Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Where are you dreaming of?
I'm about to do all of this and more. Throwing off bowlines. Throwing off all lines, all ties, all holds that bind and brace. About to sail away into the vast blue yonder. I feel like I'm molting. Not molting, exactly, maybe I need to coin a new word. Smolting, that's it. A combination of melting, molting and smelting. I am smolting like a caterpillar on it's way to becoming something totally different. They call that process 'metamorphosis' from the Greek, 'meta' meaning above or beyond, changed or altered and 'Morpheus' the Greek God of dreams, son of sleep. I am about to catch all trade winds, and winds completely unassociated with trade. Leisure winds, lagoon winds, languishing and lewd winds. Prevailing winds, all easterlies and westerlies and, especially, southerlies. Winds that cajole and caress. Winds that whisper sweet nothings. I will be at the mercy of winds I have never felt caress my skin. I will miss the Monsoon, flying into Asia in high summer, rains not forecast for many months to come. And the safe harbor I am leaving has indeed been a haven, where the process of smolting has been happening for a good while now, but the safe haven now comes to look like a prison, it's safety having grown bars.
I am so scared of this voyage ahead. And so completely exhilarated! This is as it should be because I believe the process of breaking free is painful, and all the lonely ghosts that want your companionship in misery exert, at this time, their strongest hold. So you pull away in bits, in fits and starts, you pull away hearing in the background the soft tearing of flesh as some deep inner membrane begins to come away from that to which it was anchored. You pull away with the little fears of childhood that have now, over the course of a life, become substantial, ingrained, second, if not first, nature. You pull away with them yanking on you with all their might, the fears that invade your nights and open your dreams to their subtle, but strident, calls. They pull at you until you think you are going to give in, cave in, sink into the quagmire from which you will never be able to extricate yourself over the span of one lifetime. Till you think you have made some horrendous mistake that is going to upset the ecliptic of the equinoxes or the earths orbit around the sun. You hear them say (and now you mimic them) I am too old, sick, poor, feeble (fill in your own adjective)... they want you to feel small, insignificant, weak. They want you to walk away. To say, that's what other people do, travel, see the world, go out on a limb, on an impulse, on the wing of a bird flying in search of sustainance. To say, I wish I could do that! yet secretly covet your armchair in front of the tv where no winds will blow, trade or otherwise, to disturb your slumber. I heard them, alright, I almost sucumbed to them, almost said 'later'... but something else seems to have grabbed my attention. Something to do with what's beyond the voices, something I can barely hold within myself, it is so lively and reckless (from the German 'ruckloss' meaning wicked). And it has proved stronger than all the other voices.
And, for fear that in twenty years from now, in five, in two, I will feel disappointed with myself for not having done whatever it is your heart is calling for you to do, for me to do, I'll take Mark Twain's advise and head out into the trade winds hoping that they will catch my sail and take me to where I could never imagine (but always have been imagining) I will go.
Come along on the journey! I will write daily and post photos of the places I will visit. Leave the rain and travel to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam and across to America via the back entrance. Who knows, it may inspire your own journey to those destinations you've always secretly (or blatantly) imagined...