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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Another week behind the wheel, another week closer to my goals. I’m parked in Dingman’s Ferry Pa again tonight, and I took Vinny for a walk up the hill. Anytime the weather is good we go up top to stretch our legs.
I say hill, but it’s not much really. This may only be a parking area by a McDonald’s, but it’s better than a dirty old truck stop! It’s a short steep hill but worth the climb.
The wind is strong today but the temp is 70 or so and Vinny just stands there as it blows past, slowly sniffing the scents we will never notice.
I think it would be good to be a dog. Every moment a cascade of pleasure surrounded by the people that care for you and the simple pleasures only a dog could know. Sometimes he stares at the sky and I wonder if he can appreciate the beautiful blue color.
When the wind rustles the dry leaves in the woods, does he sense the rhythm of nature, the symphony it places before us if we listen?
I can’t help but feel a sense of comfort, a feeling of calm as I sit here. I’m in my element outdoors and I relish every moment I have to spend in the sunlight. Tomorrow I will drive 600 or more miles, and by Wednesday morning I will be in Georgia and half my week will be over. I hope to be back by Saturday so I can visit some people that have an existing charity in Maine and have offered to help me start my plan of sailing adventures for veterans and their children. I’m very excited to get started down my chosen path, my chance to make up for past mistakes and make a real difference. You can stand me up at the gates of hell but I won’t back down.
Jan lays down and wrestles in her sleep Moonlight spills on comic books And superstars in magazines An old friend calls and tells us where to meet Her plane takes off from Baltimore And touches down on Bourbon Street
We sit outside and argue all night long About a god we’ve never seen But never fails to side with me Sunday comes and all the papers say Ma Teresa’s joined the mob And happy with her full time job
Do do do do do do
Am I alive or thoughts that drift away? Does summer come for everyone? Can humans do as prophets say? And if I die before I learn to speak Can money pay for all the days I lived awake But half asleep?
Do do do do do do
A life is time, they teach us growing up The seconds ticking killed us all A million years before the fall You ride the waves and don’t ask where they go You swim like lions through the crest And bathe yourself on zebra flesh
I’ve been downhearted baby, I’ve been downhearted baby, Ever since the day we met
Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth With Money In My Hand – Primitive Radio Gods
I needed some downtime today so I went for a ride down the coast of Maine to recharge my inner battery. I’ve had a difficult couple weeks as of late and time alone with Vinny and my thoughts always helps to refocus my mind back to what I am working so hard for. Interactions with people have drained me to the point that the only person I wanted to see today was my mom, and I stopped to see her during my escape. She’s the only person that really matters to me at this point and I was happy to see she was doing well.
There’s something about the coast that gives me a feeling of peace, the toils of life seem to fade ever so slightly into the background. The smell of the salt air combined with the mud flats bring me back to a more innocent time as a child sitting by the shore in Cape Elizabeth. I stopped many times today when the view called to me.
I made my way down to LL Bean again to look at canoes for this summers adventures. They have a wonderful assortment of kayaks and canoe’s to choose from. I think an “Old Town Discovery 119” solo will do the trick. I don’t mind paying a premium for quality that will last a lifetime and these canoe’s fit the bill.
When I made it to Brunswick I stopped at a wire bridge to walk Vinny and get a closer look. The river is roaring right now and the day was brilliant. A great day to be in Maine.
As far as I have come over the last few years I still find I’m wrestling with demons of my past, still looking for release from the sometimes harsh reality of the world we live in. As I sat beside the water today I’m reminded of what it is that has always given me the most happiness, the soft blanket to rest my soul on. Walking with my dog, the solitude in nature, no sound but the wind, the sun on my face. Some moments are so surreal I ask myself, Am I alive or thoughts that drift away?
I spent the night at the TA truck stop in Southington Connecticut last night. I try to frequent the TA chain more than others as they have better shower facilities, they are generally cleaner, (at least on the inside!) and I receive points for every gallon of diesel. Most chains give points but I’m not setting foot in their showers! Eww! As I walk Vinny this morning I am treated to a brilliant view.
