dock being so close to the ocean and all.  And we have all manner of vessels pull in and out of here, like that big research vessel from the other day.  The sailboat that pulled in yesterday wasn’t particularly unusual but something struck me about it.

The boat was a later model sailboat, center cockpit with what is called a “sugar scoop” stern.  In other words you can step down the stern and into the water.  The boat was obviously outfitted for long distance and blue water.  All manner of safety gear was on board along with wind and solar generators.  The boat had a lot of stuff, but it wasn’t cluttered either.  Ropes and lines were tied down neatly and everything had a place.

A couple was on the boat, man and wife I am guessing along with a little yappy dog.  They looked to be in their 50’s.  When they came in, it was obvious they knew what they were doing.  The wife was at the helm while the husband tended to the lines.  They came in, winds and current were light, made a big wide turn so the bow was facing the ocean and pulled up nice and gentle to the dock.  There was no screaming at each other, like you find with weekend warriors, no husband yelling at the wife, no wife yelling back, just watching them you could tell they knew what they were doing when it came to running a boat.

They pulled in, filled the fuel tanks, grabbed a drink from the store, and took off to ports unknown.  I didn’t get a chance to talk to them, would have made a nice interview I guess, so I can only imagine where they came from and where they were going.  If I were to guess, they were retired, with some money obviously, and were simply living the cruising lifestyle.  Spending time here and there, wherever the winds blew.  (Hell, they could have just come over from another marina for fuel.  But imagining is a whole lot more fun).

There are lots of people who live the cruising lifestyle, perpetually moving from one port to another.  Many spend the summers up north along the Intercoastal Waterway, in the Chesapeake, around New England, or even the Great Lakes.  When the first cold winds blow in, they head south to Florida, or the Bahamas, or some more exotic locals.  No special home ports, just seeing the world from a boat.  Some literally are out there seeing the world.  It’s probably the most common perception that land based people have of living on a boat.  Some nice big vessel, like these folks have, all decked out with all the equipment you need, perhaps some sort of income from previous work providing the funds, or in some cases, working small jobs or putting whatever skills you have to work in exchange for a place to tie up or add provisions.  Just about anyone who has looked at living on a boat has probably had a dream of just sailing away to adventure, for no other reason than to say they did it.  Reality seldom equals the dream, but it never hurts to have the dream.

As you might have guessed, I have that dream too, although, making something like that happen with a broken down old 26′ scow, or whatever the hell I end up with after this weekend, that dream has a remote chance of happening at this particular time.  But, there are other versions of the same dream that don’t involve a boat.  One could do something similar on land with an rv.  Go follow Linda at the Sandcastle to get an idea of how that works.  Rv cruising is just like boat cruising but a bit drier and you have a few more choices of where to stay.  Or you can take it a step further like Ashley over at My First Rodeo who has no problem with dropping everything, grabbing her backpack and camera, and heading off to exotic lands.  Or you can become a Digital Nomad, something that I personally am working towards, even at my advanced age.  Performing feats of magic and creatin’ stuff online for money, all without the benefit of a permanent place to live.

A nomadic lifestyle with no destination nor any intent on getting there.  Just traveling and experiencing.  And sharing your travels with others.  No matter if it be by boat, rv, or foot.  The goal is the same.  No goal.  To get out there and see stuff, beyond what you are told you should be doing.  None of this working for the man routine.  No rat race.  No tying down one’s self with property, possessions, or debt.  You find the means by which you want to go, pick up some handy skills along the way to pay for your lifestyle, and start doing some real livin’.

I fully admire anyone who has done it.  Be it the couple on the boat yesterday, Linda in her cool little rv, or Ashley with her refreshing outlook on life.  There are very few people in the world who have the guts to not play the game and live a unique life like this.  Most get so caught up in the consumerist lifestyle that we are constantly indoctrinated into, go to school, get a job, buy stuff, start a family, buy more stuff, get into debt, but save for retirement, that we forget to have a life.  And at the end, all we can do is look back at what we didn’t do, not what we did.  That is not how I want to be.  And I hope a few of you out there feel the same.

So the next time when you are sitting in your cubicle, or behind a parts counter, or stuck in yet another meeting where some clueless corporate drone tries to instill some sort of false loyalty or pride in the fact that you are just another worker bee, remember this post.  Take a weekend and instead of cutting the grass, sitting in a bar drinking your sorrows away, go find a waterway where the boats are passing by.  Or go to some campground and walk around and look at all the travelers.  Skip the weekend warriors and seek out those who have traveled far and are just passing through.  Go sift through some of the blogs I mentioned and have linked up on the Fritter.  People are out there living life, not just muddling through it.

You can change your lifestyle for the better.  Get out there and live, not just exist.

Capt. Fritter

As you well know, one of my favorite books is Douglas Adam’s, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  Contained there in is one of my favorite quotes:

“Man has always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much…the wheel, New York, wars and so on…while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man…for precisely the same reason.”

  8 Responses to “The Travel Bug Is Back…”

  1. Wonderfully written Capt! Maybe one day I will have everything paid off and actually have the guts to throw caution to the wind and start a voyage of my own! This post was one of your best – thanks for sharing!

  2. Maybe it’s time to just grab a towel and see the universe!

    • If you only knew how tempting that is right now. I would make that book required reading for every school kid in the country. Upon graduation, instead of a diploma, I would give each of them a backpack and a towel, and tell them not to come back for five years. Then we would talk about the future. Make it an admission requirement for college. See the world first, then come back and learn.
      C. F.

  3. Thanks for the shout out. But I will admit we did the whole “go to school, get a job, buy stuff, start a family, buy more stuff, get into debt, but save for retirement” bit first. We are now out of debt and living on that “save for retirement” money. It’s so nice to finally be free to go wherever the wind blows me.

    • Well, you are doing it. At least you are able to go. Some manage to dig themselves in too deep a hole and are afraid to climb back out to see what is going on. They hit a comfort zone and don’t want to lose it. In the process they wind up missing out on life.
      C. F.

  4. what julia said…
    one of your best. and you’ve had some that have been outstanding. but this one captured the heart of it all.
    tomorrow’s sunday. can’t wait to see what choices you make or not . . . on this weekend.
    waiting . . .
    and that’s hard!
    i am going to have to read hitchiker’s guide to the galaxy. i never have. it sounds very good.
    you’ve quoted it before… about the towel and all. but i especially love this post’s quote from it.
    and yes! they are SO MUCH smarter than we are!!!
    we pitiful misguided competitive stupid humans.

  5. Make sure you get the original version, not the watered down movie version from a couple of years ago. In fact, Adams wrote a nice trilogy including the Guide, The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, and So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish.
    BTW, there is an excellent low budget series from the BBC that follows the book quite well. You can sometimes find the episodes on Youtube. Well worth the watch. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hitchhiker%27s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy_(TV_series)
    While the book is pure fantasy and science fiction, it is witty, well written, and well, just struck a chord with me for some reason.
    C. F.