The Gauntlet

Whenever I hear those words I think of 3 things..

v1.bTsxMTM3MjY4MjtqOzE3NDExOzEyMDA7MTUzNjsyMDQ4#1 The 1977 movie staring Clint Eastwood and Sandra Locke. IMDB describes the movie as, “A hard but mediocre cop is assigned to escort a prostitute into custody from Las Vegas to Phoenix, so that she can testify in a mob trial. But a lot of people are literally betting that they won’t make it into town alive.” Like most men, I have always been a fan of Clint Eastwood and his style of brash, no nonsense bravado in all his films.

 

 

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#2 To me he epitomizes the stereotypical hard assed, blood and guts male that many a young boy of my era aspired to be, if only in our dreams. Unfortunately I for one could not attain the level of machismo needed to shelter me from all the bullies of my youth. Suffered I did through school and more, all the while dreaming of a time when I would be the one in control. I feel that time has come to pass in my life, and I relish it.

#3 The section of I95 that runs along coastal New Jersey north through New York City and into Connecticut. Ask any truck driver in the northeast and he will agree, this section of highway is “The Gauntlet.” Many drivers from the Midwest refuse to drive here because of the traffic and the vast confusion of roads. Many times I have been intimidated by the mad rush of those familiar with the area, dissuaded and confused with the many interchanges to be negotiated to arrive at a said delivery. This is not for the faint of heart in a car never mind a truck 70 feet long!

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Crossing George Washington Bridge Into New York City

In my years of driving I think this one area has helped me to overcome more than just a fear of getting lost or other such misgivings. I think by driving under this pressure I have found an inner strength and calmness in the face of adversity that will help guide me as I go forward into my chosen future, as I face uncertainty in unprotected waters. I don’t “Rattle” easy and stay calm even in the worst situations, a blessing to help make better decisions in the face of fear.

One learns many things in simple, daily experiences if you are willing to pay attention and see the lessons in life. Never should you feel content in all things lest you fall before the hard reality that you are never in complete control of your life. Never do you amass such a wealth of knowledge that nothing more can be added. The day you think that is the day you fail completely.

 

Winterport Boat Yard On The Penobscot River…Where I Call Home

I thought you might like a few pictures of my boat and the place I will call home while refitting. Winterport Boat Yard is located on the Penobscot River that leads from Penobscot bay to the town of Bangor and beyond. This yard has a great reputation for honest people, great service and reasonable prices. They are equipped with everything I will need to bring Renegade¬†back to the glory of her youth, and return me to mine. And as an added benefit, you can’t beat the view!

Pearson 30 /AKA Renegade

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Winterport Boat Yard

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Penobscot River

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Bangor Maine

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The Chariot Of My Dreams

When self doubt rears it’s ugly head, I ask myself “why am I doing this.” Years ago that doubt would take over and I would most likely walk away from whatever it was I feared and give up. But not this time. I will not hang my head and go quietly into the night. This time I will fight with all my might and win.

It’s hard to put into words my motivation, but I feel the true reason for my goal of living on a boat is the fear of the unknown combined with my want of living a minimalist lifestyle. I have a deep need to prove to myself that I can achieve my goals, I can live a much more fulfilling life. I freely gave up all my past friends, sold or gave away anything of value I had, all for a dream that was clouded in the insecurity I have heaped upon myself. I must release myself from this burden or die a broken man.

Now that I have bought a boat, and the overall quest has begun, I also find myself reassessing what is a reasonable goal for my future, what is it I am REALLY looking for. All I know is that everything in my past is NOT what I wanted, so it’s time for something else. Will I sail to distant shores? Not in this boat. I’m afraid that goal was a little beyond my ability to bring to fruition, the costs for a boat of that caliber were just too high.

As I think this through I realize crossing an ocean would be a wonderful experience, but so would sailing to the Florida Keys, crossing the Gulf to Louisiana and Texas, maybe cross the Panama Canal and travel up the west coast to Alaska. There’s so many places this boat can take me that are completely foreign to me, and I could spend the rest of my life sailing and not see them all. So why do I need to cross an ocean? I really don’t. Like most things in life, it’s all about compromise.

