April looks up at me with piercing eyes, her long dark dreadlocks glinting, backlit by the morning sun. I don’t want to leave, but we both know she has to, I want to lock her in the boat… I walk her to her bike and just like that she’s disappears down a quiet country road. Back at the boat a few empty bottle and a slight hangover, I do a bit of clean up, Sookie smells like April, part of her is still with me.
Complete polar opposites, April is a Doozer and I am a Fraggle Her drive exhausts me, my only job is to slow her down between her constant achieved conquests. Today is my five year anniversary with Sookie, the warmth of the sun stolen by the morning breeze. She makes for a good home, has always kept me safe and carries my world around the world in teeny tiny hops.
Today I will explore the high places on the island, find a nice lake and take a nap inland where I can find refuge from the wind, a nice sunny spot is calling my name. I don’t have much shit but what little I do possess pleases me to no end. I have no time for modern day distractions such as TV and Facebook, maintaining and playing with Sookie is a full time job, it’s why I adopted her, I like the process of her, she is my art. My little Brompton is the same, she is no less than design excellence. After every ride, I clean her chain, give her the once over, wipe her down and store her where she is alway in plain sight.
Like April and myself, minimalism and simplicity are polar opposites. Owning a bike rather than a car is minimalist. Using said bike as a station wagon, grocery getter, boat supply mover and people hauler is anything but simple. Sookie is minimalist but there is no such thing as simplicity when it comes to living aboard and outfitting a small boat, it’s the exact opposite. I use Brompty as a study in genius to achieving perfection in a small package. While there is no correlation between becoming minimalist and simple living they go hand in hand, feed each other and off eachother. It’s an almost impossibility to find one without the other. There are a hundred ways to have eggs, my favorite way is with good company.
“You sell off the kingdom piece by piece and trade it for a horse that will take you anywhere.”
― Colin Wright, My Exile Lifestyle
It’s a rainy dreary day, one best spent studying maps and and making obscure journal entries. I have Jack Johnson playing on iTunes, I’m listening to Escape, better known as the Pina Coloda song.
The life nomadic is my chosen path but even in the middle of this wonderful island journey I find myself a bit lonely from time to time. My little Bromton is a cure all for the blues of rainy days and Monday’s. I try and figure out why my beer and coffee are always the same temperature as I finish detailing her from yesterday’s island ride. I feel like I’m living inside a ukulele, the acoustics in this boat are amazing.
I wrote two new songs this week, I think I might have a recording contract in my future. Do people pay for tone deaf non musicians…I can’t stop singing, while on my bike, hiking the local trails, today I’m singing in the rain.
Two hot fried eggs on a bed of potatoes and the galley is clean, the bike is clean, I’m a bit stinky so maybe it’s a day for my weekly shower. The calm still of the day matches my mood. Tucked into my quarter berth wrapped in big brown and super thick winter socks, my cocoon is a good one. I think I may just stay here all day planning my escape.
If you’re not into yoga, if you have half a brain
If you like making love at midnight in the dunes of the cape
Then I’m the love that you’ve looked for, write to me and escape
Thoreau believed to affect the quality of the day was the highest art. I woke early to a dead calm and at false dawn. The cool of the morning found me riding Brompty down quiet country roads as the word came to life. The crows serenaded me as the little ticking of my rear hub whirred away happy to be laying a few miles.
It’s a shame that most people sleep through this part of our life and lives. My splotchy half shaved chest looking something like the waxing scene in the forty year old virgin is a bit itchy and a reminder of my heart stress test. They are trying to rule everything out so with a dozen electrodes hooked up to little bald patches on my chest I started the slow walk on the tread mill. By the time it ended it was damn near verticle and I was sprinting. When it finally came to an end the doctor smiled and said, well it’s not your heart, and it’s not your lungs. I kicked the hell out of that machine but was also surprised at how out of shape, for me at least I am. It’s amazing how fast we lose it, but also how fast we regain it.
So there is nothing wrong with my body, next step, the neurologist to check out my brain and why I have near constant vertigo. I get to ride Brompty to Seattle for this one so I’m super excited even though I have already made it clear I won’t consider any form of surgery on my brain damaged brain, I can deal with the dizzy world I live in just fine. That’s the thing about the Brompty, when it hits bad I can just stop and sit down till it passes, not so much on the boat.
Tonight we’re celebrating on Sookie, fine wine, my home made cabbage salad with salami and really good cheese. I’m 99% vegan but I love to indulge and tonight will be a big one topped off with a bit of dark chocolate. It’s hard to believe it’s already spring but these islands have literally exploded. Spring is the best time on these islands, come on down for a visit.
― Mark Twain
I love the smell of jet fuel in the morning. It happened with the suddenness of a broken shoe string. Spring has sprung, the weather has turned warm and dry, there is no more condensation in the boat. Everywhere I look nature is in full bloom.
I should be working on Sookie, she needs some serious attention after her long cold winter. I should be looking for a job, finding a sailing mate, doing laundry, anything but today is a day for riding. Brompty is calling my name and there are dozens of secret beaches to find and explore.
The budget may be busted but Sookie is in her finest state ever. All her sails have been inspected and are in good order, her new cruising chute needs to be rigged as does her new storm jib. Lockers overflowing and ready for 90 days complete with really good booze, yummy snacks both sweet and salty for those long hot windless days of summer. Good tunes and a sound system that will blow your brains out should you choose. A dink minus roars and a pump but I’m working on that one. 2.5 hours on the iron Jenny and an almost full tank of fuel. I need to top that off as well as my emergency one gallon tank brings me to 4 gallons of fuel, easily enough for the rest of the year. 29 gallons of water in portable movable tanks and a pile of fuel for my little cooker.
My A.D.D. Swashbuckled my trip to Bellingham for peanuts but that will come soon enough. I finally got a pair of shoes but it looks like they will get tucked away today. I love my new kicks but they also represent society, the binding of our feet is the first step to voluntary slavery. A noose around the neck, they call it a tie but mentally all these things bind us and keep us shacked chasing those oh so important little green pieces of paper. The beard is growing out as is my wig, I’ve decided to re grow my dreadlocks, a final step off the map.
The cruisers delema is always a fine line of procuring almost enough money without sacrificing too may of our oh so precious life units in the process. Finding myself broke with a boat that is ready, willing and able is the first and most important step, ther is a fine process to the budget cruiseres outfitting. The bug out boat must always be fed first just in case something crazy happens. From there a few freedom chips will get the job done. Summer ends in 5 short months so every second counts, starting as soon as I get back from my ride of corse, all work and no play makes stormy a dull boy.
“Get busy living, or get busy dying.”
Andy Dufresne The Shawshank Redemption
I’ve developed a very irrational relationship with my still yet to be named Brompton, I refer to her as Brompty but she deserves a real name. I literally don’t go anywhere without her, spend way too many hours keeping her shiny and perfectly cleaned. I should say maintaining her but after a thousand miles she still is in perfect tune. A bit awkward and dorky looking she is a work of art, if I had a wall I would hang her on it like fine art.
I learned quite a bit about this little gem rolling 750 miles through the Hawaiin islands and my departure date for Cuba is rolling up fast. She climbs well and descends frighteningly fast, I’m sure I have topped 50 on her. Braking on the long descents is unacceptable on her 16″ wheels so I just scream as the heroin of adrenalin surges through by body. She can carry a good load but I’m working on a very minimalist cargo focusing on the experience rather than the gear. Speaking of gear little Sookie makes for the best bike rack and is loaded to the brim, her lockers are all topped off and ready for our move.
To date I have had her on both commercial airlines and puddle jumper float planes, buses, a taxi, train, car, and with a little bit of luck she will get her first helicopter ride this week when my dinner date lands in front of the boat to pick me up. I’ve used her for commuting, touring, and just plain riding around for no reason whatsoever. She fits perfectly in my boat, under a hostel bunk bed, in my one man tent and at the foot of a bed with really soft white sheets I found the luxury of sleeping in while on tour.
