As I sit and contemplate this weeks blog post and topic of discussion, a major storm is raging outside. The Bay is alive with blazing white stallions crashing into the jetty and pier. Sea spray chokes my visibility and the rain, cross-hatched and driving looks more like a screen door than water falling from the sky. I’m not on the boat… I’m in the library with a full view of the harbor and masts rocking like bare birch trees. As most of you know if you’re following along, we’re getting ready to head out this Saturday and we’ve been busy with oil and filter changes, battery checks, outboard maintenance and many other things that never seem to end. I’ve been hit with a bug of some sort and feel like curling up with a book rather than doing what needs to be done and I’m reminded of a quote by my favorite vagabond author, John Steinbeck,
“I have always lived violently, drunk hugely, eaten too much or not at all, slept around the clock or missed two nights of sleeping, worked too hard and too long in glory, or slobbed for a time in utter laziness. I’ve lifted, pulled, chopped, climbed, made love with joy and taken my hangovers as a consequence, not as a punishment.”
“…slobbed for a time in utter laziness.” That’s me today! Oooh… Sorry for the exclamation point. If you don’t know, Travels With Charley is the inspiration for our boats name “VACILANDO” and I highly suggest you pick up a copy at your local used-book store and do yourself the favor of reading it. I have several copies and whenever I travel, I chuck one or two in my bag. I can open it at any point and begin reading while I wait for a plane, train or what-have-you. I give them to people… usually someone I’m sitting next to who invariably asks about the book. Once that happens, it’s almost guaranteed that we’ll talk about their wanderlust and desire to travel. It was written in 1962 and the more I peruse it’s pages, the more I am struck by how relevant it is today. Check it out.
“It occurs to me that just as the Carthaginians hired mercenaries to do their fighting for them, we Americans being in mercenaries to do our hard and humble work. I hope we may not be overwhelmed one day by peoples not too proud or too lazy or too soft to bend to the earth and pick up the things we eat.”
There are others referencing the racial situation in Texas and Alabama, poverty and inequality. He questions, “I wonder why progress looks so much like destruction.” And then writes one of my all-time favorite passages:
“When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked. Four hoarse blasts of a ship’s whistle still raise the hair on my neck and set my feet to tapping. The sound of a jet, an engine warming up, even the clopping of shod hooves on pavement brings on the ancient shudder, the dry mouth and vacant eye, the hot palms and the churn of stomach high up under the rib cage. In other words, once a bum always a bum. I fear this disease incurable. I set this matter down not to instruct others but to inform myself….A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we not take a trip; a trip takes us.”
~John Steinbeck, Travels With Charley: In Search of America
So… that’s it for this week. A small heaping of praise for the man, the author and the book that started all this craziness. We appreciate you following along and checking in. The urge to move is upon us now. I’m getting excited and I know Melody is also. Jet? We’re not so sure. But after an emotional send-off by our friends on Parkview dock, it’s time to go. Thanks Everyone!
Just catching up with you guys. Glad you have the opportunity to take this great adventure!
Leif – great to hear from you! Hope all is well back at HIYC!