So as I refit the chariot of my dreams over the next year or so I now understand what it is I am searching for, what drives my restless spirit to cast off the lines and sail into the unknown. I want to live free from the drain of modern society and all the burdens placed on us to “fit in” and be accepted. I want to conquer the fear residing in all of us, that nagging doubt that stops many from reaching their goals. I will risk it all for the beauty of the human spirit that resides in all of us, and I will do it on my own.

This post and it’s title were inspired by this video by Liz Clark, a woman I admire for her inner strength and courage to take on the challenge. Watch this short video, you won’t be disappointed.

Patience Is A Virtue

 

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I’m back at the TA in Maybrook NY again this evening on my way back to Maine. I should arrive in Bangor sometime tomorrow afternoon. I’m taking the weekend off to go visit my mom and to pick up the dingy that is part of my boat purchase so I can restore it over the next few weekends. This will take the place of the canoe I was going to buy for my camping trips before this deal presented itself.

IMG_9197 (Large)After another disappointing meal, I should know better by now, I took Vinny for a walk around the truck stop. Poor old guy, he’s at his max dose of pain meds and his tumors are really showing now. I’m not sure how much longer I should keep him going. I guess as long as he’s still happy and playful, still able to get up on his own then his quality of life is still good.

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As we walk around on the freshly cut grass I remind myself that patience is a virtue. I’m almost there, in the grand scheme of things, almost living the life I want. Though it’s been a long road to date, the shadow that has lingered over my steps is beginning to be overcome by a radiant light. This light comes from hard work and never giving up on ones dreams, it comes from patience.

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The signs that lead the way have always been there, but the shadow was too dark, my vision obscured. I failed to understand how much effort is needed to achieve a lasting peace, so fooled was I with the false hope of easy this or that put forth by modern media. The best things in life take time, lots of time. I wish I had thought of these things earlier.

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As I sit here in my truck, the days miles behind me, I understand the view through my windshield is only temporary, a fleeting moment that will soon fade into my memory. In it’s place will be days of adventure and wonder, nights of peaceful slumber. Meeting like minded people instead of those still blinded by the pursuit of money. Sharing beautiful vistas and scary moments with those who wish to see through my eyes, feel what I feel. All you need is a little patience, and I’ll take you there.

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The Truth Of Ones Destiny

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Do you believe in destiny? Do you think your future is predetermined such as in the concept of fate? Like this bridge, do you think there is only one road to your future? I for one know not what the future holds, or if some all seeing guide is providing clues to lead us one way or another. All I know is we are presented with choices each day that have a direct impact on our lives, and I try to choose based on life experience, instinct, common sense and lessons my parents taught me. I must say my choices have become less problematic as of late.

By simplifying everything in my life I have cut down on the afore mentioned choices therefor reducing the chances of bad decisions. At least that’s what I tell myself. In reality I hope it’s just the knowledge I have amassed over the years of trial and error that lead me to the best decisions. Either way I see a better future than I did 15 years ago with a real sense of accomplishment for how far I have come. I now like me.

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Like the beautiful calm in this picture of Portland harbor I took last winter, I feel that same calmness washing over me as I plan for the refit and my time on my sailboat. Whether it’s 5 years or the remainder of my life, that time will be filled with serenity, stillness and a profound sense of content. Each day I awaken to the cry of gulls, the gentle slap of the water on the hull, all of the trials to date will wash away in the solitude of a life immersed only in nature. Each photograph, meal or walk on a deserted beach with nothing but my thoughts and my dog, will be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow I have worked so hard for. No houses, no people, no demands….only freedom.

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I think the truth of ones destiny lies in the truth of your heart. Only if your willing to listen and understand what it’s saying to you can you attain a stillness to your soul, a bounty of blessings free for those who make it their goal. Only when you understand what really matters will you be at peace. My destiny lies on the sea, and to her I say, “Just a little longer and I’ll be right home to you.”