First the truck stop looking west…You can just see the nose of my truck on the left.
Like most every reset I like to take a walk with Vinny my dog. Today we are at the TA in Maybrook NY. I was told by someone who works here of an old farm that used to be in the area, so we went to take a look.
Here’s the stone entrance he spoke of.
Whats that smell? The smell of death is never mistaken for anything else. Here is the carcass of a dear and other trash dumped by someone.
A little further up the road and one would think they arrived at the town dump.
Even more around the next corner. Many people have no respect.
Some of the trash has been here a long time. When was the last time you saw one of these?
A little farther in I found the old farm well and what looked like a large stone BBQ.
Here’s the remnants of a cement block barn, and even more trash!
Past this point I come into an area that looks like it was open pasture some time ago.
As we are walking back to the truck I notice something shiny in the crotch of a tree. What in the world is that doing there? You never know just what you will find at old homesteads.
As we walk back into the truck stop, I thought it fitting that this truck came out hauling hay.
Well Vinny, time to kick back, pluck all the ticks out of my socks and your fur and take a nap. Goodnight all!
Anyone who knows me understands that I am obsessed with sailboats, right mom? But realistically the boat is only a means to an end. The boat is one piece in the lifestyle I have been searching for my entire life, even though I didn’t understand the “Big Picture” until recently.
Some years ago I moved my folks to a town in central Maine called Sebec. We bought 2 plots of land and a 34 foot motor home. (If you look closely you can see Vinny in the windshield)
We stayed at a nearby campground for a month while my father and I cleared one lot to move the camper to so we could live while setting up their home next door.Here’s a few pictures of the initial setup for the camper.
Once this part was done we could place the camper and not pay for the campground. I had a power pole placed and we moved onto what would become my lot. I think it was only a week or so until we had a bad hailstorm come through. Pretty big hail for Maine!
My mother and I still talk about how much fun it was living in that camper.
Later, after my folks home was complete and they moved in, I cleared further back on my lot to build a shelter for the camper. I rented a small excavator to do the heavy lifting then built the structure. At this point in time my father was recovering from cancer and couldn’t help much even though he tried.
This picture above shows the left side of the camper. What you don’t see is the area to the right and the whole reason I set the lot up this way. This is Meadow Brook, about 50 feet from the right side and down a small hill. (There are the young cinnamon ferns Jessica!)
This was the point in my life I had broken from the drug use of my past. Every day was a struggle to suppress the urge to fall back on the “crutch” I had relied on for so long. My goal in doing all this was to help my folks live in a less expensive area and remove myself from all the reminders of my past, including every person that I knew from a very troubling time in my life. I wanted the freedom of my little spot on this earth where I could get away from the stress of everyday trials, my safe haven. What I didn’t realize at the time was I would not find my peace tied to one spot. My wandering spirit and lust for ever greater adventure was bubbling forth now that my mind was clearing.
Some years later when my father lost his drivers license, my folks could not stay here because they were to far from stores and no public transportation was available. My fathers dementia was also becoming more apparent along with his angry outbursts. Not long after my folks gave up their house to the bank and moved to an apartment I sold my camper and land. I started to see I was never going to be happy in one place, never going to feel at home living a “Normal” life as most do.
My lust for travel was partially satisfied when I bought my truck and rode through almost all the states with Vinny at my side. It was at this time that I started to understand what inspired me, what gave me a true feeling of freedom. The idea of having your home with you all the time means you always have your comfort zone. Like a turtle, your always home no matter what. Everything you need is within reach anytime you need it. I felt in control for the first time in my life.
The idea of a sailboat came from the story of Laura Dekker. Laura was the 14 year old Dutch girl who had a dream of being the youngest person to sail around the world alone, and she did it! If you have never seen her movie “Maidentrip” on Netflix you really should. I was totally inspired by her strength and tenacity even when her own government tried to stop her.
