I Love to Travel Because…

it changed how I’d play my game of life, forever.

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I don’t understand. What do you mean?

I looked around and everyone in the rickety dockside bar was smiling at us. The first leg of my 300 miles sailing trip had ended, and our boat, the Lady Slipper floated in the clear Caribbean blue water only a few hundred feet away, anchored for the first time by my hands. I turned over my shoulder to look at her.

I agreed. We should celebrate. 100 percent, we should do this shot, get drunk, and stumble back to our boat. We should be drinking and celebrating this landmark victory of survival against all odds, of brotherhood, teamwork, and shared struggle.

Rust-colored liquid in glass shots slid in front of us. I clapped my hands together. The world moved beneath me in waves. My older cousin Andy, our sailing mentor, watched and smiled with pride. It was the first time his energy turned positive. It was the first time he approved of our attempts to take over his boat. After the months of preparation and work, we finally pushed off from Rio Dulce, Guatemala and headed north to our destination of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Somewhere near the Blue Hole (I thought), we stopped to wait out a light storm approaching from the East.

It would change how I’d play my game of life for as long as I could breathe oxygen and be alive on this huge rock floating in space.

In Placencia Belize, wooden-planked houses and tin roofs teetered on stilts and 10 commandant signs were plastered on walls every few hundred feet. Iguanas laid sunbathing a few feet from us. Locals moved past us with sun-browned feet, walking with swollen, over-sized toes. Rasta vibes were everywhere. Mile-long sidewalks ran parallel to the ocean and the sand was gritty, the type that exfoliated your skin without you asking.

Do less. Move slow. Live present.

Now, almost a month into my trip sailing through the Western Caribbean, I continue to see the parallels between fear, love, in leaping for dreams that inspire me and give me some sort of meaning.

I had lost all hope at 36. I had felt alone. I had tried drugs. I had tried isolation. I had tried it all.

Then my cousin told me he was getting rid of his sailboat in Central America and I jumped at the chance to adventure out of my life’s haze. I wrote this in my journal while on the boat that night:

I am adapting to change again.

I am learning new skills and setting my sights on new goals and horizons. It hasn’t been easy leaving Michigan (or professional basketball), but life sometimes happens and you just have to roll with it, much like the gargantuan 10-foot rolling swells. These moments in nature, inside different cultures, and people show you how small we really are and how short of a time we really have to change for something we truly care about.

This traveling adventure has changed me.

But it also leaves me wondering what will happen when I return to American society? Am I just running from something bigger, telling myself the same bullshit story to stay in fantasy land? What legacy can I leave here, in the great wide blue, as my heart sinks under the life I no longer live?

Written by

“Do it or don’t do it.”

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