We love to get some time out from the daily routine. Maybe a day at the beach, park or an exotic holiday. A weekend camping always felt as if we had escaped, enjoying simple food prep, nature walks, and quiet nights away from urban noises.
I have been called many things in my life, but if there has been one constant, one barb, one arrow flung my way time after time, is the accusation that I am in essence nothing more than an escapist.
Apparently, this is a bad, suspect, possibly even un-American. Mention to someone that, all things being equal, you’d really rather be on an island in the South Pacific, and they’ll look at you quizzically, ponder the madness of the notion for a moment, and say: “ But that just escapism. Now let’s go to In and Out get a double-double.
I’m not sure where this tendency came from. Escapism, we are led to believe, is evidence of a deficiency in character, a certain failure of temperament. How do you expect to get ahead? people ask. But the question altogether misses the point. The escapist does want to get ahead. He simply wants to getaway.
In the casual option of Americans, I am old and therefore of little account, past my best, fading in pathetic diminuendo. Naturally, I am insulted by this, but out of pride, I don’t let my indignations show. As an Ancient Mariner of sorts, I want to hold the doubters with my arthritic hand, fix them with a glittering eye, and say, “ I have been to a place where none of you have ever been, where none of you can ever go. It is the past. I spent decades there and I can say, you don’t have the slightest idea”.
The closest grocery store now is either two thousand miles to Mexico, two thousand to Hawaii or a little over two thousand to Tahiti. Looking at the whole world, this is about the furthest ‘away’ you can be. I am grateful to be underway and fulfill a life long dream. Our communications went out a few days ago and although missing my family this is the way of the sea; just wind and water.