On our Monterey trip, we spent a day in foggy Half Moon Bay
A while back, I noticed a comment that Bonnie had left on someone's** blog about a dream trip she'd like to do: hitchhiking with her kayak aboard a sailboat up the Hudson and kayaking all the way back home.
Another quest in the making.
What is it about sailors (and paddlers, too?) that has so many of us always thinking about what's over the horizon? We all seem to be planning or dreaming about a 'quest' of some sort.
Does having a boat lead us to seek out new destinations or is it the other way round? Are sailors a different kind of people whose taste for adventure has led us to boats?
My parents grew up in Philadelphia and spent most of their lives there, content to remain in a world that was safe, predictable, and contained in a single American city.
I was just the opposite. From my first college trip to San Francisco, I've wanted to see what was out there. But it was more than just a desire to travel. I've always wanted to discover things on my own, not to be shown the sites by Circle Grayline.
One of the things I liked about getting back on a bicycle as an adult was the miles you could cover under your own steam. Doing 50 - 100 miles a day meant you could use a bike to travel. And you can take a bike on a train...or on an airplane. There's really no place in the world you can't get to that way.
My first long bike trip was through the rains and muck of rural England, Wales, and Ireland. I was cold and wet, but I was out there on my own. There was something remarkably satisfying about the independence of it. The next trip was to sunnier places - Germany, Austria, Switzerland. I carried a little duffle on the back of the bike. If it wouldn't fit in that bag, it stayed home. Travelling light somehow made me more independent.
There was no itinerary. No list of museums, cathedrals, or famous sites I had to see. If I found a place that looked cool, I stayed for a while. If a road looked interesting, that's where I turned. I absolutely loved being somewhere where I didn't know all of the answers and had to figure things out as I went.
The bicycle, the kayak, the sailboat. There's something common to all three. They're all low-tech, self-contained, and give us a sense of independence. They provide the freedom to go where we want when we want to, but we also have the responsibility for everything that happens to us out there.
With the freedom comes personal responsibility. There seems to be less and less of both in our world today.
Is that what we're seeking as sailors?
I could have rented a car and driven around Europe like most people do. But what was it about doing it on a bicycle that made it so much better?
When I was just getting into sailing, we dragged our little 15-foot daysailer 800 miles up to Washington state so we could gunkhole the San Juan Islands. We could have easily gone from island to island by ferry boat like most tourists do, but why was it so much better making five-mile passages in a little open boat? Why was it so cool coming into Fish Bay on Lopez as sailors, the way the first people on the island had done a thousand years before?
Last summer, we took our Catalina down the coast a hundred miles to Santa Cruz and Monterey - places we've driven to often for many years. What was it about approaching those towns by boat that made that trip so special?
Why does Bonnie want to kayak a hundred miles down the Hudson river when there are so many other ways to see that country that would be more comfortable, safer, and quicker? Is it the slow pace itself that's the draw?
I'm not sure I know the answers to any of these questions.
Have you taken a trip in your boat that gave you this sense of freedom or discovery? Are you planning one?
**Sorry, couldn't find the post and I can't remember whose blog it was. Bonnie, can you provide the link?