First World Problems

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Sitting in the warm night air a creepy fog rolled in.  The soft glow of the candle lit cabin made  me smile.  I’ve had no power on the boat since my batteries died in January but haven’t missed electric light for a single second.  Life is tough right now and a bit scary, all first world problems.

Falmouth Cutter 22

I remember like it was yesterday, I was standing smack dab in the middle of the Wilshire District berating the ATT cell phone customer service rep.  It was my frustration I remember the most, I live in LA, the epicenter of the world and my phone is dropping every call, my frustrated voice cracked over the phone.  The funny thing is that while I remember that call I can’t for the life of me remember any of the calls that led to it, obviously of very little circumstance.  It’s easy in this day and age to truly believe that the world revolves around me and my life.  I am the epicenter of the world, or at least I spent the majority of my life thinking that I was.

Its easy to ignore the fact that we are bombing the shit out of other countries when I’m almost out of Italian coffee and don’t have money to buy another pound.

I got pissed the other day when my drunk friend put his hand in my varnish after I warned him ten times that I had wet varnish, who cares if half the country is unemployed and starving.

last night we shared the absolute smallest and most pitiful piece of meat I have ever seen.  We didn’t raise or slaugter the animal it came from, we didn’t butcher it or clean it, we just unwrapped it and cooked it and bitched about how small it was.  I wonder what reaction a starving person would have to being offered 100% pure protein, I doubt they would complain.

The internet is so slow here in the resort marina I live in that its a constant form of stress and criticism.  I get stressed out and pissed off because I can’t play online when over half the developing world doesn’t have clean water to drink.

The tourists around here annoy me to no end, everyday I swear I’m moving out to the anchorage.  i wonder what life is like for people who try and live in peace while the US is doing fly by’s in bomber jets and blowing up their towns so I can have cheap fuel for my outboard.  If Cuba was bombing the shit out of the San Juans I would fight back too and then be labeled a terrorist for attempting to keep my family safe.

There is no fresh food on the boat, no snacks, no top shelf whiskey, no light, and not even a real stove.  My cushions need replacing and refilling, my two gallon water tank is a total pain in the ass.  I want lifelines, a boom gallows and a real GPS.  I don’t even own a pair of shoes yet I live in one of the most premire destinations in the world.  My name is stormy and I have so many wants and needs I can’t keep them all straight.  Maybe the world does revolve around me.  Then again maybe I’m just another privileged asshole.

All the problems of the world could be settled if people were only willing to think.  The trouble is that people very often resort to all sorts of devices in order not to think, because thinking is such hard work.  Unknown

A Flicka In Every Harbor

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I’ve spent my life coming and going, it never gets any easier saying goodbye.  Emily came to me for sailing lessons but it soon became apparent that what she really needed was a life coach.  In a few short days I will be nudging her out of the nest and turning her loose on the world, her world.

Emily

At the tender age of 25 Emily was lost, walking a fine line between being a migrant worker working hand to mouth and being a college grad with student debt and an obvious need to enter the so called real world and become a socially responsible drone worker.  Reading through Sanjuansufficiency I found a link titled Everyone I know is brokenhearted, it hit the nail on the head.

In another life  we had a term called slap them and hug them.  The point was to be completely honest and direct pointing out in no uncertain terms what the exact situation is “you’re fucked, nobody fucked you, you fucked yourself…now deal with it”, no coddling here.  The second step once you’ve got their undivided attention is to take them gently by the had and lead them to a better life.  Emily has been a excellent student of life and will continue to follow her heart and work as a migrant seasonal worker.  Before her 26th birthday she will be debt free and living on her dream boat a Pacific Seacraft Flicka.  She rarely makes more than minimum wage but that usually comes with room and board.  Even on her miserable income she is free and will earn enough to pay cash for her new home and become her own captian.

More than anything Emily wants to write and time and time again I had to be the tough editor telling her to go back to the drawing board.  Finally in a fit of frustration I sat her down and asked her what the hell she was writing about.  My story is mine and you can’t have it, I told her in no uncertain terms.  I sent her to the bow with a pencil and pad of paper and asked her to figure out who she was and to find her own story.  Below is her first attempt after a thousand drafts of looking in the mirror and for the first time ever being honest with her dreams.  We all have a story, whats yours?