 

 

The Forest For The Trees

Sometimes you have to look through your own perspective on things, see through the forest for the trees. Only then will you see what truly lies in a ray of light, basking in the sunlight between the shadows. Sometimes, if your open to it, a clear path will present itself.

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Remnants of the past are bathed in the glow of life giving rays.

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Nature brings forth a beauty unmatched by man.

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Fields of grass wave before the unseen force of the wind.

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Even when broken, the will to live is strong.

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Through a break in the trees, what do I find?

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On occasion, if your observant, you may find something truly stunning in the woods of Maine. These are Ladyslippers, a type of wild orchid. In my lifetime of 51 years to date I may have seen 10 of them. It was a great walk today.

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New World Man

He’s a rebel and a runner
He’s a signal turning green
He’s a restless young romantic
Wants to run the big machine

He’s got a problem with his poisons
But you know he’ll find a cure
He’s cleaning up the systems
To keep his nature pure

Learning to match the beat of the old-world man
Learning to catch the heat of the third-world man

He’s got to make his own mistakes
And learn to mend the mess he makes
He’s old enough to know what’s right
And young enough not to choose it
He’s noble enough to win the world
But weak enough to lose it

He’s a new-world man

He’s a radio receiver
Tuned to factories and farms
He’s a writer and ranger and a young boy bearing arms
He’s got a problem with his powers
His weapons on patrol
He’s got to walk a fine line
And keep his self-control

Trying to save the day for the old-world man
Trying to pave the way for the third-world man

He’s not concerned with yesterday
He knows constant change is here today
He’s noble enough to know what’s right
But weak enough not to choose it
He’s wise enough to win the world
But fool enough to lose it

He’s a new-world man

Learning to match the beat of the old-world man
He’s learning to catch the heat of the third-world man

He’s a new world man
He’s a new world man

New World Man – Rush

Rush has always been one of my favorite bands. Their lyrics put forth a concise vision, a view expressed by many without voice, only thought. This song brings forth a feeling of acceptance about who I am, a rebel and a runner who has left his poisons in the past to run the big machine. A romantic soul searching for the truth of this life, trying to keep my nature pure. I understand I had it all wrong, I ignored the wisdom of the elders even when I knew it to be right. Foolishness is tied up in the heart of a boy, the rod of reality will remove it far from him.

Experience has shown me the correct path, yet I forget to follow it at times. Caught up in the moment my eyes are sometimes blinded by wants not needs, fears instead of hopes. I am human after all, full of weakness and shortcomings, sadness and regret, hopes and dreams, nobility and kindness. The human spirit can overcome almost anything but only if the will is there. I have proven my will by walking away from my sordid past, but it takes more than one conquest to make a new world man.

When I went to the Winterport Boat Yard to reserve my space for this fall, I met several other boat owners preparing their boats for launch. We spoke for a few minutes until I expressed my hopes for the future upon which they laughed and wished me luck, then walked away from me. At first I was a little dismayed, maybe a little hurt by their disregard of my goals, but upon reflection I see no reason to let the words of old fools discourage me in any way. They may have been sailing for years, obviously have more money than me, but I have the strength of my convictions, the power of my will that has been greatly tested, and I am no quitter.

As I’ve said before, what are you willing to give up to get what you want? I have given up almost everything I owned, still working a job I don’t really like, and walked away from every so called “Friend” I had. I have no house, no apartment, an old used car, and cheap wal-mart clothes. And yet I have something many people with millions never have…hope of a better life by my own hands. Nothing can take away from my devotion to my ideals, my commitment to see this through. I have tried and failed many times in my life, but this time I will succeed.

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Somewhere I Belong

When this began,
I had nothing to say and
And I’d get lost in the nothingness inside of me
(I was confused)
And I let it all out to find/that I’m
Not the only person with these things in mind (inside of me)
But all the vacancy the words revealed
Is the only real thing that I got left to feel.(nothing to lose)
Just stuck, hollow and alone
And the fault is my own,
And the fault is my own.