The Brompton is the smallest and easiest folding bike on the market and was dirt cheap to purchase considering that today is about day 2074 in my boycott of cars. At 27.2 lbs she isn’t light or heavy. I always say that she isn’t small, she is fun size. My plan is to start riding south from the Arctic Circle on the solstice right back to Sookie. I ordered a map today but can’t imagine it will take more than 6 weeks giving me a good spring sailing season and a month of summer sailing. September 15th it’s down the coast to LAX to the Caribbean with a little hopper to Cuba. The beauty. Of the Brompton is that I can go from touring mode to tourist mode in about one minute.
So there you have it, from polar bears to communists, the last pieces of the puzzle are being sorted. Come join me if you dare or sit back and have a cup of coffee and enjoy the ride through my little journal. My little Brompty isn’t a bicycle. She is the fountain of youth, expedition SUV, urban assault vehicle, psychologist, stormy nanny,and with out a doubt the most fun you can have with your cloths on. Not that endorse doing anything with your clothes on.
Disclaimer, continued reading of this blog may result in wanderlust, day dreaming and A.D.D. Induced A.D.D. Proceed with caution.
This is a blog about a sailor. We slipped the lines early, I feel fortunate to have the most reliable motor available on my little cutter, one pull of the cord and we were off. Sails pulled and pulling the swoosh of the ocean quickly replaced the quiet purring of my iron genny. Sailing tunes thumping over Sookies sound system to the dark overcast skies we pointed her high flying all plain sail. She settled in at 20 degrees of heel hard on the wind occasionally dipping and bowing to the higher gusts. This was a foulie day, snugged up and warm in our warmies we charged at well over our theoretical hull speed. I have never had any joy greater than sailing a ship designed by Lyle Hess
Making long tacks, I’d call out just as I could see the whites of the crabs eyes, slipping through the eye we dodged ferry boats, the coast guard and many commercial fisherman, not many sailors out on this day. I could hear the clink of bottles and tin cans as they settled into thier lockers as we pushed hard to weather. Sookie is stocked for the season with a few cases of this and that,which I still need to find homes for. Every locker is stuffed to the brim with good food, treats and snacks and all sorts of secret pirate bountys. The wind carried us all the way to the breakwater and then vanished with the clouds leaving a warm sunny day.perfect for jumping on the Brompton and exploring inland.
We climbed mountains with sailors legs, ducking, swerving and whooping the downhills all the way to best damn little bar this side of the Brick. Back at the spa I slipped into the most elegant shower on this big blue earth washing a thousand salty miles from my wind and sun worn skin before plopping into the jacuzzi. Fresh and refreshed we made our way back to the boat for gin and tonics while we prepared our picnic dinner, packed a bottle of wine and set off to poach a hot sunny deck in utopia. Night found its way to our party and our party It’s way to Sookie, heater cranking out BTU’s, Sookies butternut interior pulsed with the base as my favorite playlist spun us into the night.
In three days we sailed, toured by bike on Lopez, Orcas and San Juan. Drank the right amount of wine, feasted on way too much good food and and smoked a little contraband. We stayed up late and slept in as long as we chose too. I can’t say for sure what a sailing blog is supposed to be like but I’ll be damned if I don’t know how to tell the story of a sailor. I guess a lifetime and a bagillian sailing miles around the planet teaches us thing or two about life and living.
The wind is moaning through the rigging, I’m alone, warm and tired, a great glass of wine in one hand and a Cohiba in the other. Little Sookie is in rare form gently tugging at her many dock lines waiting for our next adventure. Content I lean back and remember the first of many times I sailed in and out of Cabo, this one I was solo. I paddled to shore and an old man on the beach asked me if my surfboard was my dingy, no I replied, it’s my life raft.
If you want it badly enough you will make it happen and if you don’t you will make excuses. From the log of Sookie 48 degrees north
Why is it so effing cold in here. On a full belly of chicken stew my mind almost feels clear. I have to take another one of those damn pills soon and back into the fog I will slide. Another cold stormy night, the tropical days of riding my little Brompty through islands of Hawaii are but a distant memory.
im exhausted from yesterday’s storm, boats… A good home for sure but my attention is being pulled in every direction, Sookie, Rainbow and Brompty all competing for our painfully short spring days. I’m still torn between the islands, Bellingham and Port Townsend but I have till the end of the month to figure it out. I’m spazimg toward riding my little Brompton from the Artic circle, starting on the solstice and heading south. I need movement badly.
All of this being cooped up feels so claustrophobic, my muscles atrophying and my mind numb with boredom. Everything is so easy on the bike, ride, eat, sleep, repeat as necessary. In my blindness I’m finding the boat to be more of a master than a servant but the bike has no bounds. Far too many hours spent in my quarter berth studying the very beautiful interior of Sookie. Aboard her I feel like I’m living inside a ukulele, I don’t want to give up my little home but the cold is too much, It taxes my days, my journal is a jumble of madness pictures of long winding roads, doodles of Brompty and upgrades, there are always upgrades. A polar shift is happening, I can only imagine where it will find me.
“To bike, or not to bike: that is not a question”
When I arrived back in my little paradise I had a three day break in the weather to do a quick scrub, load all my junk, paint Sookies bottom and splash her. With the precision of a fine Swiss watch as soon as I had her fast at the dock the heavens opened up and the wind gods funneled down upon my Fine little ship.
I’ve been busy acquainting myself with the motor, acquiring new sails, light and heavy air, searching for a better solution to my cooker and measuring and designing my new v- berth cushions and a privacy Curtian. Weather permitting I’ve been on the bike slaying the miles and exploring my little islands. March has always been the month when I sneak out of the warm confines of Sookies womb and start to make her look smart, I can’t be bothered to do any mainetnece during the sailing season which seems to start a little sooner each year.
I’ve been cheating on Sookie, lavishing attention on the little Dana I’ve adopted and the more I touch her and study her ins and outs the more I realize how vastly different these two fine little ships are. Today the sun has returned and between bike rides and feeding my hungry body I will bounce back and forth from project to project and boat to boat. Rainbow will launch in a few days and she needs to be perfect before she kisses the water. She will be berthed right beside Sookie just like peas and carrots.
Spring has arrived in the islands, little baby goats are bouncing around the fields and all the farm hands are getting ready for the most beautiful time of year. I remind my friends it’s time to shake the cobwebs of winter out of their brains and get thier boats ready for what they were built for. Ive got a bit of sailing in my near future but as soon as Sookie is tied safely back at the dock I’m taking Brompty to Saltspring Island for some inland exploration. I’m still, deeply torn between spending the spring on the boat bobling around the islands or packing my little Brompton and setting out on an expedition. Either way I won’t waste one second of my summer light indoors. Once again the universe has been kind to me and placed a beautiful little flower in the palm of my hand.
“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
― Frances Hodgson Burn
I cut two inches off my sailing kilt, now its just a skirt, a pirate skirt Arggg. I’m going on an adventure and it’s coming with we. I pull out Brompty and pump her tires, do a quick inspection and ride her 100 yards to the airport, I’m hitchhiking to Roche to have lunch with a new friend.
Riding down a quiet country road I’m overcome with creative instinct I pull the bike off the road and start to write, I drift off into some other dimension when I return I have a new story and I’m pleased. I make a B-line for the ferry, I’m in my mental groove and don’t want to waste a single second of it.
A quiet calm overtakes my day when I arrive back on Lopez. My journey to write becomes one of man and bike. I chase lance Armstrong down winding country roads, my quads burn, my lungs soft and weak, they are crying out for a break but I tune them out chasing an imaginary devil through the most beautiful island on the planet earth. Mental inspiration reaches overload, writing in my head as I spin up and down these lazy old roads.
I stop at the southern market for a drink of water and I find a filthy wrinkled 20 spot on the ground, I look around the empty old parking lot. I take my gift, it may as well be a million dollars. Cameled up I head north in my highest gear, it s fruit day and I’m indulging in my unexplainable good fortune. The apparent wind cools and refreshes me while the afternoon sun on my back reminds me that spring is right around the corner.
