Printed ads of boats for sale were taped on the windows of a small yacht brokerage company in the touristy part of town. “Boats” was a misnomer in this case. With prices ranging from $53,000 to $150,000 and sized averaging 60 feet, they were more mini yacht than boat. I glanced upon the ads with the same disconnection one usually gives to mansions listed on the realty sites. Fun to glance at, but not worthy of deep introspection. Then, unexpectedly, an ad jumped up and demanded my attention.
It read: “For Sale, 1975 30’ Catalina sail boat, well maintained, $10,000”
Thirty feet? That’s live-aboard size. Ten grand is a real world attainable price range too. If you can get the load of course. I had always thought that living on a cheap boat tied to a dock was much better than living in a tiny apartment. It would be even easier to do when starting out.
It’s been many years since I crunched the numbers, but I do recall that if you found the right marina, the dock rentals and hook-up fees were equal to or less than the average rent payment. All your appliances were in the boat so cooking was no problem. You had full bathroom in most cases, so those needs were filled. You always had a parking spot for your car if you had one. And mail could be addressed to the main office if needed. About the only problems I could ever think of was winter heat and laundry. Laundromats solved the clean clothing dilemma, but keeping the boat warm would require a fair amount of research to see if it was not only feasible, but affordable. No matter what; living on a boat would always be cooler than living in an apartment.
I let these thoughts and memories walk with me until I came to the local community peg board full of personal ads on it. There were the usual time-shares for sale along with the “What’s going on” leaflets. And with these was the usual motorcycle ad. This one was for a 2002 black Harley Davidson Heritage Softtail. Price $15,000.
This ad was a great contrast to the sail boat. You couldn’t live aboard it. It had little storage. You still had to pay rent while owning it. And you could only bring one friend with you when you used it. Clearly there were drawbacks.
But the most interesting thing about these two totally different devices is that they have the same aura about them and promise the same thing. Freedom, Adventure, and Exploration. Both the motorcycle and the sailboat scream out individualism and the ability to go where you want on a whim. Sure, you could argue that once winter comes, the Harley will be hibernating in its garage like a bear in its cave, but I could argue back that the Harley owner might just as easily ride down to Florida or South California for a winters job and residence. The limits to either are the ones we put on ourselves in the name of practicality. We always base our choices on one simple phrase. “What works for me.” It’s a powerful statement.
That simple phrase not only dictates what we choose, but how we show ourselves to those around us. Whether it’s a car, truck, SUV, motorcycle, bicycle, boat, or air plane; any device we choose can give us the ability to travel and explore any time we want. Even if you just have a pair of tennis shoes and hate public transportation, you can still travel near or far. “What works for me” is how we choose to travel.
My first adult vehicle of adventure was a 1983 Dodge Aries Station wagon. It was probably the most uncool vehicle anyone could think of, but it took me through seven states and another country. Not only could I sleep in it if needed, but I could carry all my gear and still have room for trophies along the way.
A friend of mine chose a sporty Mercury Cougar 2+2. He loads up the hatch with his luggage and stays at quality four star hotels on his journeys.
Peter Egan wrote about his great adventure from Paris to Barcelona on bicycle with his friend after finishing his tour of Vietnam. Together they pedaled roughly 80 miles a day and slept in youth hostles along their journey. Decades had passed and yet he remembered the tour as if it happened yesterday.
Another friend rides his Honda Goldwing from Florida to Michigan every year without fail while another couple chooses their Hyundai Santa Fe and mini travel trailer to explore with.
The desire to explore the unknown is universal. How we do it is our statement to the world. So get out and explore. And let me know what works for you.