Pretending to live aboard is a lot like playing house. You cook and clean up in the tiny galley, you pee in a bucket at night and walk the dog in the morning. Despite the blackberries in full force where you poop the dog, the way the dock feels at different times of the day on your bare feet, and the way the marina bathroom always seems to feel so clean and inviting, it is not your boat, your dog, your slip or your life. You will not know what to do if the boat catches on fire from leaving the old batteries plugged in or from cooking on the butane camp stove. You will not feel the pangs when someone ashes their cigarette accidentally in the cockpit. Your face will not drop when someone brushes against your fresh coat of varnish.  You will never be responsible for something that isn’t yours.

Spending so much time on someone else’s boat means that everyone you meet will assume it is yours. People will start seeing you day after day and think you live there, permanently. After a certain amount of time you might just stop correcting them. You might start using terms like, “us, we, ours.” But it will never be yours. 

I’ve always said it’s dangerous to be in love with the idea of someone. There’s nothing wrong with being in love with a lifestyle, but make sure it’s your lifestyle. Make sure it’s your hard work that got you on that boat. Whether it’s the prettiest boat in the harbor or the biggest hunk of shit, make sure it’s yours. Make sure it’s your story you’re telling.  ~Emily Greenberg

Grasshopper, when you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.

Unemployment Benefits

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The journey continues…  My life savings is now $76.00 but I’m headed to the marine chandlery so I expect I will be broke by the end of the day.  Logic would dictate that I should be in the V-berth curled up in a fetal position sucking my thumb and on the verge of a complete panic attack.  Winter looms and I loose my slip in a few weeks, well…

falmouth cutter 22

This isn’t my first rodeo, my glass is half full and I’ve finally started my annual maintenece on Sookie.  There have been quite a few haters showing up lately and the negative comments are flying high, if nothing else this to me is proof that I am living an authentic life.  A life most are so afraid to embark on that they literally hate the few of us that take that giant leap.

We all have choices, mine started a decade ago when I chose to fight the preverbal MAN.  I walked away from everything knowing full well it wouldn’t be easy but is anything worth doing in this world easy?  I’ve been self employed since before the turn of the century which means when hard times come I don’t have that safety net of unemployment insurance the rest of the county has to fall back on.  Free money would be nice but there is nothing free about it.  It’s go time and the only thing I can say is that there is nothing more efficient than a scared man with a bucket.

They call them freedom chips for a reason,  we all need guidance from time to time and when times get this scary Cap’n Fatty Goodlander is as good a place to start as anywhere.  Cap’n Fatty literally has written the book on freedom and sail.  So we do what we have to do to follow our chosen paths, certainly there are times when it sucks but the payoff is priceless, we reap what we sow.

This has been one of the best weekends of my life, virtually every brilliant writing sailor in the reagin is within a stones throw.  Friends both new and old flow as freely as the wine.  You can spend your life reading about what its like to cast the lines and drift into your dreams but nothing will show you the real joys of freedom other than taking that first step.  Step off the cliff and a net will appear.

There is no path to happiness because happiness IS the path.  Cap’n Fatty Goodlander

Overload

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Its official the spy car is dead and I’m unemployed.  I wasn’t able to save a single penny on my short lived work foray but who cares.  I’m on the verge of having a cesure being that two of my favorite sailing couples have sailed over the horizon and appeared in the harbor, life as a transient sailor is good.

Lyle Hess

Karen and Jim arrived today almost at the exact same time as Jessie and Neil, I might be broke but I’m not destitute, The boat is absolutely loaded with world class booze and enough snacks to feed the whole island, WINE PARTY!!!

