Thursday, November 03, 2005

Fueling My Escapism--The Ultimate Timewasters

Sometimes I have to remind myself of the Big Picture, because it's easy to lose focus--especially under the neon glare of my new hometown. But I always try to remind myself of the reason why I'm here. No, not just because I want to have the experience of living in Las Vegas, but because it provides me with the means of sometime getting to that ultimate destination that awaits just over the horizon. As much as I love it here in Vegas, I would still rather be somewhere out on a sailboat, working my way around the world one exotic port at a time, eating the local food, drinking the local wine, and never quite catching up to that beautiful sunset.

But the internet is a wonderful thing. As recently as ten years ago, the only way to get a small taste of what I've been so hungry for was to visit the library and read a handful of books that I could have finished during summer break. Now I've found that there is an entire subculture of people just like me out there. Ok, actually better than me due to the fact that they are actually out there doing it. I may be temporarily landlocked, but since there are pioneers out there blazing the trail for the rest of us and sharing their adventures via the internet, it doesn't seem so far away.

I've read literally dozens of sailing logs over the past five years, but I've got a couple of favorites. The first one really gave me the bug--they were leaving on their big adventure about the same time that I discovered that that's exactly what I wanted to do. Since then I've followed their travels with an almost evangelistic devotion. I don't know if they know it or not, but Douglas and Bernadette Bernon are the inspiration to an entire generation of 'future cruisers'. You can read all about their travels at the Log of Ithaka website.

If, sometime in the next several weeks, you finish off all of that reading, I highly recommend following that up with the adventures of the USS Maverick. It's the logs of a two-year circumnavigation by the pithiest Captain ever to set sail upon the seven seas and take pen to logbook. You don't even have to like the ocean to enjoy his great writing style. Bookmark it and read it whenever you get a free hour or two. You'll feel smarter once you do, and your vocabulary will eventually rival that of William F. Buckley.

And one of my new favorite websites would be the Adventures of the Bumfuzzles. They are a great couple who are fortunate enough to be able to sail around the world while still in their thirties, much to the chagrin of several grouchy old armchair sailors who never leave the harbor. Ali and Pat are the exception to youth being wasted on the young, and their knack for having fun keeps me waiting impatiently for new updates every week. Another point in their favor is that they also make the effort to stay in touch via email to people like me, in addition to maintaining a fantastic website. When they get back to this side of the world again, we're hitting the brewpub at Monte Carlo and all the drinks are on me.

If that doesn't give you enough to read, may I suggest the following books: Blown Away by Herb Payson, and Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi. Both are fantastic reads that hold an exalted place in my personal sailing library.

Anyhow--this is the kind of stuff that keeps me motivated even though the days can sometimes be a grind. A lot of people think I'm already 'living the dream' out here in Las Vegas, and it's not too bad. But as great as the view is from here, I still have to close my eyes to see the ocean.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Mikey!

Eat away at the Ben & Jerry's - it may have been founded by dirty hippies, but it's now owned by a heartless, multinational corporation (