As I flit from place to place, I wonder what drives me. After all, crossing oceans, flying from continent to continent, costs time and money.
“Is it worth it?” I’ve asked myself that question many times, not only since Dauntless entered my life but well before it.
In the summer of 1970, I worked driving a cab in New York. Coming home day after day covered in sweat, dust and grime, in the days before air conditioning. But at the end of that long, hot, humid and dirty summer, having survived not only the weather and the traffic, but the escalating crime in the City, I took my money and bought my first car.
Of course, it was a car my father recommended. He was a master a virtually anything he was interested in doing and cars were one of his interests, so there was no thought of getting anything but what he pointed out.
Good move. My first car was ugly, like a box and battleship grey. And only a week after getting it, I packed it up and stated the long, 3.000-mile, trip back to the University of Washington in Seattle, with nary a thought. My attitude has always been If other’s have done it, so can I. Even then, the pattern of not stopping until late into the evening, running on fumes or taking “short cuts” was apparent.
I never thought I was particularly brave, in fact, I knew I was pretty shy and afraid of the dark.
But that didn’t matter because there was always something new to see over the next hill or around the next curve.
The 21 days on the westward crossing last December were very similar, yet so different.
I looked forward to the day, the sunrise. What clouds would we have today? Rain or showers? The sky always had something new; something I hadn’t seen before. In my first Atlantic Passage in 2014, I had tried to avoid developing rain showers or thunderstorms. But in a boat going 6 knots, that is a futile gesture. Even more so, this last trip, I looked forward to the cleansing rain. I also didn’t want to upset the boat. She gets in a rhythm, let here stay in it without any major course changes.
The only thing I never liked was blue sky. My two years living in southern California were the worst, blue skies every day. I almost died of monotony. Even now, on the boat, I see a building storm on the horizon and I can’t look away. I’m fixated, as if watching a beautiful woman get dressed, what will the final look be? But storms are even more interesting than people, because their lifetimes can be minutes or hours.
These days, visiting my friends in Italy and Holland, the first time seeing them since my Atlantic Passage last Christmas, I’ve been able to recount the story numerous times.
Many say how brave I am. But I know better; I’m not brave at all, I’m simply curious.