|Looking forward to a calm night at sea on El Galeon|
"A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for," reads one of my favorite quotes. It's a perfect blend of realism and bravado. Indeed, the feeling that we get when putting our stern toward land and sailing directly away toward the open ocean horizon is indescribable -- nervousness and wonder, paradoxical stress at what could go wrong (and what, maybe, we forgot to do) and anticipation of the relaxation that comes when we give ourselves to the timeless rhythms of the sea. Reliant only on ourselves and our little boat, an ocean trip is totally different from a trip parallel to the coast or up the ICW, where we are never out of sight of humanity and its constructions -- and rarely more that a few hours away from help or safe harbor to tuck into. (And BTW, even the galeon is a little boat, any boat can be a little boat, in the wrong sea conditions!)
There is scientific evidence for the existence of a "wanderlust" gene, and that makes evolutionary sense; the people who wander when resources are scarce may be more likely to find new resources, and hence survive. Of course, it's also possible that they could run into danger and not survive, but it was also absolutely certain that if they just stayed where they were, they would keep getting what they already had gotten (presumably insufficient).
For us in 21st century America, thankfully, resources like food and water are not scarce. But still, the wanderlust gene kicks in. This time around, it's not survival resources that we wander in search of. With few possessions to weigh us down and a boat-home to take us places, we seek other intangibles -- new ideas, experiences, friends, outlooks. Adventures. Bring me that horizon!