Wednesday, August 17, 2011

All Who Wander are Not Lost

As most of you know by now, I love and regularly devour classic sailing books and stories.  Our bookshelf is filled with the names and literary prowess of Tristan Jones, Bernard Moitessier, Joshua Slocum, Robin Knox-Johnson, Mark Twain and many, many more. I am now pleased to add Sterling Hayden to that esteemed list.

Disillusioned by his life and forever lulled and pulled by the sea, Sterling Hayden left a successful Hollywood career and fame and fortune to sail the south seas on an old tall ship. A forever rebel and seeker,  his story is compelling, relatable, at times philosophical, at others heartbreaking and totally captivating.  I don't think he ever found the peace he was looking for in his life, but he did manage to achieve his dream of captaining his own tall ship and escaping a life and society he viewed as wretched.

Here's a teaser for you.  I find this man, his insights, and thoughts to be right on and incredibly profound.  Enjoy.

Little has been said or written about the ways a man may blast himself free.  Why?  I don't know, unless the answer lies in our diseased values...'I've always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can't afford it'.  What these men can't afford is not to go.  They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of "security".  And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it, our lives are gone.

What does a man need - really need?  A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment.  That's all - in the material sense. And we know it....The years thunder by.  The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience.  Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where then, lies the answer?  In choice.  Which shall it be, bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?
I could not agree more.

Brittany & Scott


Anonymous said...

Oh my. Every time I read quotes like this it inspires me further to cast off the lines of security in exchange for a life lived. This passage is every bit as true (albeit less eloquent) as Thoreau's, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."

Amen. I'm off to purchase the book!!

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

Love it! I'm gonna have to read this one. Our lives become trapped "under the wheels of routine" ... then our lives are gone. How true! It's really kind of sad, so we're trying to break free! So glad ya'll already have!

Dawn Ireland said...

Just received my copy yesterday, along with "A Sea Vagabond's World" ordered them both on your recommendation. Can't wait to read them!

Skylark said...

Wow, what a fantastic quote from someone who obviously "got it." Thank you for that, it made me smile for the first time today.

Lisa Patterson said...

I was just reading that line, "All who wander are not lost" in the first book of the Lord of the Rings when Gandalf is describing the Ranger-True-King, Aragon. How ironic! Hope you guys are having good times! How did the week on the cruise ship go? Looking forward to hearing more about that! :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding me what a great book Wanderer is! I'll have to pull it off the shelf and give it a second look. That is one of my all time favorite quotes.

John said...

Thanks for the tip on the book but Im sorry to say that Tristan Jones should not be included in the same sentence as Bernard Moitessier, Joshua Slocum, Robin Knox-Johnson. Tristan did his sailing in an armchair in NYC. The other guys got wet. J;-)

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