I could ride forever, maybe someday it will. For everything I love about the freedom of sail, cycling is my panacea, it costs almost nothing, it makes you happy and fit and strong. The freedom of the open road, that feeling of accomplishment at the end of a long day, the promise of sliced summer sassage and a nice crisp ale, lounging around a camp fire, it’s a very primal experience. The only boundary on the open road is that of your own physical stamina which grows every day. I pamper my bike, she is sacred to me, she represents the one thing the world can’t steal from me, my health.
Coasting home, my pack filled to the brim with my good fortune I ponder my digital office. I need to find the smallest tools that can capture the infinite world that I live in. My minimalist journey isn’t just about less stuf, but also a smaller footprint so I can carry the world in my tiny pack. Robin Hood has a mask and sward. Superman has his cape and X-ray vision. I have my Brompton and klettersack. That naked feeling of riding in my kilt reminds me of how little I need in this world, sun, nourishment and freedom.
My sweat soaked kilt gets hung on the lifelines to dry. I tuck Brompty under the companionway steps and unpack my feast. Slathering peanut butter on a crisp green apple I smile. I’ve fought my entire life to live the simple existence of a starving artist.
“Being an artist is like being in a bar fight.You pick up whatever you have to in the moment to stay alive. Then you go for it.” Tom Wilson
Tracing an imaginary line with my finger around the Cape Horn I get a chill in my spine. I know Sookie has what it takes to round the horn, I think I do too, I almost have April convinced as well. The greatest test of a sailors life can happen anywhere but the southern ocean isnt graded on a curve, it’s pass or fail. Of course there are many miles and many tests leading up to the big left turn.
Put Sookie next to any other Falmouth Cutter and you immediately notice a difference. She is bigger in every way, stout and robust, she still carries the lines and all the right curves of the fine lady she is. With no inboard and a tall rig, she is also the fastest sailing of her 38 sisters. I’ve been studying her rig and I really regret using stainless steel, I’m still learning. I keep her fully loaded as I can, always in cruising mode, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want her to be a high performance boat. My definition of a high performance cruising boat is one that’s unstoppable. A boat that I can rely on to bring average daily runs of 100 miles consistently, give or take. A boat that takes as good of care of me as I do of her.
Honestly, I have no intention of rounding the horn this year but it isn’t off my list should I someday find myself in that neck of the world. I flip through the pages studying weather patterns, currents and seasons. I should be studying up on Vancouver island but there is a new mystrsess in my life, her name is Papeete and she is patiently waiting for me. I scan through my calendar and wonder if I can have her ready in 17 months, or perhaps a nice little boat yard in the northern Sea of Cortez would be a better place to finish her fiddle bits. Fish tacos and Modelo sound like a delightful treat at the end of a long day in the boat yard, I’m done with winter…
The last item on my list is a windvane. I turn the list upside down and now it is my priority. I promised myself when I quit smoking once and for all that I will reward my life with either a multi year Pacific voyage or a bicycle ride from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego on my little Brompton, I may just do both. Only problem is that I have fallen a bit off the band wagon. I write a short and serious note to myself in my log book, I read the words aloud and make a 100% commitment to myself, BANGARANG!
“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”
― Herman Melville
The morning breeze slowly turned to zephyrs, i did my best to catch each lift chasing the puffs across the bay. 5 hours and five miles later I was drifting backwards refusing to start my engine. I had been sailing engineless for so long at this point I couldn’t bring myself to ruin the day with my new to me loud and stinky engine.
I called the day and turned east to find a little nook and wait for more wind. 20 minutes later it filled in with a vengeance,a short run down the bay and I was anchor down in a rising gale. It was so windy we took a ditch bag to shore to walk Chloe thinking we might not be able to row back to the boat. The thought of sleeping on the beach wasn’t a very appealing one. Soaked to the bone I pulled with all my might gaining 6″ of foreward ground with each stroke. The whole way back to Sookie I cursed myself for not using the engine to get to Eagle Harbor where we would have been hiking to the lake at this point to catch a fresh trout for dinner.
One day back on the boat my friend Adam said to me, “you sure have been recycling your photos lately on the blog”. You try and write a sailing blog 500 miles from your boat, I replied. A day later April said the exact same thing to me. I still have no way to use my new camera because I can’t get the images back into my little iPad, so I have been cheating images. There is a suttle art to blogging and I’m simply not a good enough writer to add posts without images. Annoyed with myself I wonder why I go to all the trouble and expense to purchase and maintain high end items like a motor I don’t like to use, or my camera I can’t use or my Brompty that sits in her nook waiting for the rain to subside.
I can easily explain the camera and bike but the plain truth about the motor is I simply never trust it, the second it fires up I’m waiting for it to fail and it causes me a fair bit of stress. I usually don’t have to wait very long for it to start its path south. Last year, one day out of the mechanics shop and a huge pile of money later, it started to act up on its first use. I can sail Sookie anywhere and prefer to do so over running than nagging, bitching, belching,, stinking engine. Unfortunately just like a surfer can’t surf when there is no swell and a skier can’t ski when the is no snow, a sailor can’t sail when there is no wind. Fortunately there is always enough wind in the Salish Sea to sail everywhere if you a patient and wait for it. There is a fine art to motor sailing, the key is to have the best, well maintained engine you can and then to simply, not use it. Easier said then done but I ran into engineless sailors all over the place happily arriving sans engine just as I did in some of the most challanging areas to navigate.
I’m not saying I’m headed to Palmyra Atoll but before I unwrap my first gift from good old Saint Nic, Sookie will be ready for blue water and believe it or not I place a well running outboard on the top of my list as an engineless sailor so I can sneak into all the little jewels at the end of a long passage and hang Sookie by her little Rocna and make yet another X on my well worn charts. I carry many safety items aboard Sookie. I find that the more back up and safety items I have the less I need to use them, let’s face it. Standing knee deep in water half way across the pacific it too late to order that…
Next time you see Sookie out and about take a peek at her new jewelry, come hell or high water she will have a brand spanking new engine for this years voyaging, I’m tired of recycling other people’s old crap into my life, I’m ready for something brand new.
Attitude is the difference between ordeal and adventure
– Bob Bitchin
The universe just blew my fricking brains out, not in a million years could I have imagined how amazing a simple road trip could be. I don’t know how to explain in words. I cant understand so I won’t even try.
You take chances in life, you have to or nothing good will ever happen. But what happens when you push too far? I can’t tell you because every single time I make some giant boneheaded decision totally and finally screwing myself to no end the universe shines a little light on me and again proves when you do your absolute best to be the best person you can it doesn’t go un noticed.
I’ve always been more on the giver side than the taker side but never for any reason, that’s jus how I roll and more than often it’s taken advantage of but it doesn’t stop me. I woke up today to literally the best damn day of my life, there is so much good going on in the world of Stormy that it’s undescribable from the little iPhone I’m blogging on today.
If you think the universe isn’t providing for you in a proper manor maybe it’s because you haven’t given enough good to the world, or any for that matter. All I know is that at this second every single star in the universe is shining on me and I am greatful beyond belief. I’d write more but I have a hundred wines to sample and an entire ocean of fresh sea food to nibble on. Perhaps we don’t say it enough in this world, if you are reading my simple words I love you, honestly and truly from the bottom of my heart and soul I do. Thank you for sending the universe to me and once again saving me from my mumbling bumbling Forrest Gumping way of falling down only to be picked up, dusted off and sent on my merry way with a pat on the bottom.
I get lost in my mind floating on the wind, I’m home. Raindrops pelt the rising tide. The evening sun hangs somewhere behind a dark vail of storm clouds. My eyes are tired but I fight sleep, I don’t want this feeling to end. I lock the cabin from the inside, the candles are already lit, the warm flicker of a new beginning dances in the breeze. Soft music drifts into the v-berth, I can feel its rhythm pulsing through my body.
