Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Why do some of us last longer!

The Internet is still giving serious problems here at Mario's. As one of the boaters put it, "It's like a flickering light bulb". Well right now the whole bloody thing has gone down again and I am having a hard job staying calm.

Yes, I know. We are out here cruising and I am acting like a spoilt bitch... Except we stay out cruising by earning a living and that means we need the Internet and that's the main reason that we sailed back here this season. I try to remain philosophical and understand that Guatemala is not London but every so often it overwhelms me. As for TBH it is trying his patience. Say no more!

One of the things that my guru, Lynne Pardey, talks about is the need for a focus of some kind as you cruise. In her view unless you have a task, ie need to earn money, or a goal, there swiftly comes the time when the endless round of beaches and parties begins to pall.

And I think she has a point. When Cruiser's set off on their long planned dream the first couple of years are similar to a honeymoon. The joy of attaining the desired coupled with the shock of facing a, sometimes, unexpected reality. That's the juxtaposition of the wonderful sunsets against the horrible storms to you and me! As the time passes and skills are honed it can become a challenge to maintain the dream that started you off on this adventure. Indeed it seems to me that around year four many cruiser's decide to throw in the towel and head off on another quest... The common denominator of those that go beyond the four year limit seems to be work. Anything from writing to woodwork fits the bill.

I have been wondering why that should make the duration of an adventure longer. I guess I can only answer that from a personal perspective. For us, the fact that we still need to make a living adds to the value of the experience from each place that we visit. Each culture gives us another perspective that we can directly assimilate into the ideas and motivations that we use to earn a crust. We have friends who write for sailing magazines, ones who develop software, those who paint or design and each of them says the same thing. They use the stimulation of travel to feed the creativity that is important to the work that they do.

TBH says that the freedom of having time to think, to read and explore his thoughts and ideas more fully is priceless. An old friend of his, a lecturer at MIT, said enviously recently how she wished she had time to think! I know what she means. When you are busy holding down a conventional full time job, swamped in the minutiae of formal procedures somehow there is never the space to hear what is going on in your brain. It becomes increasingly difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff and make your own, unaided decisions.

A couple of books that we have read recently encapsulate my current feelings,Saddled with Darwin – A journey through South America on Horseback by Toby Green is another travel book par excellence.
He makes some interesting philosophical points, stimulated by his experiences as he travels. It's beautifully written and well worth reading.

The other book is A Short Course in Intellectual Self-Defence, find your inner Chomsky by Normand Baillargeon. This book provides it's readers with the tools to see through every day spin and jargon, from politics to advertising, from mysticism to news reporting. Get hold of a copy and read it!

So the Internet is a vital tool for us, keeping us connected with current thought, new technology and added to the more immediate stimulation of the folk that we find around us, both cruiser's and locals begins to give us the raw materials that we use to earn a living to buy more time to cruise some more...!

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