I don’t know if I will sail around the world, but I know living free on a boat, no rent or property taxes, no electric or phone bills, it’s the way I want to spend the rest of my life. Even now as I watch her movie again I feel a strong attachment not to her, I don’t personally know her, but to her spirit and her strength, her unwillingness to give up. Just like my father, she never quit and neither will I.
I’ve looked at many boats, read many stories and articles about this design and that. Studied what made this boat or that the ideal candidate for me, but I finally realized I was not really forming a plan, setting a goal. I think now I have the perfect boat in mind, the goal I need to focus my aspirations toward.
Lin and Larry Pardey are among America’s (and the world’s) most knowledgeable and recognized cruising sailors. They are known as “America’s first couple of cruising.” Together, Lin and Larry have sailed over 200,000 miles, including two circumnavigations east to west and west to east aboard self-built, wooden, engine-free cutters under 30 feet. Author of a dozen books, countless magazine articles, and co-creators of five cruising documentaries, Lin and Larry have shared their sailing experiences with tens of thousands around the globe prompting many to take up the sport and live the dream of the cruising lifestyle. Their motto has always been, Go simple, go small, go now!
The above image and script comes from Lin & Larry Pardey’s website. Of all the information I have read I believe theirs is the idea I should follow. I see no need for a large boat, all the amenities and all the costs that go with it. A boat 30 feet or less, very stout and strong, good storage and easy to sail single-handed. A boat that has a proven record of seaworthiness and open ocean passages. A boat I can trust to get me there. I have chosen a Baba 30.
Watch this video for a complete understanding of just how beautiful they are.
Granted this one is in “Bristol” condition, and the one I purchase may not start out as nice, but I can purchase one for $40,000 to $50,000 or less. If I work really hard I can save the money over the next 2 years to purchase it, then work maybe 2 more years to fund a complete refit with enough money left over for a long vacation to give her a long shakedown cruise. After that I can drive part time or go back to landscaping in the summer, the one job I truly loved.
This is what inspires me, this is what I have been looking for all my life. The freedom to go where I want when I want. The freedom to work a job I love not just the best paying one. What are you willing to give up for the chance to live a life worth living? I’ve made my choice.
I think we are all born with a life contract of sorts, replete with all the things that could happen to us in a lifetime. From the length of our lifespan to our quality of health, our disposition to our empathy for others all wrapped up in triplicate. But, like all contracts, in the fine print is the addendum, stipulations and clauses.
When we are young, we only glance at the contract. All we see are the platitudes like “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and other such quotes. We rush through everyday life with a selfish and single minded purpose, the mindset of immaturity governs the day. We fail to understand the complexities of our deal, the interactions that our daily decisions make on the totality of our existence. We don’t see the results of our actions on our lives and those we care about, sometimes until it’s too late. Such is the folly of youth.
As we mature we start to see the effect of our decisions on our lives and those around us. We start to realize how we neglected some of the most important people in our lives due to our blind trust in our ability to comprehend the impact we have on others. As we reread the contract we start to understand more of what it means to be an upstanding person, how foolish we were to think we had it all figured out. Hopefully we discover our mistakes before it’s to late. Sometimes, we fail miserably.
I am one of those miserable failures. I neglected my relationship with my father until it was too late, now I have to live with it. I think I could have recovered the lost time if I had put more effort into closing the rift between us, if I had been more of an adult than I was. Yes, I was struggling with my addictions, but that’s no excuse for my pushing him away when he wanted to improve our relationship. I shut the door on a time we could have both used the support only family can give, and I will die with that guilt.
Because I’m no quitter, I must accept my mistakes and move on. As I read my contract I see the “Happiness Clause” in the fine print. It says for me to find happiness I must understand what in my life is the most fulfilling, what brings me the most joy. I feel most people think happiness will be found in retirement after working their entire lives to build some sort of nest egg. They may see a home paid for, vacations overseas, golfing in the tropical sun and other such pursuits.