Not all who wander are lost. This meandering journey never ends, it just changes course. I’ve traveled for what feels like an eternity on the souls of my bare feet. I buried my best friend and met an angel. I’ve soared high above the Eagles across oceans. Chasing gravity on two tiny wheels down the side of a volcano was the climax to 8 hard, wet and exhausting hours in the saddle of my Brompton. Packed in a tin can like a sardine I’ve traveled far too many miles in a car that can top a hundred MPH yet it moved slower than I can walk. A crazy train dropped me off at a lonely bus station and then there was the boat, more like a magic carpet ride drifting on the winds of the BC coast. Some days I hitch hiked, others I took a cab and one amazing day I was offered a ride for no reason from a complete stranger. I’ve said a thousand hellos and goodbyes. I’ve seen so many pairs of eyes all the same yet so very different. I’ve slept on empty beaches, in steamy jungles, on a couch, the floor, a single bed, a double bed and one made for a king. Laying on a balmy beach under a blanket of stars I shared the blood moon with the only other soul on the planet. I swam with sharks, turtles and mermaids. Somewhere between here and Alaska I sailed through a summer gale and was reminded why I will never sail solo again. Backpacking along the edge of the Pacific Crest Trail, I taught a young girl how to make fire, yes it can snow even in the middle of summer.
I’ve packed a lifetime into every bit of the last 9 months and all those that came before. Spending time is my birthright and I do like a millionaire. I’ve learned many lessons, made a few mistakes and again somehow survived my own stupidity. I may not possess a single pair of shoes but the world is good to me. According to the people that make all the rules I live well below the poverty line. I say live well because that’s what I do, the only thing I don’t do well is follow the rules, I make them up as I go. I’ve been told that I have Peter Pan Syndrome, that I’m a man cub. Riding down a lonely road on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific without a care in the world I’m smiling so hard my face hurts and I have to agree. The music is soft and sweet and, shhh …
I’m Instantly brought back to reality. Life is good but I’ve been avoiding going home for too long. I’m afraid of what I will find waiting for me. I remember the last time I lifted Chloe out of Sookie, I knew she wasn’t coming home. So fresh but so long ago the pain doesn’t get better, it gets worse. I’m dragging my feet, afraid of what I will face alone on what was our home for so many years. If I don’t like it i will get back on the bike and ride away the very same day. I’m not looking foreward this portion of the journey but it’s time to go home. I was going to bring a new pup from the rescue but I couldn’t do it not yet, maybe not ever. Ive never felt more alone in my life, I’m continually surprised how much love and happiness that little puppy brought into my life. I scribble the song I’m listening to into my logbook.
Take that ribbon from your hair, shake it loose and let it fall.
Playing soft against your skin, like the shadows on the wall.
Come and lay down by my side, till the early morning light.
All I’m taking is your time, help me make it through the night.
I don’t care if it’s right or wrong, don’t try to understand.
Let the devil take tomorrow, cause tonight I need a friend.
Yesterday is dead and gone, and tomorrow’s out of sight.
And it’s sad to be alone, help me make it through the night.
I can’t imagine anything better in life than a day on my little Brompty. I had all sorts of errands to run and while I have a big new SUV at my disposal the Brompton was calling my name. I rode the path along the rivers edge into town. Two bike shops a cup of coffee, a little mingling and showing of my folding steed and lots of window shopping at my local REI.
I stopped at the university for a cold beer and more show and tell, I love Eugene and all of its hippie weirdness. Back on the trail I worked my way back to the winery to end my day with a bit of live music and a glass of my favorite Cab. Riding my little Brompty is just about the most fun I can imagine, smiling from ear to ear, the wind on my face and a nice beer from the local microbrew set the weekend buzz into motion. I swear there are days when I just want to mount this little girl and Ride her forever. I wonder how long it would take to ride her around the world, not that I would be in a hurry.
Little Sookie is only half the package, she gets me there and provides a roof over my head but once I arrive my two wheeled chariot shows me the sights, makes new friends and adds one more memory to the bank. I’m excited to explore every inch of the islands but for now this quirky little town always has something new to offer. Winter riding is a far cry from the lazy summer days I spent exploring this town by bike in the hundred degree balmy winds but winter in the PNW isn’t really winter.
She’s all cleaned up and ready for a weekend at the coast. I envision fresh eggs and bacon, a hot latte and a fire place to warm my frozen bones between rides to here, there and everyehere. I’ve got good tunes in the iPhone, my tiny bag is packed and I don’t have anywhere to be till Tuesday. Life is good when you have a bike…
As a kid I had a dream – I wanted to own my own bicycle. When I got the bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe the world. I lived for that bike. Most kids left their bike in the backyard at night. Not me. I insisted on taking mine indoors and the first night I even kept it in my bed. ~ John Lennon, The
It’s been six or seven years now since I committed to living a car free existence. I honestly didn’t think I would make it a single week but now so many years have passed I can’t even remember. I can’t imagine how much money it has saved me but it easily pard for my little boat. My goal this year is to use less than 3 gallons of fuel in my little outboard although if it runs or doesn’t run like it did last year I won’t use more than a pint.
My trusty little Brompton sits in the corner patently waiting for our next adventure and it will be here soon enough. Our tour of Maui is only a distant memory as my tan slowly fades but she proved her worth ten times over and has earned a permanite spot on little Sookie. In over 700 miles she never let me down.
Somehow between all the things I have planned this year I have promised her a solid month long tour before the end of the summer and who knows what warm winter paradise we will find when the PNW is frozen over. We both learned a lot during our month long stay in the Hawaiian islands and will use that knowledge to improve upon next years trip, Cuba if I have all my ducks in a row.
Living the simple life isn’t just good for the soul, its also very easy on the pocket book. Somewhere half way up the side of Mt Haleakala bitching and moaning at the freezing rain a car stopped and offered me a ride. I smiled and declined, thanks but I’m here on vacation, cars remind me too much of work. They thought me as crazy as I thought them. Bikes will get you anywhere you choose to go and the best part is you can eat all the pizza and chocolate you like ang never gain a pound. I’ve said it before, nothing in the world makes me smile the way I do when I’m riding my little Brompty.
My pack is packed, my Brompty is all snugged up in a crfboard box and ready for her next adventure. I was hoping to spend the winter here but I keep hearing the PNW calling my name.
I can already smell the fire place. I can feel my snugly warmies and taste a nice winters hot buttered rum. I watch the sunrise surrounded by tropical plants, I know them all by name as they surrounded my childhood.
I came here for many reasons, none of them matter anymore. I will be headed to the west coast with a new set of eyes. The next journey is in the makeing. It’s hard to say goodbye to all my new friends but that’s what travel is. Short intense relationships that you never want to let go of…. There will be many more stories down that long road, many more goodbys and many more new sights, sounds and tastes. I’ve been on the move for 7 straight months but it’s really more like 13 straight years as that’s when I walked away from the security of my little cubicle.
I need a break and will find it in the form of a cozy little cabin close to a pub with lots of good bicycle trails I have a book to write before I head out on the next big one. Funny thing is, if my dreams are real and they always are. That Cabin will lay the foundation for the biggest adventure yet. Turn on the light, I’m coming home….
Yep that’s me a fucking idiot…before I go one step further I will say don’t worry I’m ok. I’m actually great. Don’t worry, be happy.
I wake up dizzy and faint, my head Is killing me I can’t focus on anything. I’m in the weakest state of my life. I’m literally starving but I don’t care because I have scraped up a hundred bucks and I’m cab-n It to my posh hotel. It takes the better part of 4 hours to take my tent down and give it to a homeless guy with the balance of my y food. I have food to eat but my system won’t let me eat more than scraps for days on end si I give it all away, It doesn’t matter it all ends today.
I wobble and weave to the cab. The whole trip I’m on the verge of either passing out or vomiting. I make it to the hotel and give the cabbie 40 bucks. I’m having chest pains. I slowly stager in and try and check in. I say try because I’m a fucking day early…Rat Fucked!
I’m sitting in a hostel slowly nibbling on food trying to regain my strength, I’m surrounded by a harem of pretty giggling young travellorets hot coffee in hand and I have a bed. I’d write more but I can’t. Nina from the Netherlands is giving me a shoulder rub and desperately wants to learn more about Sookie. Her dream is to live on a boat like the one she grew up on. Life is good.
