Everyone has a dream. Some want to sail around the world. Others might want to pack up and live off the land in some wilderness area. Back to the earth. Buy an RV and see the USA. Who knows? But everyone has a dream yet most of them are never fulfilled. Why? Well Sterling Hayden pretty much nailed it in his book Wanderer when he wrote:
“‘I’ve always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can’t afford it,’ [so many people say]. What (they) can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of ‘security.’ And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine–and before we know it our lives are gone.
“What does a man need–really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in–and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all–in the material sense. And we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention from the sheer idiocy of the charade.
“The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it the tomb is sealed.”
Before you go any further with this post stop and reread that quote again and thing about how it applies to you and those around you. That quote had such an impact on me it changed my entire life. The power of words can do that to a person.
When I read that quote I wrote it down in my journal and in one form or another I’ve carried it around with me for the past forty one years. It was in 1971. I was working as the assistant public relations director of the largest non-profit hospital in the second most populace county in the State of Florida at the time. It wasn’t that I didn’t like my job. I did. Sorta. But the whole time I was doing it, and being impaled on my own free lance writing magazine articles, I was reading all the boating magazines and dreaming about being on a boat and sailing off to distant shores. And it hit me that 1) I was never going to have enough money to buy the boat I wanted to accomplish that dream. 2) I wasn’t willing to do what it took to make the kind of money it would take to accomplish that dream and 3) If you ARE willing to do what it takes to make that kind of money then you don’t have the time to be out sailing around in the first place until you’re probably too old to do it.
Everyone’s dream in their teens and early twenties or thirties has a young person pulling it off. Not someone who’s carrying around three stents in their arteries, taking pills twice a day to keep their blood pressure in check and whose fingers are gnarled from arthritis.
At about the same time as I read Wanderer I also read Viking’s Wake by Richard MacCullagh that contained a life-changing quote:
“And the bright horizon calls! Many a thing will keep till the world’s work is done, and youth is only a memory. When the old enchanter came to my door laden with dreams, I reached out with both hands. For I knew that he would not be lured with the gold that I might later offer, when age had come upon me.”
I scaled my dreams way down from flashy boats that graced the pages of the yachting publications way down to one where I’d get a set of pontoons, perch a pickup camper insert on it and take off on the Intracoastal Waterway and perhaps do what is known as “The Great Loop” a water route that circles the eastern half of the United States. But the reality of the situation was that I didn’t even have enough money to accomplish that. So when my wife and I parted company in the Great $16.25 Divorce (https://oldsalt1942.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/) I quit my job, got a job as a deckhand on a dinner cruise boat which led me to obtaining a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton license and living out many of my dreams including doing the “Great Loop” in 1974/75, a dozen trips up and down the Intracoastal Waterway, living on the French Riviera and the Costa del Sol for three years and sailing across the Atlantic Ocean on other people’s boats and getting paid to do it, too. I eventually bought my own small sailboat and did a single-handed trip (another dream) from Fort Lauderdale to Mexico, Belize and the Rio Dulce in Guatemala and back.
Recently I found some YouTube videos by someone who calls himself “Skipperfound.”He’s a guy who’s living his dreams. He sort of adapted my pontoon and camper shell idea with plans for taking the boat from Ludington, Michigan down to the Florida Keys. He has over 124 YouTube videos of this trip and other adventures: the conversion of a bus (he sold the boat in Panama City, Florida) and his travels in it, and building a tiny house. This video shows the early stages of the construction of the boat.
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Naturally when someone is doing something as offbeat as Skipperfound it attracts attention. Sometimes people doing the out of the ordinary get interviewed by newspapers along the way. Here he is explaining his reasons for doing what he does. I don’t know if he ever read Sterling Hayden of Richard MacCullagh or not, but he’s sure taken their advise to heart.
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Finally thereis a quote from John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany:
“If you’re lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.”
2 responses to “Everyone Has A Dream – You Need To Live Yours NOW!”
True words and apt advice.
I have been most fortunate to have enjoyed my working life in the practice of architecture, where each day was anticipated as a part of a problem at hand to be (re)solved to the satisfaction of all involved.
The house is now for sale and many material items are being disposed of. Panama beckons. Will look you up after landing is made.
Loved reading the story again, fleshed out a little. And of course it reminds me of the words I’ve carried around for years, from the author’s epilogue to Chichester’s “Gypsy Moth Circles the World”:
For 99.9% of humanity, dreams remain locked up in the secret compartments of the soul. Not for Chichester. For him, to dream is to determine, and to determine, to achieve. People will say, ‘Oh, yes, but he has been lucky. He has made money, he has found rich backers. He does not have to travel daily on the 8:15.’ But surely this is part of the achievement! No one HAS to travel daily on the 8:15!”
I was looking for a photo the other day, and found the ones from my Hawaii to Alaska voyage. We were about two days out from Kauai, and I’m sitting on the stern of Alaska Eagle, doing my nails and grinning like a Cheshire cat. So what, if I just gave up a career? I wouldn’t trade that moment for all the 401Ks in the world.
Hawaii to Alaska is the WRONG direction! But you’re not the first one I know of to go that way. My dad’s second wife’s (he remarried after my mom died) niece lived in Hawaii for many years. She was, in fact, the first female licensed hydrofoil skipper in the islands. She and her husband moved from the islands to Alaska. I always thought there was something horribly wrong with their thought processes.