This is as far from the New England culture of my impressionable years that I will ever come. My values came from my Mom and Dad, from Boy Scouts, and academic and spiritual mentors, and they serve me well to this day. I grew in the world of equal opportunity and a work hard to succeed (the same world that Thoreau exposed while writing Walden). I drank the koolade of the American dream., and for many adult years working up the career ladder I achieved a modicum of success. It was only late in my years that I realized that in taking the vows of the “American dream” I was forsaking the life I deserved. But that was then.
And now I am a sea-going vagabond.: with the win-lose world of commerce and politics and sports and drama scarcely a dream in my wake. Unless you grew up as a gypsy you would have no inkling that this world exists.
I spend treasured time in solitude with Raven’s Dance as my partner. It’s a big ocean with lots of space for the few who chose this lifestyle. I meet a few mariner-pilgrims/vagabonders/sojourners in gunkholes, celebrate together, and then depart for the next port. It is a road so less traveled that there is no worn path to follow.
The skill sets that I developed to succeed commercially came from the schools that prepared me for corporate success. I was groomed when General Motors was a blue chip stock and Apple was a laughable upstart. How the world has turned upside down since I mis-learned the “rules”!
Vagabonding requires a rejection of these rules and uncommon courage and confidence to throw off convention and set out in the middle of a dark night on your own. It’s not a heroic act, but rather the process of re-valuing and then re-tooling a life half led.
The vagabonder discovers that there is no such thing as security it’s not just a cliche), that home is where the heart is (not a physical location), and most of all you will never be handed a script for valid instructions on how to lead your life. Who is it who has the wisdom and authority to dictate that there is one single right way to be or do life?
But to be successful as a vagabond requires fundamentally different skill sets fro surviving as a drone in a corporate world.
“a privately meaningful manner of travel that emphasizes creativity, adventure, awareness, simplicity, independence, observation, realism, self-reliance and the growth of the spirit through reflection and discovery”.
paraphrased from Vagaabonding by Rolf Potts
To which I would add a few essential skills for a mariner: preparedness, improvisation (jurry-rigging), resolve, good judgment (prudence), commitment gumption (pluck) and luck come to mind.
It is a way of confidentially traveling through life on your own terms: it is a way of enjoying the vivid charm pf the unexpected. It is an un-orthodox non-religion.
The mid game is not to win; it is to collect, assimilate and chew adventure and find the wheat and spit out the chaff.
The mid game is not the safety of the couch. It is to chose that which is not already known to you.(Adventures by definition can not be completely known in advance or they are not adventures).
The mid game is not to travel to see the earth, so you can say you’ve been there; it’s to sit at a site until you discover its essence and add it to who you are becoming
The end game is not to have more toys; the end game is to come to know your self. The former is easy; not so much the latter.