PS. Dear… And you know who you are Thank you:)
I’ve finally found something in this life that I love more than Jessica Alba. Yep it’s my faithful little Brompton. I’ve easily surpassed the 400 mile mark, maybe closer to 500, I’ve stopped counting. I’m at a loss for words at how much I love riding this quirky little wheeled bike.
Awkward and dorky like me she is also a genuine work of art. When I fist found her I rode her like a drunken sailor bobbing and weaving my way through life. Now we roll like A New York bicycle messanger chasing life through experience.
Today we bombed around the small half of the island. I’m flush and exilerated beyond my own belief. My endorphins are through the roof. I’m continually shocked at how much joy I get from the simple act of riding my little brompty. It may actually be better that sex! Ok that’s just crazy talk but it’s definitely the most fun you can have with our clothes on.
If you have the means I highly suggest you take one for a ride and when you do, ride her like you stole her.
Disclaimer: I am in no way shape or form affiliated with the Brompton bicycle company…
You want to know how to quit smoking? Throw your ciggis away, become a raging lunatic for a few weeks and then have a happy life. With all the money you save you can afford a Brompton or a Falmouth Cutter or just start a slammin investment account.
The fist thing that happens when you commit to quitting smoking is that you freak the fuck out and chain smoke. I’m passed that stage now and have cut my daily smoking by a third. Let’s face it I have something in common with the meth heads, ice freaks, stoners and lushes. My name is Stormy and I’m an addict.
I purchased my Brompton because I wanted the best bike in the world but what I didn’t count on was that we would develope a serious relationship or that she would save my life. Two out if three nic fits a day have me pedaling like lance Armstrong minus the roids. My quads are blown, my lungs strong And my determination is growing every day.
The thing about this bike is that it’s such an absolute joy to ride, maintain and travel with, that it’s actually overpowering my addiction to cigarettes one dat at a time.
No quitting won’t be easy and it’s not but we will and will be continually challenged in life be it communicating with our spouce or kids or employers life is a series of comment and challenges as is the daily and lifelong battle over addiction.
I have been through some, we’ll hell hundreds of borderline phycoticaally hard, trying and downright dangerous situations in my lifetime. Is you add them all up into one single experience they look like a vacation in paradise compared to the absolute hell and suffering I have gone through in the last few weeks. The byproduct is that I have created a zen like inner strength that no experience on earth could create. Last night I was over run with fire ants, they infested my tent biting me and pushin the bounds of insanity. Honestly after the floods, strvation, loneliness, Mosquitos… For all I care the fire ants can fucking blow me. My body is my temple and I am working hard at making it pure a the driven snow.
My point of this whole post is that I’m a semi educated privileged male here by choice. You don’t see me giving up and running away. Quitting is always the easy way out and more often than not the wrong choice, Unless it’s quitting smoking which I can assure is possible. Excuse me now I have to go scream I to the wind. All this talk is giving me a major nic fit
PS dear big tobacco Fuck you!
I should have listened to my mother. I could have gone to college became a cosmetic surgen 500 thou a year and up to my neck in tits and ass.
I came here thinking I could fill a hole in the gap There is no info on cycling Hawaii on a budget, now I know why. So I’ve suffered a bit, big deal. A story I don’t even know could be in the making. I wonder how fun this blog would be to write from poolside at the Marriott with a 16 dollar mind eraser coming every hour on the hour.
I’m no quiter and yesterday Maui opened her arms for me. First it was a full giant fuel can that fits my stove. Soon after it was a 4 huge cans of roast beef. I love the free bin. Then it was the scent of a woman. Yes even in the dirt there is good.
Sitting at the table with Havi last week he blessed our food and my journey with a Hawaiin prayer and I can assure you I was the most thankful person on the planet earth. It really made me wonder if people are thankful for what they have in this life or is it just all expected and taken for granted.
On thanksgiving day I will be eating cold beef out of a can with fresh coconut water and I’m going to spurge for instant mashed potatoes. I can tell you this with the utmost certainty that I will be truly thankful for that meal, my little piece of beach and the one an only thing we truly posses in this world, our health.
Take a good look at everything around you, your friends your family your stuff. One day soon it wall all be gone. Take the time to smell the flowers before it’s too late.
I waste the whole day laying around in the shade. I’m exhausted both mentally an physically. The relentless heat must be getting to me because I get Dizzy if I stand up. Water, I drink lots of it. So much that I slosh and gurgle like the tide.
I’m living steps away from one of Maui’s most sacred burial grounds. The earth Is deep red and said to be Colored with the blood of a thousand warriors. I find it vey peaceful but at night the woods are spooky and you can always hear empty foot steps in the night.
Today I have nothing to think about but that’s all I do all day long, I think. There are times when I am crippled with anxiety but I squash it. On some very deep level I still feel like I am following a path I am meant to follow, I just wish I had a map so I knew where it was going.
My only chore of the day is to clean an tune my still un-named Brompton. Tomorrow we will ride as far as my legs will take me. I honestly think that this is the best bike I have ever been fortunate enough to ride. Everywhere I take her she brings smiles which are the most priceless thing in the world when you are stranded on a tropical island.
I wake up instantly and freeze I can feel heavy poky feet walking across my face, TARANCHULA. I have to say in most situations of stress or down right fear I am a rock, a natural born leader, this is not one of those situations.
I jump to my feet and scream like a 12 year old girl, jumping around like a fool. It’s 2:00am. I had ridden my bike half way around the island looking for work I was never going to make it home before the sun set so I found. Quiet piece of dirt and went to sleep. That’s how low I have degraded since arriving here, I just close my eyes and pray it doesn’t rain, I don’t even have my sweatshirt with me. Now wide awake I ride through the dark, my mind attacks me.
I think about loyalty in this world an wonder If it exists or is every man and woman just out on thier own agenda. I think about Chloe and miss her more than words can express. I think about my father, he isn’t getting any younger and he is the reason I’m here. His 75th birthday is coming up and I wouldn’t miss it for th world. So I buy the cheapest ticket and show up three weeks early.
When the family arrives I will crawl out of the dirt and check into a posh home on the beach, seven days later I will crawl back into the dirt.
I thought I would just camp around, pick up some work and tour the islands. Hawaii is a corporation there is no work for a homeless guy with no phone or address. The world has changed. I have changed.
I’ve been brought to my knees, as far as hawaii is concerned I am the invisible man. A few months ago I was sailing the coast of British Columbia now I’m living with meth heads. I fantasize about having a cubicle and a car and a mortgage the more debt I can create the safer I will be because it will keep me neatly tucked into the cog of the corporate world. I’m not lonely out here I’m truly alone. I’m not a cryer, the only time I can recall in my adult life was when Chloe passed. Today the tears fall like raindrops, I don’t even know why but I don’t fight it.
The letters I receive warm my heart and help me make it through another day. I’m not beaten, beaten down yes but not beaten. My blinders are off for the first time in my life I see the real world. I guess what it really comes down to is that there is nothing I wouldn’t do for the people in this world I call friends and family.
I walk to the beach at dawn and write love letters in the sand to my imaginary girlfriend. It’s the most beautiful morning I have ever whitnessed and through all this I can still only think of one thing. I want to ride every inch of this tropical paradise.
I curl up in the fetal position I didn’t think it was possible that my new tent could hold so much water. Everything is drenched including my mind. I’m so waterlogged even my soul is wet.
I’m up all night trying to sponge it out but it’s pointless . I’m living in a wet coffin like tube called a one man tent, I can’t even sit up in it. I take it as another lesson from Maui, she is really pushing my buttons today.
In a gesture of I won’t give up, I walk naked at first light down to the shore. I dive in screaming and laughing like a little boy. I’m having so much fun the world disappears and I’m suddenly startled that I have company…
Quit your job not your life. From the journal of Stormy West Maui
It’s only 9:00am and it’s aready an inferno, the air is thick and hot. Head winds blast at me, my twiggy legs look like they would be better suited On a chicken. A week ago this ride would have killed me.
Today they spin the pedals like well oiled pistons and the wind is no match. There is a Storm coming so I need to stock the pack for a few days. I take a wrong turn and find a shop I’ve been trying to find for a week, the sign says gone surfing. I leave a note and get lost again this time finding a True Value hardwear and half price stove fuel. I should really try the cat food kind but i have bigger fish to fry.
