Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Long Travel

My Australian Dad will no doubt treasure this picture.

Elias is taking cricket lessons every Tuesday after school.  I've been thinking about how nice it is that we're spending enough time in Hobart for Elias to really experience life as an Australian schoolboy.

And that made me think of my long-standing favorite part of extended travel:

It makes you wealthy.  In the currency of time.

I remember, years ago while I was working at my first "real" biology job in Alaska, listening to two friends tell me about their improbably long trip to Patagonia.  It was the kind of trip to Patagonia that began with them riding their bikes from Fairbanks, Alaska to Panama.  With a detour to Cuba.

They were telling me about some of their experiences in the Peruvian Andes.  At one point they met a muleteer, and took a three-week detour, via mule, around some isolated Andean massif or another.

I remember being so impressed by that - a three-week trip?  That you hadn't even been planning on?

So one of the things that I was really looking for when we first left Kodiak on board Pelagic was the chance to regain that endless feeling that time had when I was in my twenties, that feeling of unstructured-ness that cannot survive exposure to the world of mortgages and nine-to-five.

And it worked - being time-rich is one of the most concrete benefits of the sailing life.

Of course, I'm still making a living as we travel.  And maintaining the boat.  And co-parenting a couple of young kids.  And writing.  So there are times when the I feel anything but time-rich as I rush through a too-short day.

But on this last crossing of the Pacific (which was itself a bit rushed), we were able to spend 46 days in the Marquesas Islands.  That's no time at all for sailors who are travelling at a slower clip than us.  But it felt pretty luxurious to me.

So now, we're embarked on a different type of travel than the constant here-to-there that saw us across the Pacific in six months.  We're spending the Austral winter in Hobart, and that, too implies a wealth of time - the time to take a whole season in one place.  Enough time for our kid to really experience this other country of his (both boys are dual citizens).  Enough time for him to do things like learn to play cricket.

Ah, but.  That brings up the another aspect of extended travel - it's unpredictability.

So yes, we can sign Elias up for cricket class.  But we couldn't have predicted that he would team up with his little friend Victor in class.  Victor is French.  Elias (when it comes to cricket, at least) is American.  They're both natural cut-ups.  So they spend most of their time ignoring the cricket entirely, and just chucking the ball in random directions.  And being sternly talked to by the very patient instructors.


  1. Yes, treasure it he does! And will, even when Elias is far from any cricket pitch. I still think occasionally of how I would love to be playing, how I would now go about it assuming the body and the reflexes were what they were 50 years ago!

    1. You'll have to dust off those reflexes, as I think Elias needs your help. The poor kid bowls underhand...