Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Life on a boat

Last week one of our friends turned another year older so my husband planned a lovely dinner for close friends and family at Jackie's in Silver Spring. Imagine our luck when we had the pleasure of hearing the tales of our friend's father's experience growing up in Maine.

I mentioned that my first connection to Maine was through an Outward Bound sailing course set in Rockland, which I signed up for towards the end of high school. We spent two weeks without any contact with anyone other than the 14 people in our boat. We cooked all our meals, showered in the ocean and learned to navigate by the stars at night. To this day, it's still one of my all-time favorite trips.

My friend's father enjoyed my tales, but his were, admittedly, much better, and, I must say, much more authentic. He didn't need to pay a company to sail him around his lovely state -- he did it on his own (and often) with just the company of a few friends.

He and his buddies often said goodbye to their parents and set out on a boat with a pack of food, jugs of water and little else. (Little did they know that their parents asked the local lobstermen to keep an eye on them!) They inevitably ran into some difficult situations along the way, including horrible weather conditions, but they always found a way out of them.

I hope kids still have the luxury of that kind of freedom. I grew up in the suburbs and now live in the city, so it's difficult for me to imagine that kind of journey beyond parental control and human interaction.

I wish I had had more of it, though. Maybe there's still time....

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