I found a gem from the past! In 2015, I embarked on what I thought would be a five year circumnavigation on a beautiful gaff-rig schooner. A tale as old as time, what I had hoped for and what actually happened didn't match up in the end. I think I may have written this reflection after choosing to disembark for good on Borabora, in French Polynesia.
At the time I was high on life's uncertainties, having just chosen to jump ship after dropping my life and savings to go sailing around the world on this boat. I had everything I owned with me, and as I wrote this reflection I recall sitting at a dockside table with two friends, also crew mates who jumped with me, looking out onto a crystal clear lagoon with 30 or so moored sailboats in the distance. While we waited for a taxi to take us to a pension for the night, I decided to kick my feet up on our pile of luggage and write this collection of ramblings; the happy hour influenced ramblings of self-discovery...
Sitting here at the bar, in the most beautifully quaint marina restaurant in Borabora, almost seems like a dream whenever I reconnect with the world I chose to leave. Petty drama, an addiction to stress and worry, the belief that one can't accomplish much of anything without money; it all becomes a blur to me, similar to that of a distant nightmare. Money, unfortunately, will always chase down a man, whether it be a dreamer or someone of a more “practical” life, but it doesn’t govern he who doesn’t allow it the pleasure.
People ask me when I plan to return home, to which I have no clear response. I know the question stems from a place of love, or at the least in most cases, but the life I chose to sail away from was too confined, so I broadened my horizons. People are so amazing; naturally resilient and adaptable to practically anything, but for those of us who can’t seem to live without a little fresh air, it's incredibly difficult to force it. Remaining confined to a stagnant life one is brought up to live, with nothing fresh but what media yammers on about is not a life that I want for myself.
I think that sometimes some people may have the wrong impression of my trip-thinking perhaps that it is a vacation, or a short term traveling pipe-dream that I wish to live before returning to the monotonous life that offers a stable routine, occasional drama, the promise of a paycheck with just enough to fund a meager living, and an occasional vacation as a reward for being an obedient member of society. This is not the life for me, and this is also not the reason for my trip. Nope, I knew before I embarked on this journey, and I’ve been learning with every little detail of this adventure that there is much more to this than merely traveling to fill a void.
Just as so many others before me, and many to follow, I live for the opportunities to see the most detailed and intricate artwork that God created: this world. We are already so lucky to be able to live here, but seeing billions of different plants, animals, landscapes, ocean-scapes, cultures, people, etc…That, my friends, is a blessing, and the real blessing is that we have all been born with this opportunity. I definitely agree that some people are born with more opportunity than others, but everyone is born with the same capabilities to work towards and pursue what they want.
So why do I travel? Why am I so insistent on continuing this journey when it is inevitable that there will be times when we have no means to support ourselves, perhaps as extreme as sleeping a night or two in the nearest abandoned house? (In fact, it’s already happened.) Why am I placing so much faith in the unknown that lay ahead? Well, it makes me happy. Of course, I have shitty days that leave me feeling crappy, but the overall feeling I live with now is happiness. Yes, I may get caught up in thinking about the next meal, or the next time I’ll make some money, or where on earth we’ll be staying at next, and certainly how we’ll be getting to the next place, but these are human woes and worries, and they would be no different if I were back home living a routine that made me unhappy. If we are inevitably plagued by unnecessary worry until we learn to rid ourselves of it, why not do something you enjoy while dealing with the bullshit of human nature? Every day is a new day, and it brings with it new challenges, but these challenges are becoming the ones I live for and strive to overcome.
One of the best parts about this life, and one of the other reasons I am traveling, is that I get to appreciate the genuineness and sincerity of people around the world. I get to witness unconditional love, a universal language that lives in every culture. I get to observe what makes different people happy and sad, what people live for, why some people act ridiculous, and what people believe in. Contrastingly, I get to learn about what all of these things mean to me personally. I witness and appreciate talent from people from remote places to the most famous of places, and I get to learn what talents I have. I have spent the majority of my time internally, reflecting on myself and attempting to learn who I am, what I believe in, and what I desire in life…but I never knew how much I could learn about myself by spending time with-and learning from and about other people. I guess that's what it means to grow...