Life Overlaps, So I Might Go Sailing!
October 5, 2008 by rtwsenior
No sooner do I put one big project to bed, (my book is completed and published), than two or three other urgencies fill the void. One must, naturally, do things to announce the book’s existence to the world or it will wither and die unread upon the vine. Now that I am face-to-face with it, I’m beginning to understand that this could fill months of my time since things like speaking engagements and media interviews take awhile to come about.
But long ago, when the book was still in its beginning stages and I hadn’t realized exactly how long books take to finish, I set the departure date for my next around-the-world trip for January, 2009. How far away that sounded then. January to May is also the period when my snowbird neighbors will be here to watch over things at home and that determined the length of my trip. It all looked so neat in theory. Now, Push is beginning to lean heavily on Shove, and though I’m still on schedule, I’m beginning to multi-task even more.
So, into this running contest between my to-do lists and my chronic need now for long exercise beach walks to Caladesi Island, injects a new and alluring possibility…probably somewhat related to the slightly neglected shoreline. I have learned about a new way for a vagabond like me to get around the planet.
Sailing! Well, I always knew that people could sail around the world. My father attempted it during the last depression. But, I never knew that I might be able to actually sail long distances across the ocean depths, myself. I have no yacht, nor do I know anyone who might just so happen to invite me aboard for a long sail to exactly the countries that I have on my planned itinerary. And so, I figured that this was probably something that I’d never experience in this lifetime.
But, a lifeline has been thrown! Do I catch it? Shall I shift the focus of this next trip to the means of transportation rather than the countries sampled? I have just learned of a website which matches potential crew members (yes, even inexperienced ones) with boats of all sizes and sorts. Very often, the passenger/crew member travels free or for some shared expenses, in return for the labor required by their position on the ship. They earn no salary. They pay no fare. But, they eventually get to their destination. Everyone wins. And, since there are always boats and ships criss-crossing most of the planet’s waters, there will usually be one that fits your specifications, needing a crew member to do something that you know how to do. Even stewarding or nanny service is advertised and, in many cases, you don’t have to be an experienced seaman, or seawoman, to qualify. Some captains don’t put age caps on their consideration of an applicant. The website is: www.findacrew.net and there is no charge to join up. Those who become interested enough to do serious business, can become a premium member for less than fifty dollars.
As time goes by, and I become more in the groove about trip preparation, I will be reporting here on the decisions that I make about the safer, saner, and swifter solution of simply buying a single around the world air ticket and being done with it….and the much more crazy, insecure, and unpredictable, but far more romantic idea of sailing the South Pacific to all the lands down under. Do I have the guts to go for that new level of leaving behind all pretense at a comfort zone and a solid guarantee of arrivals and departures? (Hmmm, as I recall that was pretty iffy in the standardly-accepted method of air travel… )
Examined more closely, surely the slower, more laid-back life aboard a sailing craft just beats, hands down, a frenetic travel onslaught like the one I waged on the Northern Hemisphere a few years ago. At any rate, it’s very good to know that there’s a choice.