trade-offs and choices
I woke up on the floor of a ferry this morning at 5:15am feeling like a bag of smashed a**holes.
I know, and I feel so classy for using that term too, but it’s the first thing I thought this morning after opening my eyes. The boys back home used to say that after a crazy night out drinking. I’m not hungover, I’m just sick. I started sniffling and coughing and sneezing a couple days ago. As usual, I tried not to take anything and will the sickness away, but it didn’t work.
Ferries are a must to get you around AK. They’re pricey, but pretty much like a small cruise ship. They show movies, have comfy observation decks, free nature talks, full cafe’s with all kinds of eats, cocktail lounges, free showers and even a heated outside top deck. The biggest difference from a regular cruise liner is that you don’t get a room. I’m certainly not going to pay extra for a bed to sleep on when there’s a free warm floor, even if it is hard, uncomfortable, and probably not the cleanest thing in the world. It’s a pretty easy choice when you think about it; Pay an extra bill, more gas $, or a few bucks for something chocolate when I can fully taste again and sleeping on the floor in a public boat, or renting a room? I’m in non-heel wearing, shower whenever and Frugal Franny mode right now so it’s all good. I’ve even sworn off regular shaving until I get back to “the lower 48.” (Wow, I’m sounding hotter by the minute!) I did have to laugh this morning though when I woke up feeling like I was 92, not 32. Good thing is, you know when you can wake up on the floor of a public ship with no pillow or sleeping bag, after maybe being able to actually sleep for 3 hours, hacking your brains out and reaching for the nearest tissue because if you so much as move, your nose will run all over the place- but still smile, shake it off and look forward to starting your day at 6am, you are in the right place for the time being. Saying that leads me nicely into this news link I got from a reader this morning.
Last night I met several less is more and do what you love fellow travelers. In line for the ferry I met a gentleman named Ron originally from Germany, now lives in Montana. Engineer by trade and daughters my age. He came to AK to spend time with one of his daughters and has traveled around the world. Later in the night I met a couple originally from Chile, in their 60’s, now RV full time, have been for 3.5 years and lived for years in L.A. (kids my age again and family there.) Lastly a worker on the ship in his 50’s from Maine, x-corporate guy with yet again, kids my age and now loving life early retired and bartending. What was the theme of every conversation I had with them? Do it. Do the things that make you happy. The “If I could go back in time” came up so many times I lost count. We didn’t have conversations of regret, as they were all positive people, just more of a don’t let it take you your whole life to start doing what you love, your health and soul will suffer. We talked for hours. (Not that I needed any more encouragement to keep traveling.)
I relish the time I get to spend with anyone who has lived longer on this earth than me. Especially with people who’ve lived significantly longer. In any conversation I’ve ever had, including last nights, I can’t remember one of them being; Boy I wish I stayed at that job I hated, I wish I never tried X kind of food, or man it’s a bummer I never ended up marrying that jerk. Nope. They are always just the opposite. Kerry, the Chilean gent (Came to the U.S and worked his a** off for years and years as a painter) was talking about how you can lose everything/”They” can take everything; Your house, car, boat, furniture- all of it, but no one can take your experiences and what’s in your heart and head. So right on Kerry.
I like expensive jeans, nice hotels and I usually can’t stand going more than 5 weeks without a haircut. I’m a total type A perfectionist and you’d never find me caught dead driving my car in the filthy condition that it currently is in on a regular day. For right now though, I choose dirty clothes, car, bad hair and floor sleeping as a trade off to get to do what I’m doing and it’s really not hard at all. It’s so worth it to me. Even though my head is a bit groggy today and I’m feeling far from 100%, I’m happy. From where I was crying hysterically to my sister on the phone just a few short months ago trying to figure out how to get out of a life I had created that I didn’t want. I’ll take 1,000 sleepless, snotty floor nights that aren’t as torturous as they sound. My hair probably doesn’t actually look nearly as awful as I’m imagining it does either.
Lets listen to our elders my peers! Why are so many of us waiting so long to start the ball rolling on doing what we love?
Cheers to my new friends from last night. Thanks for the great conversation and perspective. I hope to run into you again somewhere down the road.