Wednesday, March 21, 2007

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Well, the end is nigh. Rather, it’s back to the beginning.

It has been a great 2 weeks and I expect many more great days before I head her home. Wow. 2 weeks. A lot goes on in two weeks.

Thanks again for all of the well wishes and support. Feel free to email me, but don't be hurt if I take my sweet ass time returning them.

Pretty much packed, maybe a bit too much stuff. I wasn't really sure what to bring when I left and have 'donated' a bunch of clothes each time I repack my kit. If anyone gets to Lima or the islands and sees a guy running around in a blue long sleeved, Canadian flag, Modrobes shirt or a short sleeved Dex button up shirt (or six or eight other perfect specimens of my treasured wardrobe) then don't be surprised. Just appreciate the new Mike Reid Shabby Line for spring, "Imported Oldness, New for the Southern Hemisphere Hand-me-down Connoisseur. Guaranteed aged 5 years". How Chic. I am also sure that the garbage men of Pearson enjoyed my winter coat stuffed into one of those tiny little waste baskets. (You know the ones that look like they are designed for all of your cigarette pack disposal needs?). Too bad - I liked that coat. A great example of how my brain was operating at limited capacity in the 11th hour(s). Can you say the 11th hours? You can now. My little gift to the world.

Thanks also for the books and the recommendations for such things along the way:

Tahiti and French Polynesia - Thanks L.Planet
The Voice of Knowledge - Thanks Mom
The Brothers Karamazov - Thanks Luce
The Life of Pi - Thanks Denise
The Water In Between - Thanks Derek ("He feels compelled to sail to Tahiti to burn away his failings in hard miles at sea" A little bit dramatic, but I get your point. You think I'm a failure.)
Pale Blue Dot - Thanks Garth
Hunger - Thanks Bondy (so long ago!)

As it turns out, Elsie has 100 or so books on board, so if it is a reading vacation then I definitely won't run out of material. Although Walter raised a good point - it might make me sick reading at sea. We shall see. I will get through them by the end and I promise to put them ahead of the 10,000 or so pages on my "to read list" if I don't.

I am coming to realize that one of the side effects of my life and what I did back home was that it limited my imagination. I find myself dreaming again, both while awake and asleep. The first dreams in a long, long time.

In the last two weeks, I have solidified in my brain what it is that I am trying to accomplish. In the end game, I am not here to be here at all. A whirlwind tour of a couple of South American countries isn't what I signed up for. A sailing passage is what I signed up for, but in and of itself doesn't define anything either. I am here to learn two things: 1) how to relax again as I haven't truly been calm in 3 years and 2) to understand why it is that I do the things that I do. Understanding motivation is my first step to unraveling a very complex set of action and reactions that make me, well.. me.

My life was on tilt in a grand scale. It’s not like I have woken up this morning and decided it was level, it _has_ to still be off. Things like that don't go away over night. Saying things don't make them true, but practicing drinking things in at a slow pace and asking myself why I just did something is a step in the right direction for me. Not the over stimulation that I have always sought, but a different stimulation leading hopefully to perspective.

It is an odd ritual when people come in from sea and land dwellers crawl onto the bunk that they just left onboard. There is somewhat of a handoff and I feel like there is a secret handshake of sorts that I didn't remember seeing in the handbook, but have somehow gotten through. I asked Ian for some words of wisdom at sea and he said two things 1) laugh it off, no matter how bad things get and 2) It doesn't matter how frantic things are, or how hard you shove your way around, there are some things that you just can't do anything about. No matter how hard you try, you can't make the wind blow, or blow where you want it to. Sometimes the only thing that you can do is to wait for things to come to you. I think this trip will force feed me some patience and calmness that I have never before had (or make me go totally insane, my throat hoarse from screaming expletives at random sea birds - making this whole exercise just a ride in a boat). I've always thought of the word "inexorable" as one of my favourites and perhaps for the first time in life I am about to truly understand its meaning. We also talked about anchors in life (it’s surprising how many nautical sayings there are in our everyday vernacular when you pay attention) and how tough it is to either loose them or to let them go. Freedom is a derivative, but a consolation prize in some respects and useless without reflection.

This ocean passage is a long one, but benign by most standards. Just as well I guess, its time to take a load off and relax :)

Send positive vibes to Chris, Walter and Myself.


P.S. if anyone happens to have contact or a long lost relative on the island of Maupiti that may want to teach me how to surf and let me sleep on their floor in exchange for menial labour, drop me a line ;) I’ll be the guy in a hammock around late June.