I’m blessed with an eating disorder, if not for it I would be staving but I feel quite satisfied if I keep my mileage under 4o a day. For breakfast I have 2 cups of coffee and 2 packets of cold instant oatmeal and love it. Lunch is snacks, each day I get one I the following. Half a bag of Fritos or half a box of Crackefs or half a can of nuts. I snack on these all day but am careful not to over indulge. I get a third of a jar of peanut butter a day and on special days I have an apple to spread it on and it’s a real treat. Dinner is a little canned chicken thing with super spicy sauce and late night munches are whatever is left from the snack Bag. For the most part I feel really satisfied and on days that I don’t I each coconut till it makes me sick, I love the stuff. I also carry one emergency pack of ramen noodles food super celebrations.
I make it to town and back and beat the storm, organize the emergency supply’s and tuck my food receipt away for late reading in my leisure time.
If it’s not too windy to ride tomorrow I will jump on the brompty for a magic carpet ride to town and get that job, as for now surfs up and I think it’s appropriate to repeat the number one phrase I hear on this island, gone surfing…
The fishermans boat is old and worn like his hands. Every day he sets out on the same journey and returns to the same place. This is my biggest fear in life, the infinite circle leading to nowhere.
The road is like an oven searing me alive there is always a head wind no matter which way I am going. A cyclist blows by me then slows to let me catch up and we char. He tells me everything that is wrong with my bike and why it’s to slow. My response is for Him to slow down and relax, he is riding on and island loop and will never get there.
I have lost count of the days but I have my own loop, I ride my bike looking for a job I don’t want but need. I pop into town window shopping looking at all the things I need but don’t want. I people watch meet locals and try and make new friends. I have 15 hours a day to kill, I had hopes that time would be spent on the bike always on the move and soon it will be.
Last minute circumstances changed everything so i roll with it and try not to fight it. Today I will look for a new way to find work, I don’t know Exactly how because I haven’t invented it yet but there must be a better way. It’s time to get creative.
The farmer says to the cow, give me milk and I will feed you. The cow replies feed me and I will give you milk.
Rolling down the hwy at a cool 15 mph I chuckle to myself, I’ve come along way from my Harley Today is a special day, it’s day 7 which means all the tourists are going home but not me. I wouldn’t consider myself a local but Hawaii is now my home for as long as I continue my slow meandering bicycle tour on my little Brompton.
The bike is both my master and servant, I love the mobility but feel like I have to baby sit the bike everywhere i go to protect her from sticky fingers. Having now passed the 200 mile mark on this bike a can truly say Bromptins are truly the best and coolest folding bike on the planet. They also happen to the next est thing to a puppy on a leash for meeting people.
Had I not had the bike with me I could of found much more secluded spots to poach for the night. On the other hand if I didn’t have the bike I could only go where the bus goes, all the best places I have visited have been by brompty.
So I survived the first week sometimes even thrived in it but so far this trip has been a gold mine. I get many emails asking for writing advice and the first question I ask is always what’s your story. I’ve posted about 10 percent of my real journey here saving the balance of the goods for, We’ll I too have found a new story and it will… Sorry but you are going to have to wait for me to publish it
The very second I stepped off the plane a princess from Bali approached me and she must have had good juju because every character on the island has found thier way to me.
So I took a chance, failed miserably. Accepted help and found my story. If I hadn’t of shown up broke I wouldn’t have found it. I’m not out of the woods yet and assume chapter 1 will be just as crazy as the intro. All I can ad is write what you know, do what you love, and remember everybody is afraid all the time. Don’t let fear guide you, ride that wave till it’s over an eventually you will teach a new shore. Mahalo
The sherif say yoo no mah the heetchhike, go see da judge.
I was up at the crack of dawn hitch hiking my way to Wailuku for a days work and a chance to put a few bucks in my pocket. I was very excited as this was my first offer since arriving. I’m sure it’s all my fault. I must have gone to the wrong place. I waited two hours then gave up and tried to thumb it home and that is where all my troubles started.
A thirty dollar cab ride sent me back to where I started, to lick my wounds. The day started off weird enough so I should have known better. Even back home wherever that is bad days can happen. It’s time for a shower and a cup of coffee.
I’m still shaken from my cycling mishaps but it’s time to get back in the sadle an start pedaling my brompton again.
I think of my Heros and Larry Pardey comes to mind. He is one I the most successful people i know. One thing for sure he didn’t make it without taking many chances and risks for his dreams to manifest. His simple words, if it’s this difficult it must be worth it give me strength.
Tomorrow is a new day with new challenges and as each one is met it’s done screaming I’m alive. Frank Sinatra May have done it his way but I’m learning to do it the islands way. Mahalo
I lay naked in my tent drenched with sweat. I feel something crawling on my back, a spider. I try and swat it but miss, where did it go. Are the red ones poison or the orange ones?
When I arrived in Maui it was to warm wind driven rain. The rain went away and was replaced by hurricane force winds. Now its a dead calm and the bugs are out full force. The mosquito netting is useless.
The sun hasn’t risen yet but I’m wide awake still on mainland time. Today will be a day to explore down island as u will be hitch hiking to find a days work.
Each morning I wake up with a pain in my gut. What the hell am I doing here? The fear creeps in but with the rising mornin sun the ocean reminds me that home.
Those were to be the first words I would be speaking with my one free phone call.
Alrhough fate stepped in it could have been ugly Next time we catch you on the beach we take your gear and you go to see the Judge were the rangers last words to me. Over and over they kept playing in my head all night long. Call me a sissy but the whole incarceration thing really doesn’t meet my needs.
For the next few weeks I will be sleeping safe and sound in a campground by the sea. This gives me time to regroup and come up with a slightly better plan as nothing in the world could possibly fail as miserably as plan A did. Did I actually just say that?
Hitchhiking home after another failed day on the job front I met Havi when he picked me up on the side of the road. We made a quick detour to the dump an then he took me out for a Delicious lunch. My stomach has shrunk so much I could barely finish but now I feel fully charged and ready for a days worth I work that he offered me doing my favorite thing, breaking shit.. .
As for the seaside retreat all I can say is thank you Daddy 🙂
This isn’t your fathers Hawaii. I’ve survived the transition, the early mornings are the hardest. The quiet darkness eats at my mind, I fight back. Be strong, you can do it
Riding toward Kaanapali the bike path soon ends leading to hairy winding and tight roads with too much trafic I throw in the towel after almost being run off the road only to find the opposite direction even more dangerous. Now I’m on the cliff side and another near miss has my heart in my throat. I’m almost out of coconut water so a take a break and find a tropical refill, they are always free.
Extracting salvation from the nut is extremely labor intensive work but worth it. I drink half of the sweet water pouring the rest in my bottle mixed with water for later. The meat will be my days snack.
I say a prayer and get back on the road. My load is too heavy so for the umpteenth time in so many days I will take everything out and scrutinize its I importants . The homeless guys are on to something with those tiny packs and bikes, there are hints and lessons all around me; all I have to do is observe with a new set of eyes.
I still haven’t used my sleeping bag, the night air is warm and balmy so I lay on my pad and sleep naked. I’ve been taught that you don’t sleep without a bag so it’s not only physically weighing me down but mentally as well. I need to relearn everything and let go of my few possessions if I’m goin to make this work.
The world of budget travel is vastly different than just 20 years ago but it’s not impossible you just have to be creative. I was a fool to think I could show up with 500 bucks and survive. I make the best of it another day older and another day wiser.
When I get down on myself for all the mistakes I have made I remind myself of the alternative, what I would be doing if I wasn’t here living in a tropical paradise. All I can say is perspective wields a sharp knife.
If you haven’t fasted for a week you should try it. The mind gets strong as does the body and soul.
I’m on the wrong side of the island for fruit and my camping situation is still rough but I feel my strength coming back both mentally and physically. I’m doing my best to avoid the redicules fines for sleeping on the beach but to be honest anyplace close to town is a bit sketchy for my timid taste.
