a few days back, i got an invite to join myspace.com, ostensibly to participate in a tallship sailors group there. When i got around to replying, i was quick to send off a “thanks but no thanks reply”. If anything, i was a little catty about it. i mean, why would i want to participate in a virtual sailing world when i live in a real one?
i served up a few eyes on the dinghy before it clicked. i had this sudden flashback to a few years ago. i was living in the bus, working odd jobs, but pretty much just being my old complacent self. i spent a lot of time on public-access computers, running my housetrucks group and chatting. i was just getting into the idea of sailing back then, and i was trying to find that etherial sailing community “out there”. i was landlocked (in more ways than one), and although i couldn’t have put my finger on it at the time, i was feeling a growing uneasiness that was infecting my life. i was fiercly interested in communities, online or otherwise. Today in the shop, working away, i had this sudden flash of sitting in the cubicle at Stardate Computers, emailing boat owners, posting in sailing groups, researching crew placements, etc. In fact, those were spiritualy desperate times.
It’s not so much a case of “reality vs. virtuality”. In some ways, it’s a realization that, when i was working on the Lady, i liked the work, but not the people. The work, the boat, and the sailing (what little of the latter we actually did) was the thing; the relationships and interpersonal dynamics were what made the gig ultimately unsatisfactory. In the end, more than any of that, what makes me shy away from the virtual world, the online community, is that it represents and reminds me of a time when all this was but a dream. i’m there now. This is the dream; being paid well to do work i love, living on a tropical island, sailing whenever i please, where most every friend of mine is a sailor too, and the evening conversation comes and goes to boats, wind, and water.
Of course, i still blog, but that’s more my space to “rant and roar”, and express myself for the benefit of my largely non-sailing familiy and friends who can’t be here with me. Like Bill said to me in Vancouver, “That’s it. You’ve done it. You’re living the dream.”. Well, this isn’t all of it, but it’s a great place to be, and a place from which i can both look forward with joy, and look back knowing that i have set aside many of those impediments with which i once held myself back.