The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Category: Travel

There comes a time…

As I have gotten older, I have started to see many things differently in life. My Wife, my Child, the people I know, the things I have done and those I have yet to do. Further, I have begun to see certain things as no longer possible, as if age takes them off the table.

There are the obvious things, like becoming a doctor or an astronaut. When you get past a certain point, while not impossible, they become things that really don’t make sense to work towards when you are still at a point in your professional life where you are living at the limit of your means. And while I have recently returned to school for my BS, the idea of trying for an MD or anything like that just seems like too much to put my family through. I would rather focus my attention on my son’s future.

Then there are the little things, at least little in the sense of other things in life. Travel among them, at least the big trips that I see people engage in. To be fair, there are many places I really do not care to go to. Places like Hawaii or the Bahamas, or anyplace whose primary purpose is to expose one’s self to hours of sun and the potential of skin cancer or severe sunburn. Likewise, I find no interest in going places with large populations of free-roaming people that, usually, have no interest in being polite to either each other or the aboriginal people of the place they are visiting. Good examples of this are places like Seattle, Paris (France, not Texas), London, Miami, etc… These are all places where the people to personal space ratio, at least to me, are oppressive.

Then there are amusement parks. These are places where, I suspect, that you go to if you either have children or are potentially sadistic. Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Knott’s Berry Farm, etc. The population there is so overwhelming to me that I need to take regular breaks just to de-stress from being overwhelmed. How anyone, again… without children… can go to these places and call it fun or entertaining, is beyond me.

But the point of this article is more about the things that I look at that I consider no longer possible for me. The places and things I would love to have done and seen in my life that, in all practicality, are no longer possible. Like visiting the Alps, seeing the place that my Scottish ancestors called home, going to Antarctica, touring the lesser-visited parts of Europe. Going on a Walkabout in Australia. Seeing Terra del Fuego from the deck of a ship.

I do not regret most of where I am, now, in life. I think I have done OK both for myself and my family. Having never broken any laws (that anyone knows of, anyway.) nor ever been to jail or prison, and I have not done anything that has made me a pariah in any parts of the world. My wife and son have found no reason to run off or kill me, yet. My mother has not disowned me and I consider myself to be of relatively sound mind and body. So there is a lot going for me there. I do have a few regrets about the things I have not done, but that is fine. Who doesn’t have SOME regrets about the path they took to get where they are in life?

The point I have been trying to, circuitously, get to is this. The list of things I still might have a chance to do in life is getting smaller. If you are reading this and you are still young, get out and do the things you think you might want to, while you can. Family? Take them with you. If you have to go into a little debt to accomplish these things, do it! it’s only money and you can make more. Life… that you cannot get back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

My own private Idaho?

How easy is it to move from the place you have known for all your life to a place you have only been through briefly to make a new home for yourself?

A few years ago I made the decision to move out of California. The original plan was to move to Oregon and live someplace on the eastern, “desert”, side of the state for both health and lifestyle reasons.

It was a little later, after doing a little more investigating, that I found that Oregon was every bit as liberal as California was, and I decided that while I still wished to relocate myself and my family, it would be someplace else. After all, I am learning that California politics and I are not getting along with one another.

Ignoring my mother’s pleas to move to Alaska, I began looking at the other states I had available to me. I mean there are 49 others to choose from and each one has pros and cons. Alaska was, to my mother’s disappointment, out of the question. Not only is it too far removed from the places I like to travel, but it is also too far from the places I like to travel. Oh… I repeated myself.

One thing I started to notice was that many of my former coworkers had retired to Idaho. So, I started looking into that place as a possibility. The first looks, though, were disappointing. You see, one of the people I knew sent me pictures of four and five-foot snowdrifts against his house. When I asked where he had moved to in Idaho, he told me of a little place north of Coeur d’Alene. I want to say it was near someplace called Spirit Lake. But then I was told that if I did not want that kind of snow, I should look into the southern part of the state, maybe around Boise or Twin Falls. Which gets snow, but not nearly on the same level or volume as his area.

OK… so for the record, I do not mind the snow. If I were retired and single, I could be perfectly happy living in his area. Spending my winter snowed in with no contact with the outside world. I could totally rock that whole ‘Jack Torrance at the Outlook Hotel’ thing. Minus the freaky ‘redrum’ twins and the phantom bar-tender. But I have a wife and a nine-year-old that, given a situation like that, might in and of themselves turn murderous should we have to be snowed in.

Boise looked great, so did Mountain Home and the same with Twin Falls. So I started looking into them all and found that there were some pretty good career opportunities in all three locations. And thus… I made a decision.

We were moving to Idaho.

So today I am working on getting a little further with my degree before I make the move unless something comes up that I just cannot pass on. But for the time being, I set an eighteen-month window in which I would have us out of California, and that window officially started in January of this year.

If all goes well, we will be in Idaho by the end of 2021. A new life and a new start.

Returning from Vacation

Did you ever notice that vacation, in many cases, is more trouble than it is worth?

Sure… you are away from work, having a good time and enjoying life.  Times are good, life is good… maybe you might even find yourself in some island hide-away or on some isolated beach somewhere.  Drinking a frosty adult beverage, watching the local wildlife and their mating rituals, or even participating in them (if you are not married.)

Then, like the proverbial splash of cold water after you get out of the dry sauna… you are back at work.

Walking back into work after having a few days off usually puts people like me into and instant bad or sour mood.  I have also been known to take out my dissatisfaction about being back at work on others.

Then you reach your desk.  If the process of returning to work itself was not traumatic enough, then getting to your desk is that point where you start reconsidering that idea of running off and joining a circus somewhere and making lion taming your chosen profession, or, as in my case, that I should have been a plumber.

