Ah, to travel. And for what purpose? To experience places beyond my front yard, of course. By car, the other place might include a grocery store or the local used bookstore, or the post office; it might include the experience of visiting a friend and catching up. And, of course, there are the greater adventures by car, traveling to our great national parks, Yellowstone to Mesa Verde, and places in between, camping under the stars.
But to experience far-away places, my most favored way to travel is by sailboat. All that I need is on board: my sleeping quarters, food, water, clothing, and books to read. Once the sails are set, the sea pulls me into her arms where I’m rocked to sleep or tossed in its more exuberant moments of tempest and storms. The longer I’m at sea, the more peaceful and joyful I feel. My ego lies down, and I find myself to be little more than a piece of dust in the immensity of the universe floating on this blue globe in an endless black space. Though a sailboat can, and must arrive, in larger ports in order to clear customs – those malignant cities on the edges of land masses big or small – a sailboat can move away from those noisy, dirty places and slip into the untouched bays and coves, less touched by “civilization.”
I no longer have a sailboat, and it’s been many years since I’ve sailed. Sailing is slow, as travel should be, traveling 100 to 200 miles a day, so much different than I would travel now. To visit another country, I zoom to an airport to hop on a plane to take me to the other side of the world, flying over great expanses of land, missing all the sights to be seen had I been down on the ground. But when I arrive in that foreign land, I stay in cheap hostels, and I always opt for public transportation — the local “chicken” buses or trains, however it is the local people travel — so that I can experience the place to which I’ve traveled and not the mirror image reflected in hotels or promoted through the travel brochures back home.