Coconut on the other hand is helping cleanse my soul as is the salt water. My skin is now rubbery soft and smooth and a bit of muscle is starting to show from behind all my fat. The stress of losing Chloe really put me in an emotional tailspin but now I feel like I’m climbing back out of the hole.
I’ve been waking up around three evey day and go to sleep shortly after sunset. Early tomorrow I will try my hand at spearing a tuna. I’m still a weak, scared and timid Haole but each day I go a little more native
I’ve finally found the one good thing I’m consistently good at, failure. The rangers are on to me, there will be no camping on the beach for me although they did offer a less appealing alternative.
Everyone I have met is unbelievably friendly and helpful but it seems there are no job openings if you don’t have a perminate address, I live just down the beach doesn’t seem to cut it. Again it’s way too windy to ride my bike so I will hitch into town to contine my search for employment and fresh fruit, all I have found so far are coconuts.
My poor eyes are a bit sunburned but they are still quite pleased with never ending rainbows and the hundreds of shells and coral I have been finding on my beach trash collection journeys.
Feeling a bit lonely last night I took my uke to beach to serenade the stars and ended up making many new friends. It’s scary right now being dead broke and homeless but I know I’m were I’m meant to be, there is magic in these islands. I’ve always said that the first three days of anything new are the hardest. If you can survive them then everything will come your way. Hele on down.
It’s taken me exactly one day to be completely transformed from a cycling tourist to a homeless person seeking shelter I find an old shed and share it with the geckos and a few land crabs .
The wind is blowing so hard it threatens to take the old tin roof with it, I can only imagine what it will be like when the rain comes
I made I to Lahaina forgot to by coffee but did find stove fuel at triple the price. I successfuly located and cleared all the thorns from my stealth site by stepping on them.
The roads on the Island are smooth clean and wide with wonderful bike lanes. The trafic is nonstop high speed and never ending Roadside memorials are the cyclists constant companion. The wind has me trapped like a rat and it’s only just begun.
I’ve spent the last few months living in a cold tin shed and was constantly asked how I could be so happy living there. My simple response always came with a huge smile. Three hots and a cot, what more could I ask for in this world.
I’m just leaving…
For the first time in my life I feel truly alone, lonely and perhaps a bit apprehensive about my upcoming journey. Landing in a strange place and not knowing a soul isn’t a new experience for me but the timing for such foolery isn’t ideal. Packing up the last bits of my life I find remnants of this and that, now only snippets of time gone by. I know its always darkest before the dawn so I try and squash all my uneasy feelings and search for the light knowing full well that without stepping off the cliff there is no chance that a net will appear.
As scary as it all seems on this cold rainy day I know that letting fear guide my life would be my downfall. Living a fear based life is living a life doomed to medeocrity. One by one I pack my fears with my small pile of personal possessions and prepare to take them on this journey with me. I will slowly and sytematically discard them with each new milestone achieved and hopefully some day very soon I will look back and laugh at how scared I really am today.
“The danger of venturing into uncharted waters is not nearly as dangerous as staying on shore, waiting for your ship to sail in.”
Or at least around the block. I’ve done the unthinkable, the one thing I swore I would never do again. I purchased a one way coach ticket to Maui. The jet set world of private aircraft spoiled me to the point of finding even first class air travel unbearable.
I swore I would never fly commercial again but the choices were simple.
A) Land in Hawaii with my life savings of 500 bucks and a bit of desire for adventure.
B) Spend the next year writing about the adventures of life in modern societies version of the iron maiden we call a cubicle and that damn flickering fluorescent light gnawing at my brain.
Ether one could probably make for some pretty interesting writing but I have chosen A as it is very likely to be a bit more entertaining to my dysfunctional mind that keeps telling me that its not an adventure till something goes wrong.
Its easy at 25 to spin your wheels thinking that the world will go on forever but once 30 rolls around you had better make use of every second as the clock is ticking. Its the age old question of your money or your life. Currently I have neither. I will spend the next ten days locked away in an old tin shed in cocoon status. When i emerge I will spread my wings like a butterfly and fly away. And no I don’t think money is inherently evil but selling your soul for it is. Right now my life stocks are on sale and I’m buying all the shares I can afford. All I can do is hope that they appreciate with time and experience.
My chicken and the egg question for the day… Is it the writer that makes the story or the story that makes the writer.
“It is the preoccupation with possesions, more than anything else, that prevents men from living freely and nobly.” That’s the way things work in my life. Bertrand Russel
No Ka Oi translates simply to the best and Maui is by far the best or at least my favorite of the Islands of Hawaii. having said that I have explored all of the other islands ad nausium but Maui has always been reserved for lush short term get aways.
Truthfully I know almost nothing about Maui past the poolside tiki bars of the many 5 star resorts I have visited over the years. This time it will be a bit different, I’m buying a one way ticket, my pack is stripped to the very basics and of corse my trusty new Brompton will replace the normal mode of island transportation.
I sent out a letter to all my friends and aquaintances inviting them to fly south for the winter on a sort of working holiday but didn’t get one single taker. I know all to well what it feels like to be trapped by the constraints of society and it seems that everyone I know is on the treadmill of life so my travel will be a solo journey. In my easy slow moving way I don’t have any plans or destination in mind. Once I get off the plane I’ll pack up the bike and start riding towards the sunset and see where she leads me.
I’ve given myself 2 weeks to familiarize myself with my new Brompton and her 1200 parts. I need to build a spares kit for her so I can do all of her maintenance and repair roadside. I have gone through the entire bike a dozen times looking for potential weak spots or places that might suffer in in tropics and am confident that I have chosen the best touring bike for the job.
Like with everything in life I prefer to ride the long easy flat terrain but I know there will be valleys to climb out of and mountains to traverse. I look forward to the long painful grind as what goes up must come down, the hardest earned journeys are always the best or should I say No Ka Oi.
I took one last look around Sookie and locked her up for the winter. Ive whittled my possessions down to a 38 liter daypack and my Brompton. The boat is packed and ready to take me to Alaska in the spring but there is a long cold winter between here and there.
I continue my search for a one way ticket but which way do I go to find summer. My destination is unknown but my future is steady as a rock. My search for a warm sandy beach with the occasional gentle island rain shower has begun.
Indecision tells me my heart isn’t there in my present mind. I declined the BCC and it has gone to a backup offer. I’ve also decided its time to find a new home for Sookie while I set off on a few land adventures.
I’ve always wanted a BCC from the very first time I spotted one in San Diego in the mid 80’s I knew I would some day sail my on ship. With winter sneaking in the last thing I wanted was two boats with miles of wood, paint, varnish and oil under my care.
The plain truth is I just don’t want to deal the maintenance on a BCC while I’m out traveling and travel is where my heart is, land travel. The open road is calling my name and so is a warm winter for once. I’m not buying the farm but its time for a break from boats and a little exploration further from the only place I have ever called home, the sea.
In a week I will check Sookie and make sure she is buttoned up for the long winter. All I need now is to choose my next adventure, I have an idea where I’m headed but for how long I can’t say, what I do know is that it will be based around my quirky new little folding Brompton. I’m going light and simple. I don’t know if I can blog from an I-phone but that will be my entire office and lifeline to the world I am temporarily leaving behind.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
― Leo Tolstoy
I watched as she pedaled her bike down the road and just like that she was gone. The hardest part of living a nomadic life is always saying goodbye. On some level I wanted to beg her to stay but at 25 I did the same thing she is. I walked out the door and lever looked back.
When I met her she didn’t know how to ride a bike, couldn’t make a fire, set up a tent or navigate by the sun, moon and stars. Today will be her biggest test. Alone in the world, her new home is her bike and the open road. The first 24 hours will be the toughest mentally but if she can survive that she is well on her way to Key West where she will prepare to set off to hike the Appellation Trail in the spring.
I don’t know if i’ve ever truly felt lonely in my life but there is a quiet emptiness screaming to me that its also my time to move. I’m still waiting on my new Brampton but my bag is packed save for a tent which I will likely do without for now.