I want to heal,
I want to feel,
What I thought was never real
I want to let go of the pain I felt so long (Erase all the pain ’til it’s gone)
I want to heal,
I want to feel,
Like I’m close to something real
I want to find something I’ve wanted all along
Somewhere I belong

And I’ve got nothing to say
I can’t believe I didn’t fall right down on my face
(I was confused)
Looking everywhere only to find That it’s
Not the way I had imagined it all in my mind
(So what am I?)
What do I have but negativity?
‘Cause I can’t justify the way everyone is looking at me.(
Nothing to lose)
Nothing to gain, hollow and alone
And the fault is my own,
And the fault is my own

I want to heal,
I want to feel,
What I thought was never real
I want to let go of the pain I’ve held so long(erase all the pain ’till it’s gone.)
I want to heal,
I want to feel,
Like I’m close to something real
I want to find something I’ve wanted all along
Somewhere I belong

I will never know
myself until I do this on my own
And I will never feel,
Anything else until my wounds are healed
I will never be
Anything ’til I break away from me
And I will break away,
And find myself today

I want to heal,
I want to feel,
What I thought was never real
I want to let go of the pain I felt so long (erase all the pain til it’s gone)
I want to heal,
I want to feel,
Like I’m close to something real
I want to find something I’ve wanted all along
Somewhere I belong.

I want to heal.
I want to feel like I’m,
Somewhere I belong, Somewhere I belong.

Somewhere I Belong – Linkin Park

My search for somewhere I belong has been an apparition, a misty image viewed through a mind clouded by false hopes, poor choices, misguided goals and an unclear vision of how I wanted to live my life. For years I wandered from job to job, place to place, never finding anything that pulled me in, satiated my thirst for creativity. Through it all I held onto past grief and regret, never thinking anything through to completion to find an answer. The fault was my own.

As I’ve matured, and removed myself from the self destructive environment I lived in, I realized I’m not alone in my suffering. The desert of pain I wandered in for so long was actually full of others on the same quest for the life giving waters of release, the intentional letting go of the anchor holding us back from true happiness. We all share the same guilt and longing for exemption, all reaching for that feeling of walking away from one life and starting another. I think I’m almost there.

My sailboat is nothing but the vessel that will carry me to the next port in the long voyage that is my life. A kind of floating home that will shelter me from the storms, yet hold me in the light of forgiveness. A place where I can heal all the wounds of my soul and find my inner writer and photographer, a place to pull my creative side out into the view of all who will believe in me.

This blog and all the followers whose comments have been so inspirational to me, coupled with my will to find true peace, has been the lighthouse that has led me across the stormy seas to the sheltered harbor that will be my home very soon. My heart sings when I think of warm days basking in the sun, simple meals prepared by my own hands, and the comfort of my best friend by my side. That misty image is starting to come into focus, the fog of indecision is lifting and I can now see the reason I am here, I can see somewhere I belong.

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What Truth This Sunset Brings

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Each day brings a beginning and an end, just like life itself. The sun rises as our eyes open for the first time and confusion reigns. We grow and mature, each moment grasped in the folds of our minds for recall when the need is apparent. Like the sweet smell of spring grass our senses take in all from the surrounding glory, sometimes missing the magnitude of it’s radiance. All that matters is sometimes lost in the rush for success.

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Gaze out at a simple view and realize what is there. More than a rusty roof, a bush or some grass, a cacophony of life in this field reaching out for the sun and soil, rain and wind. A dance of natures balance all free for the taking if you so desire. So much to explore and see, taste and touch, all wrapped up in the passing of a single day. Many days spent ignoring what was right in front of me, but soon to be remedied.

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What truth this sunset brings is the realization of a dream, the firm grasp of something more than an everyday existence. Letting go of the once held goal of things that never truly satisfied me, never gave me a feeling of where I belong. Soon shall I bask in the sunset from a place of my own, replete with the few possessions needed to have a fulfilling life. A man at peace with himself.

All can find such peace if willing to look deep into oneself for the truth that hides there. Only through deep introspection can you see what hides behind goals formed by others as a means of acceptance. Only when you disregard the path of the masses can you complete the circle of life and end up where you belong, at peace with yourself.