People, all over the world, get on very big boats. Each day. They are the kind of boats that mosey out to sea, in no great hurry to be anywhere. They are boats designed to take people away from land, then turn around, and bring them back. Eventually. It could be a week. Maybe two. Maybe more.
The people save their money to get on these big boats. Lots of money. The whole intention lies in getting away from the things that are on the land. The stress of work. The bad behaviors in traffic, and in lines at stores. The bills. The house chores. The pressure. The absurdity of the time clock, punching away at their bellies. So yes. They get on the boats. Temporarily. They take their families with them, in this getaway scheme.
I don’t know a lot about these boats. I’ve just been on one of the really big ones, once. One time a few years back. We sailed to Russia, and to Amsterdam, and Helsinki, among other places. Upon our little stop-offs at the cities, we saw lots of people with their heads down, walking along dismal sidewalks, wishing they could get on really big boats, and get away from their little places on land. Yep.
I noticed some things while I was floating around on the oceans, with everyone else. People get very territorial about their food on these vessels. Maybe because we were adrift, with no farms in sight. There were around 3500 of us, sharing this space, floating on the water. And at meal times, we would all converge on the places, on the boat, serving up the food.
The miraculous thing about this food-area, was that the workers, brought out tray after tray, of glorious food. And when one tray would nearly be empty, they would replace it with a full one. Over and over and over again. Every meal. Every day. There was an unending wave of food, spread out before the people. More than anyone could eat. But the people shoved, and pushed, and grabbed, and stashed. If there were three rolls left on the tray, they would grab all three. Or two, or five. Same goes for bacon. And pizza. And those little egg rolls, with the tiny shrimp inside. Yes, it was quite the sight to see. The lack of manners, the anger, the aggression. All for a piece of Teriyaki Pork.
Our boat was cold. It was snowy, or rainy, and gray on our decks. Somedays, we bundled up and sat outside so that we could smell the ocean air. But it is my understanding that these boats go further south, and it is hot and sunny. People lay out on the decks in bikinis, and red Speedos, and swim in pools on these boats. But only while they are waiting to get to the next little piece of land.
I guess I am thinking about all of this because I am reading a book my brother gave me a long time ago. It is about a little rabbit. A toy rabbit. But he boards a big boat. I won’t spoil the story for you by giving you any more details. I won’t even tell you the title or the author. That will REALLY keep it from being spoiled.
But the thing about the rabbit, and the thing about me, is that we changed after being on the boat. We saw things and learned things. About ourselves and others.
For one, I was glad to have been to Russia, and to Amsterdam, and yes, even to Helsinki, which is the armpit city of the North. I was glad for the little cocktail weenies wrapped in pastry, with the dipping sauce, on the boat’s food bar, too.
And while the adventure was grand, and experiences were rich, at the end of the journey, I was glad to be getting off the boat. Off the boat, and onto a plane. Off the plane, and into a car. Out of the car, and finally back home.
Back to the place where I started. My feet on this same old floor. It seemed wonderful and amazing to me. I saw with new eyes.
And that is the thing. We may want to escape, and see new places and get on boats, and climb up mountains, or go down water slides. But the common denominator is ourselves. And it is not so much “what” we see, but “how” we see it.
It all rests in how we notice.
And how we perceive.
“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
― W.B. Yeats
“The optimist sees the donut, the pessimist sees the hole.”
― Oscar Wilde
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”
― Anaïs Nin