All I have to do is point to the map and buy a one way ticket to the next big adventure. Hawaii is my home and where I have always gone to sooth the soul when life gets too complicated. Hot coffee at sunrise with a pile of fresh picked fruit and my toes buried in the warm squishy sand is the best medicine for… well anything. If my knee’s hold out I will bike tour Oregon starting on the coast in spring but that is a long way off and I feel the need to escape now.
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
Like the best cooking recipes life is best made from scratch. In 3 short days I will be pushing my protege from the nest to pursue her dreams while I move on the constant quest to create my tiny personal empire. A smidgen over 4 years ago I lost everything, the rebuilding process has been amazingly fun although I have had my moments.
Its no small secret so to speak that I prefer really kewl small shit like my ukulele, Brompton, Falmouth Cutter and soon enough a tiny log cabin built with little more than my bare hands. Small, simple and naturally powered is my preferred way of life, although I have been known to stray. Trading options keeps life fun and exciting, somedays soon I hope to live my life in 4 quarters, sailing in the spring, bike touring in the summer, flying the bush in the fall and wintering on my tiny homestead. Always on the move my life is a bit schizophrenic but until I find a reason to settle down without settling I will continue my nomadic way of life.
My new pack is packed and my Brompton is almost here. My tiny budget does not allow for everything I want but it has provided everything I need to stealth camp my way through the South Pacific until I am ready to return to the Pacific Northwest and start my spring adventures. Now if I could only figure a way into a Piper Super Cub I could fulfill my life long dream of becoming a bush pilot.
The story isn’t what you did, its how you did it.
I love crowd funding, over the years I have supported many efforts and will continue to as often as I see fit. Personally I have never engaged in a crowd funding project and I doubt I ever will. Another day older and more lessons learned.
Lets face it we feel like we deserve a pat on the back from time to time. I guess I felt entitled to a break after 10 solid years of faithfully blogging. I’ve never asked for anything and honestly I turn down about 50 advertising offers a year in order to keep my site clean.
4 years of on and off negotiating “read begging” for a free bike from a local manufacturer came to an end this week when I was flat out told no I will never get a free bike but I can have a small discount. In my tiny little mind I felt like I deserved a free bike, I write about what I love truthfully and have a strong enough internet presence that I should get it for free. After all why should I pay for a bike only to turn around and write about it day in and day out for years on end for nothing? On a whim I turned to a local bike shop, sent a quick A.D.D Dyslexic letter asking for a pro deal. I.E. a bike at cost figuring I could help out my LBS in the process of helping myself, WRONG MOVE.
The next morning I received a reply that didn’t exactly make me feel warm and fuzzy and in typical Stormy fashion replied to his reply starting a mini word war three. Well his email was never meant to be sent to me but written in a moment of frustration, mine was sent because I am a dick. He sent back a sincere appology confirming if to no one else but myself how huge of a King Kamehameha dick I am and I replied hopefully ending what should have never started in the first place.
Lesson learned??? No matter who you are or what you do you are not entitled to shit. If you want somethiong earn it, get ten jobs, sell your useless shit, save every penny and soon enough you will have something so awesome to write about that all the dicks in the universe will send you hate mail telling you how much of a douche trustafarian failure that you are but at that point who gives a shit, it’s your trip and your life, you earned it and best of all you don’t owe anyone shit.
My point to all this? Well, what is the point? Crowd funding and advertising does have its place in this world but it’s not for me. Once again I am humbled by a complete stranger, a day older and a little bit wiser.
PS Dear Rolex can I please have a free watch 😉
I will ride my bike until I sail again. A cloud burst caught my attention pulling me from the mundane task of labeling an endless supply of the worlds finest wines. Big poofy clouds, blue sky and the smell of wet asphalt made me smile.
Sure I have the perfect boat to sail around the world but being a privileged American I want more. I have always wanted to pick up bike touring where I left off and ride around the world but what if I could do both. Every spring I am forced to sell my beautiful bike when sailing season rolls around. When the crispy days of fall return my mind strays from the boat, the saddle calling my name. This is the year I will throw down and get a real folding bike and never again have to say good by to my winter steed.
There are dozens of folding bikes out there but only two that will do for this sailor boy, the Bike Friday or the Brompton. No matter how you slice it and dice it the bike alone will set me back over 2k which is no small price to pay. My travel budget is still $100 a week so it will set me back 5 months of travel funding but you can’t put a price on the freedom a bicycle affords.
At this point I don’t know where I’m headed but wherever it is it will be powered by the wind in my lungs and or sails, the only limits are my own physical means. I’ll never forget my first bike, the freedom, the smile it brought to my face and the adventures of discovering my world which at that time was as far as my mommy could see me down the road. My playground has increased since then but its no larger of an adventure than it was at the ripe old age of 6. If you want to find the secrets of the fountain of youth saddle up and take a spin around the… As for me every mile I spin I get just a little bit younger and wiser.
The bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. –Christopher Morley
Natural power, simplicity and time to smell the roses. We ask for very little and we get it, unfortunately most people we know don’t get it, us, or our minimalist wanderings. We have chosen to move slowly and immerse ourselves in every place we visit rather that to just take a passing glimpse.
Sookie is the best mobile home base we can imagine but we are all to often pulled away from her by a call to explore further inland. Every fall I buy a new bike and every spring I reluctantly sell it, all available space is at a premium when you live aboard a 22′ sailboat. We have downsized our mountain backpacks to day packs large enough for simple 24 hour getaways and we are pleased with these small diversions. Try as we may our little boat is just too small to take our bikes with us, enter Bike Friday and Brompton In the very near future Sookie will sport two new folding touring bikes finally enabling us to take our most prized posesions our bikes, with us.
These small additions to our lives will open an entirely new world of touring and exploration to the journey and enable us to leave the boat in the Salish Sea when winter creeps in, to explore warmer climates further afield. They are small and light enough to fit in our aft lazarette and strong and efficient enough to carry our minimalist loads for touring.
I wish I could take credit for this brilliant desicion but it was all Emily spurred by her refusal to let cycling take a backseat in our lives just because we are sailors. We work harder and harder each day in an attempt to completely sail of the grid and into full time lives as explorers.
I know of no other financial decision more sound than selling your car and replacing it with a bike. It will save you in the immediate future and add the most most valuable of all commodities in the world, quality of life both mental and physical.
Tens of thousands who could never afford to own, feed and stable a horse, had by this bright invention enjoyed the swiftness of motion which is perhaps the most fascinating feature of material life. ~Frances Willard, How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle
I’ve always had a bike on my boat, usually a folder . I have never once rowed it to shore, but from the dock dwelling prospective they are awesome. I’ve been a dock queen out in the islands all summer as the most I can get away with right now is short day sails. It always makes me smile to see people walking their bikes down the dock as they are the best tools for exploration, provisioning or just a ride to a new pub.
A couple of years ago an a snowy Christmas Eve I strapped my panniers on my Dahon and rode up to the local co-op, only a few miles away but too far to walk. All bundled up with pink cheeks and a pink nose it felt great peddling through the brisk evening.
I saw a friend driving in circles in the impossibly crowded parking lot when I arrived. I locked my dog and bike to a pole and did my shopping. I found everything I wanted and everything fit in nice and snug with a french roll strapped on top. My friend was still driving around looking for a spot to park in when I unlocked the bike and treated Chloe to a snack. Next was the chocolatier for a good bar of chocolate and then the video store for a christmas movie. It was down hill all the way and I rode right to my boat. I unclipped the saddle bags and put them in the boat folded the bike and stowed it in the aft locker and put everything away. This took about 5 minutes.
When my then wife got home I had hot buttered rum, fresh rolls and home made cream of mushroom soup waiting. I’m guessing by this time my friend had done her shopping and was fighting traffic to get home.
Like boats bikes come in all shapes, sizes and price ranges. If you don’t own a bike but you have the means I highly suggest you go out and find a perfect match, it just may save your life. In a few short weeks I will celebrate my five year anniversary with going car-less.
“When you’re turning the crankset, you’re riding the bike. When you’re coasting, you’re just along for the ride.” ~ Ned Overend