Don’t worry about the world ending today.  Its already tomorrow in Fiji…Unknown

 

Game Of Thrones

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I know better than counting my chickens before my eggs have hatched but I still had counted on many things this summer.  Like a game of thrones my 10 weeks in Eagle harbor have been ups downs and anything but normal.  10 weeks of land sickness continues, my secret agent vehicle caught on fire today and that may be it for my so called summer employment.  I’ve beenn stretched financially in every direction other than my own and upgrades and progress on the boat is going slow.

Surly Karate Monkey

The absolute beauty of being free is that I can do anything I want anytime I want.  Tomorrow I will find out if I have any reason to remain on this Island and if I don’t the lines will be untied and I will drift toward a new secret Island I have found to store Sookie while I pedal off in search of a better life for Chloe.  My touring budget is now Zero but I’m finding a goldmine of this and that for the journey deep in the darkest corners of my bilges.

Deuter ACT Trail 24

I have used my Deuter ACT Trail 24 every day for over a year and a half.  It is still in 100% perfect condition other than some road rash on the lid from my tragic bike accident a few weeks a go.  If only Chloe’s trailer was built as tough as this pack we would be out on the road right now.  At 1460 Ci or 24 liters this is considered little more than a day pack but its almost light, built like a brick shit house and has a water resistant cover.  It holds an 18 pack of ice cold beers and has been used and abused for hundreds of days without fail.  I have thrown into a soaking dingy on a daily basis, carried thousands of dollars worth of electronics in it in total down pours, smuggled moonshine and other contraban. If it wasn’t for the god awful coler I would say that this is the perfect pack, it even opens like a suitcase so I can pack my junk neatly when I hitch hike across the state every year.

Deuter act trail 24

It has a wine sleeve on one side, a huge water bottle pocket on the other and a stow away full size hip belt.  This is a the perfect pack for everything from blue collar bikepacking to overnight peak-bagging and everything in between, its also the perfect carry on.

minimalist bike repair kir

My minimalist bike repair kit fits in a small pocket under my lid.

stealth camping

Ultra light is the name of the game, I found my old 3 ounce wind shirt, and my 2 ounce cap.  A free map doesn’t show the best stealth campgrounds but my charts told me what I wanted to know.

ultralight backpacking

It was through ultralight backpacking that I honed my minimalist skills on a boat.  Everything will carry over on the next journey but now more than ever every ouch counts.

ultralight cook kit

I’ve held onto this silly old pot holder for years and years, not because I ever thought I would use it again but because my ex wife bought it for me on our honeymoon in Cicely Alaska and I was just holding onto something special.  Now I have a frying pan that is steel but costs 90 bucks less than an equivelent titanium one and weighs half an ounce less :)

minimalist bike packing cook kit

I don’t know what this silly stove is but it works great for making my morning cowboy coffee.  I usually just make a small fire and stick my ti cup right in it.  I’m surprised by all the goodies I am finding on this tiny boat, they may not all make the final cut but as it turns out I have almost everything I need.

altoids  survival kit

I don’t go anywhere without my Moosjaw flag and Altioids survival kit.  Most of my awesome swag has been complements of Moosejaw and my Nikon ;) Thanks guys!

Goose down ultraight bag

I found a bunch of stakes to hold the tarp I don’t yet own and my old 30 degree down bag is really only good to about 45 degrees but thats what al the rest of my warmies are for.  It might not keep me very warm but I own it.  It weighs about a pound and stuffs to the size of a loaf of bread.

Rat Izula

My Rat Izula and a few other items get wrapped up in a 10 year old buff and no thats not Viagra in my one ounce first aid kit.

all packed up

Everything fits into the pack with room to spare, I love how this pack opens like a suitcase for easy access and organization.  I stuff my loose sleep bag into the top so its is always east to get at.  Everything for a quick two night trip is packed and ready to go with room to spare.  If I need more room I can strap my bag in a stuff sac to my bars. The only things missing are a tarp and a sleeping pad but I’m still looking.  Carrying a back pack is not ideal for bike touring.  I have done this many times and it has always sucked but I don’t mind a little suffrage on the trail, its beats the shit out of staying home and watching other people do it online ;)

I will not become a page in someone else’s history book.  Unknown…

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