Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Perspective


A reader told me that Luperon is often referred to a 'giant, outdoor, insane asylum'.  I'm not sure why - but this lifestyle does tend to breed some, shall we say, interesting characters.  Perhaps it's the fact that we are constantly living on the edge, perhaps it's all those night watches - sailing alone with nothing other than your thoughts to keep you company, perhaps it's just the spirit of the sea that gets into your soul and jumbles things around a bit...who knows?  But a significant portion of the people we have met here could have stepped right out of a Hunter S. Thompson novel.  In fact, I am beginning to think that if   Hunter S. (one of my most favorite authors) had been a cruiser he may not have put a rifle to his head, but that is beside the point...

Our first day in we met one young, we'll call him Johann, who - after seeing me give our friend's hugs - asked if we were giving out free hugs and could he have one?  We laughed.  We got to talking to him and it was then that I took him all in and noticed the odd fact that he was dressed very much like a pirate.  Bandana on his head, rolled up jeans, a skull and cross bones belt buckle, one earring, shark tooth necklace, rings adorning his fingers...the whole bit.  Heck, this guy even talked like a pirate in a sort of sing-song patois accent.  We asked him how long he'd been here and all that, and that is when he told us his story...

He has never sailed a day in his life, has lived in Jamaica for the past five years, just bought a 44 foot sailboat and decided that he's going to sail it - alone - back to Jamaica.  Over the course of a week.

"Really?!" we ask disbelievingly, "Alone?!"

"Yeah mon!" he said with a chuckle, "I got a book.  I figure it out." He shrugs casually. Wow, I think,  This guy's got moxie!

None of us are the types to go shattering people's dreams, so we give him a little advice on making sure to pay very close attention to weather and part ways.

We ruminate on his situation a bit, shaking our heads and thinking "rather him than me!" and duck into Steve's bar for a drink.

We met Johann again today - and he mentions to me that he's got to go home for a few days, to get some "treatments".  Turns out Johann has colon cancer and "probably other cancers" all over his body.  He goes through his wallet and shows us a picture of him taken a year ago.  He is significantly fuller in the face in the headshot.  He doesn't look a day over thirty-five.

"I lost 70 pounds" he says eyeing the picture with a matter of fact look and nodding his head, pausing a little too long, lost in his thoughts.  He snaps back to us and says, "But I'm gonna fight it.  That's why I bought the boat.  It's my last dream.  Gonna be my last house."

It's amazing how different things can look when you change perspective.  Suddenly, his situation doesn't seem so crazy after all.  Getting on a boat out in the middle of the ocean must seem like nothing to a guy whose body is ravaged with cancer.  Sailing a week to Jamaica must seem like a cake walk compared to chemo treatments. Our friend Johann is throwing caution to the wind because he, literally, has nothing to lose - except his dream.

He's going to get on his boat and live.

Sometimes, you have to look at the whole picture before you go and hang it on the wall.

So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? 
- Hunter S. Thompson

Love,
Brittany & Scott

11 comments:

Brett said...

Brittany,

This is your best post yet! It is an incredible mix of good writing and a good story. As a cancer survivor myself I was touched by Johann's story which brought back both good and bad membories of friends from teh hospital who are no longer here. It actually brought a tear to my eye. Thank you for sharing it. I hope Johann finds his dreams and happiness along with them.

Bruce said...

Another nice piece of writing, B.

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

Wow! This is yet another example of why we can not put off till tomorrow what we can do today! We'll be thinking of Johann and wishing him "fair winds".

Susan said...

Brit - that was one of your best ones, makes you think. I love you darling girl, enjoy your life love always mummy xxxx

NatGeoWannaBe said...

Awesome post. Great blog. Hope to join you folks in 7 yrs or so (if you are still out there) when my wife and I are ready to cast off.

Lizz said...

I live by a quote by Jimmy Buffet "I would rather die while I am living, than live while I am dead." Growing Older But not Up

Susan said...

Darling that was lovely really enjoyed it. How wonderfully you write, so proud of you. Hugs and kisses mummy xxx

Anonymous said...

B- I learn something new each with each of your entries. Thank you for sharing your journey. Wishing your smooth sailing and steady winds, xoxo Jennifer Luttig

subbyhubby said...

lucky,lucky , lucky...as far as Johann, Its great that he wants to do that, even looking your at the end of your life, he still wants to live life at its fullest...I hope to do that..

Junaid said...

Good post, love the quote at the end. The time to cross things off one's bucket list is before that dreaded talk in the doctor's office that shrinks your possibilities and horizons to a stone's throw away.

Terry and Machelle said...

Thought provoking. You know, I read this blog entry and just got goosebumps. I absorbed it for a day and then I read it to my husband. The goosebumps turned to a lump in my throat. Sometimes your writing just does that to me. I appreciate your insights and candor and look forward to each entry.

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