Saturday, 4 November 2017

Salt Water In My Veins - Chapter 1 - read for free here.

1. Nomad

Land goes forever, there is no end to it. So, how can you decide where to live; in which town or on what street to stop; what woman to marry?
TDLemmon1900 in 'The legend of 1900'


Why do we travel? Is it in the vain hope of finding happiness and fulfillment in some other place? Nope, it's not here in Paris, perhaps over there in Rome. As they say, wherever you go, there you are.
When traveling becomes a search for happiness outside of ourselves, a means to an end; when we continue to live in the past or the future while we travel, it doesn't bring peace of mind or serenity, only frustration and disappointment. When I travel it seems easier to stay present, because everything is new, fresh, unknown, exciting, and possibly dangerous. I remember the first time I went for a long weekend sail cruise with some friends. Time stood still and the three days felt like three weeks, I felt so far away from daily worries and concerns and the present moment was so crystal clear.
Sailing offshore along the Pacific coast and later across the Atlantic, I saw sky that was truly awesome in its glory, with colours of the rainbow all around us or clouds and fog surrounding us like feathers shaken out of a duvet. At night we were often the only speck of humanity for hundreds of miles around, surrounded only by stars and their reflections in the ocean.
And now, as I cruise from country to country and from harbour to harbour, each new place amazes in some way. In Alicante, Spain, it was the sight of the old woman in black selling garlic from a converted baby carriage in the town square. On Majorca, it was the lamb dinner straight from a wood fired oven that had been simmering all afternoon while we climbed to a ruined castle near the restaurant and the farm where the lambs were raised. In Rome, it was the sudden and unexpected view of the Coliseum from a side street. In Florence, it was the sound of a young girl singing opera on a street corner.
Moments like that take my breath away and inspire. I have been wondering why the same feeling of awe is described as 'it takes my breath away,' and 'it inspires me.' One means breathing out and the other breathing in. Breathing is what keeps us alive. Is it possible that awe-some sights, smells, tastes, and sounds keep our soul alive?
Traveling is what feeds my soul, what gives me energy. Yet, perhaps, I’m beginning to think, paying more attention in one place, one town, one neighborhood would do the same thing. Perhaps there are many inspiring things that would take my breath away, right where I am, if I was just to look more deeply and with more presence. Now all I have to do is to find that place. Perhaps it’s just around the corner…
I long to belong, but cruising is not a good way of accomplishing this goal. I meet many people while traveling, however, after an evening in an anchorage or a harbor, we go our separate ways and in the morning I continue my search for a new home port.
I want to find a self-sufficient village where everyone knows from which farmer the milk comes, who makes the best bread and that the mayor is related to the inn-keeper. I want to find a community where I can work, live, play and find all I need within walking distance. There are many villages and towns like this in the Mediterranean, but which one is my home?
Am I a bird blown off course that has lost its flock and tries to join a new flock time and time again without success? No, this is not my flock and not this one either? Where is my flock? Where is my pod, my family, my tribe?
I am perhaps like a plant that was pulled up by the roots in youth when my parents decided to leave Poland and immigrate to Canada, and now it's too late for the roots to dig in deeply. Should I just stop somewhere, anywhere and put those roots down hoping the soil is fertile and my roots will take? Or are my roots so dried and withered that no matter where, they will not grow?
The old-time traveling salesman comes to mind. He was forever moving from town to town, bringing news, and spreading ideas or gossip, moving on before he got too attached to any one place or community, yet feeding on the intimacy for a while, offering the dream of foreign lands and inspiration for others to reach beyond the town walls in exchange. I think perhaps that is my purpose whether I like it or not – the life of a nomad.

~~~_/)

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