Thursday, January 17, 2008

Northern Interlude

I've just returned to La Paz, from an almost month long trip to the US. I remember joking several times that I was on a much needed vacation from my vacation, but that's exactly what it was. Sailing on the ocean, in my experience, requires so much mental vigilence and physical work that as a form of relaxation, it in fact tends toward the opposite. Flying north on a plane for two thousand miles was insanely easy. Sailing those same two thousand miles was insanely difficult, slow, and uncomfortable. But sailing does make for better stories.

My sister picked me up from the airport and I was in the middle of downtown seattle very quickly. Everything is easy in America. The cold air was penetrating, but it felt, real, comforting and clean. In the middle of downtown Seattle during rush hour, the air is much more clean than it ever is in a Mexican town. From that first night in Seattle life charged out of the gates. The miracle of the cell phone began to do its work, plans were made, chatting was done over glasses of wine, and life blurred by. On the first night I chatted with Gen and Avi at a small tapas/wine bar in Belltown for a while, then made my way down the hill to Pier 70 to find Christophe, drunk, screaming at a billionaire trucking magnate's entourage, with Channel 4 Anchor's Dan Lewis, and Kathy Goertsen, silently looking on. I told sea stories to vintners and trophy wine writers and trophy chicks, all riding the coattails to some insanely good and ridiculously expensive wine. (those two do sometimes go together) Some untouchable southern rhone miracle nearly bowled me over, and Christophe only urged us on, "its all subjective!" A plan was stolen to find a few cows and start an organic herbally infused creamery. Luxury Butter! Women were wooed, and women were lost. More nights passed in the city like this one, jumping from place to place, socializing at full bore, seeing as many people old and new as could be seen. Respite was had in the country, in Preston, Cle Elum, and Red Mountain. The snow was deeper in Cle Elum than I can remember seeing it, and it made for fun skiing, snowshoeing and... football? We tried anyway. A tromp through the snow was the perfect antidote for tropical brain rot. Maybe too perfect, for it became hard to be excited about returning to lonely La Paz, when I had this winter wonderland full of friends and activities. News Flash: I may be a dreamer. That's one conclusion I reached during this trip home. I may be the proverbial shark that can't sleep, always needing new water running past my gills. A circumnavigation is only 5% completed, and yet, my mind has already started moving on to the next, dryer challenge. My passion for the next leg of the trip may come, but it may fade even more, who knows. One difference is to be sure, there are not many people down here my age, or whom I can connect with, whereas Seattle is fuller every day. So,...maybe a sailing companion could be found to reignite my interest in going to the ends of the earth, or maybe I should just keep my boat here on the Mexican coast, for short trips when the Seattle rain drags on too long.

Back in Seattle I had an epiphany of sorts after waking up on Max and Sarah's couch. I thought back to when I was 20ish, and a newly minted 3rd Officer, travelling the world on merchant ships or in my turbocharged car. I had the best job in the world, and not one string kept me from going wherever I wanted. A thousand couches and beds across the globe I've laid my head on since then, and I can't imagine having more fun or another era in which I'd rather live. And when one is 20, it seems the thing to do, to roam, to ponder and to indulge all the delights of this green earth. Now that I'm 30, that's still happening. Most of my friends however, are finally settling down. Even Max has his first job, designing military/medical lazers. Christophe and Maggie are builing a dream house. My oldest friend Hailey in SF has been out of law school for four years! and is flourishing at a big crusty firm downtown. She'll be partner in a few more years, and my perpetual couch crashing chugs ever forward. Just think how out of sync it is to be a 40 year old... vagabond. Worse than a virgin.

This picture below is the view out of Hailey's window. I could stare for an hour at my bridge and not be bored at all.
My instant plan? Sail the boat to the South Pacific next winter hitting the Marquesas and Tahiti and those far off islands, then North along the chains toward Hawaii, and then into the North Pacific, curving in toward Seattle. In Seattle, sell the boat to the next dreamer and buy a run down house in an up and coming neighborhood. A place to put my backpack down and fix up into something real. A place to mention when on a date and someone asks "where do you live?" I think now I could only say, "Oh right now I still live with my parents,...... but they're really cool."

Well. Despite the horror of reality and getting "old", my month home was an amzing time. It was filled with what Alan Greenspan might call "irrational exuberance." I'm just glad the bubble hasn't burst yet. Thanks everyone for another amazing time. Tweet, Avi, Christophe, Billionaire, Sarah Munson, Kathy Goertsen, Dan Lewis, Jamie, Jamie's Mansion, Max, Sarah, Marika, Jennifer, Ashley, Ryan and Feasters, Cliff, Carrie, Caitlin, Margaret, Kevin, Ray, Bubba, Heather, Gertrude's Hearse, Mandy, Murray, David, Maggie, Julian, Mom, Dad, the entire Crosetto Clan, Laurence, Annkia, Meaghan, Hailey, Bob, and that woman at the ariport who nicely reschedulded my flight for free when I wasn't early enough.

To really see Irrational Exuberance there is only one way to do it, with these videos of Dave Murray playing air violin to tapes we discovered of 80s electronic music. Dave, you are my best friend, and the time we spend together each christmas carries me forward for the entire next year.

So for now, I'm in La Paz with a beautiful boat, perfect weather, my backpack, and three weeks to wait until my next crewmember joins for the trip north to the yard. I'm sure I'll find something to do. In the meantime..... email me! love, nic


DM said...

The World.... of Private Music.


What one bottle of wine, nearly 3 feet of snow, a quaint farm house, 80's music, and someone to laugh at you can do for the soul.


Alaska4Life said...

Nice to have you back! Now I have something to look forward to when I check daily!
Sounds like you had a nice time in the North and must have figured out the ultimate question, to Makeout or Not?
Best of Luck!

Hailey said...

It's not crusty.