Usually, upon returning to your desk, you immediately see that not only did the world NOT stop turning while you were gone, but neither did the emails stop coming in out of respect for your decision to take time off.  Voicemail is there in droves to prove that people were not willing to accept your desire to take a little “me” time, and the pile on your desk looks very much like the paperwork fairie took a crap on your desk.

All in all, the return from a good vacation is very hard on the spirit.  You are getting a little glimpse of what you hope is your future, when you eventually get to that golden time called, dare I say… Retirement.  Then you are thrust back into the real life of work, deadlines, expenses, problems, solutions, etc…

So…  once again at work, what do we start doing with our free time?  Planning for the next vacation, and where we will go on that one.  Always looking for someplace new and exciting, or… as in my case… someplace that has lots to see and little to do with other people short of ordering food, talking or otherwise spending time with my wife, playing with the dogs or walking where there are few other people.

Man… I hope my lotto number come up soon…  Retirement is still too far away.

Big Foot

One of my favorite hobbies, when at a PC, these days, is playing with Google Earth. It is truly a fascinating program and so full of information and detail, that I am not sure you can really run out of things to look at or for. Interestingly enough, it was one of my discoveries on G-Earth that lead me to write this post.

Bigfoot.

In my G-Travels, I have noticed that there are many many places through out California that Bigfoot was supposedly seen.

If we are to believe that there have been so many people that have run into this mystical beast, then you would think that someone, somewhere, would have captured a picture that is clear and easy to tell that what we are looking at. Instead, the only photos that do come out are either taken as such a distance that you cannot tell what you are looking at, or they are so fuzzy that you cannot tell if you are looking at a map/ape type creature or a bowl of ground beef that has been in the fridge for a couple months.

When I posed this argument to a friend once, he said that the reason the photos are of bad quality is probably because the person was scared. I can accept that in some of the cases, but not all. I would have to think that if a photographer sees Bigfoot, then there is also something else he sees… in his mind. That would be dollar signs. I would think that the first photographers that bring in clear, unaltered pictures of something along the lines of Bigfoot, will be making a trip to the bank to deposit a nice sized check.

I am not discounting the possible existence of Bigfoot. I have lived long enough to understand that there are still things about planet Earth that we do not know. We are always finding new species of animals and plants. There will always be new discoveries to be made and I am sure that there is still a lot out there to be discovered and, as humans have a tendency to do, to be exploited.

I do have to think about how funny it is that something like this has made it’s way into out pop culture. I can recall all the silly shows that were on when I was a kid that dealt with Bigfoot. Though my favorite had to be the episode of the Six Million Dollar man, where he fights Bigfoot. I have done you the courtesy of adding a clip.

OK… Looking back on it now, I will be the first to admit that our TV choices in the 70s were not the best. But hey, I liked it at the time, and I would never miss an episode of the Six Million Dollar Man.

But this show helps to show the place that we put things like Big Foot then, and in listening to shows like Coast to Coast, which used to be Coast to Coast with Art Bell, you see that there still are people out there that follow things like this. I would hazard to guess, though, that maybe 90% of the people that call into programs like that are simply looking for some attention or their 15.

As I said earlier, I do think there is a lot out there that we have not seen yet, and maybe we should not. Face it, there is no doubt that when we find something new, we always seem to find new and exciting ways to exploit, destroy or molest it to death. I am sure the same would be true if a Big Foot type creature.

In reality, it is probably a roving band of people suffering from Hypertricosis and coincidentally have unusually large feet. They are simply looking for a razor, delousing facility and a really large foot bath.

Always a great day on the coast!

I love the coast. Were I a wealthy man, I would like to live on the coast.

I know that for many of you, living on the coast brings thoughts of a big fancy house on or near the beach, that is only a stones throw from the sand and you can wander out and take a dip before each meal.

Not for me.

First off, I am not a big swimmer. I can swim to save my life, if needed, and that is about it. I will sit and do my impersonation of a potato and stew in a hot tub, and I might, occasionally, sit in a pool.

No… I would not want a big house or lots of land on the coast. I would just want a good old Lighthouse. It would have to be a fully functioning light house that had a real 2nd or 3rd order fresnel lens set, and would actually require me to work on it from time to time. Oiling gears to keep the lenses rotating. Making sure that the fog horn is working. That kind of stuff.

The reason I think I like the coast the most though is the people. You really do not find this as much in the larger, touristy cities, but in the smaller towns that are a little more off the beaten path, you see a nicer group of people. Especially in areas where the people still carve a little of their living out of the sea. I think you see this more in the east coast and on the northwest coast. For the most part I will not count any of the California beaches. There are a few pretty Californian beaches, but I think that Californians treat the beaches much the same way someone might treat a twenty dollar hooker. Use it, mess it up, don’t clean up after yourself and leave it dirtier than you found it. Sorry for any visual that might have created, but of all the beaches I have seen, ours have to be the worst.

There does seem to be a certain “feel” in small coastal towns. I cannot say electricity I also cannot say that they are all laid back. There just seems to be this “expectation” of things to come. A good local, to me, example is the town of San Simeon. It is still a little too touristy for me, but it still has enough of that feel that I am talking about. When you are there and eat at one of the restaurants, you can tell that the people that live or work there are not entirely jaded to the fact that they are a sleepover town to a tourist trap, meaning Hearst Castle. They are genuinely nice and willing to talk with you, at length, about almost anything.

In reality, as I alluded to in my opening comment, a house on the coast, let alone a lighthouse, is beyond my means at this point in life. There is no chance that I will be a lighthouse keeper any time soon. But I will continue to visit lighthouses and dream about them. The wife and I will continue to make our pilgrimages to the coast and enjoy that as well.

There is just SOMETHING about the coast…

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