Living in Cognitive Dissonance

“hey dude, in tonga.  heading to n.z. in about 6 weeks. want to go?” -Captain John, S/V Cacafuego

I have been living in cognitive dissonance ever since I arrived on land.  All around me is the American struggle and everybody is either doing it – vying for success and looking for jobs, or just lounging around.  I get so tired of it.  What are you people struggling for?  What the fuck are you trying to get out of this life?  I can almost let it brainwash me when a fraternity tries real hard to get me to join, or I listen too closely to an extroverted professor.  They don’t know shit.

Nobody knows anything.

Last February my family and I made the crossing from Panama to the Galapagos Islands on our 38 foot catamaran.  It took us seven days.  Those seven days, and the following three weeks in the Galapagos, was the happiest month of my life.  While in Santa Cruz I was dating a local girl, meeting all kinds of interesting people every single day, and not worrying about a single thing.  I knew I was in a unique place and would never find another like it.  I seriously considered dropping my college plans and just moving in with my Galapagonian princess, continuing to work on the tugboats every other month, and starting something in the islands.

What kept me from it is I thought that it might be copping out.  Would Einstein, would Martin Luther King, would any of those guys want to hole up in one of the most isolated places on the planet?  I think the real answer is they would have done what was going to make them happy at the time.

Who knows.  I might have gotten miserable there after a month and depressed that I didn’t go to school.

I will sometimes complain to a friend that this is the longest I have been in one place in the past 4 years.  The response I get is: “well, you have a life here now.”  My response is that I am building a life here now.

The life I want is just what Captain John is doing.  The quote at the top, I received in an email from him last semester.  How am I supposed to respond to that?  Of course I want to go.  What am I missing?

Money and time.  It is going to take some money.  But I am working on that.  Building businesses, invisible and automated businesses, is my goal.  Joining my father on another Pacific Crossing, joining John in Micronesia – that will be a life.  Not this shit.  Not sucking dick at a college, pampering for kudos from professors and trying to sign on to organizations for resume building.  Not taking shit from some Calculus TA.

Spend seven days on the Pacific Ocean on a boat where there isn’t a person around you for a thousand miles that doesn’t matter and you will know what is important.  While here I am constantly reminded of the story of Robert Graham, who left to sail around the world at 16 and completed his circumnavigation before starting college at Stanford.  He didn’t even last his freshman year.  He started a life in the woods of Montana with his wife that he met while abroad, living life “as it was meant to be lived.”  His experience kept him light years apart from his peers and he couldn’t handle it.

Did he make the right choice?