I will never have any retirement savings, no home or land, no nest egg. I can cry and bemoan my situation, or I can stop and realize I’m still better off than many, I still have enough time to make amends and achieve some sort of balance between the mistakes of my past and the time I have left. I have the opportunity to fill the remainder of my time on this earth with the happiness I feel when out in nature.
The majesty of a brilliant sunrise, the feel of a cool breeze on my skin. The gental sway of the tide as it imposes it’s will on the meager tether of my future sailboat anchored in a secluded bay. The simple understanding and friendship between a man and his dog as they while away the afternoon in the shade of a tree. The feel of a moment captured in a photograph, forever caught and brought back to life with each viewing.
My Happiness Clause can be appeased by accepting what has happened and focusing my will on what will be the best use of my remaining time. Only through diligence and persistence can one achieve a fulfilling life, understanding that it’s the simple things that can bring the most pleasure, the most reward. I hope that when we die, all the bad memories of our lives stay here, only the good ones go with us. Many people believe there is another life after this one, and if that’s true I hope I’m right. If I am, my father will wake up with all the joy and happiness he felt in this life, nothing of the hardships and pain he suffered, and I can think of nothing in this world I want more.
Nothing ever go’s as planned. I started off yesterday morning with the hope of finishing early in the day, maybe doing a little laundry, having a good meal at a clean truck stop and taking Vinny for a walk. My drive took me through Virginia, a state I love driving in because of the beautiful countryside. The mountains here seem to just erupt from the earth like giant anthills.
So much for a day full of plans! About 2 hours into my drive, guess what!
Great, just great! I turn on my CB and hear there is a crash ahead and the left lane is blocked. Well, no sense getting upset, I’ve been here before, relax and make the best of it. I get out my camera and look around for something interesting. Here’s some weird looking grass.
Some cows beside an old barn in this field.
More cows up on this ridge.
An old abandoned farm being used as a barn now. Such a shame to squander history.
More cows that Vinny spotted! Bark bark!
Cant you see yourself playing as a child on this grassy ridge? Riding a horse or chasing your dog in the summer sun? I can.
Here comes the sign saying whats up with the traffic.
That’s not very helpful, what else?
Sigh…I’m at mile marker 22. This is going to take awhile, like 3 hours!!! I take a deep breath, pull over to the side real quick and grab a snack. Pull back in line and go with the slow flow. It’s all I can do. I thought of you Miriam when I took this picture! It’s a chain of convenience stores in the US.
When traffic starts to pick up we move further up the mountain into the heavy fog. These mountains separate the moisture laden air from the Atlantic and the drier air coming from the west. When the temps are right you get dense fog.
It’s now 6 pm, I’m still 2 hours from my stop, and by the time I get there I’ll be to tired for anything but dinner and sleep. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry!
I started today just east of Harrisburg Pa, drove to Lewiston Maine and dropped the load I had on. I then drove to Bethel Maine to pick up the next one. By the time I arrived I did not have enough time to get to a truck stop for dinner so I’ll have to stay here. Here is a sawmill in western Maine, far from any store or restaurant, tucked away in nothing but a parking lot. Not what I had planned but this is trucking.
But lets take stock of the situation. I enjoyed a great sunset and a spooky ride through the mist on the way to Bethel. Vinny and I dine on “Beefaroni” and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and it tastes as good as any gourmet meal I have had. It’s not very cold tonight so I will leave the heat off, the windows cracked, throw on an extra blanket and sleep with thoughts of the stars above and the sound of the wind in the trees.
It’s times like this I remember how much I have, how silly it is to complain about the little things that cause us inconvenience. There are so many that will be hungry tonight, no warm bed to sleep in, no friends to share their lives with. I have these things and more. All is good in my world tonight and I’m thankful. Goodnight Maine.