December 6, 1997
Goleta, California, USA
You will never guess where I am resting my head tonight. Im at Bobs house back in Goleta, west of Santa Barbara. I took a two hour train ride here from LA this afternoon, so Bob and his son Tellef could help me work on my web site. It would have cost me a fortune if I had to pay someone in the LA area to do it. They are helping just as a favor. I knew something good was going to happen .
Since getting back from the Black Canyon, Ive just been adding bits and pieces to this journal whenever I have time. The following weekend after the Black Canyon, I was invited to go rock climbing in Joshua Tree with Dirk, but the plans fell through when rain was expected, so I ended up joining Len and Madeline and their family for Thanksgiving dinner.
That same evening, I picked up a book published by National Geographic called Men.. Ships and the Seas. In the book, I found a six page summary of the story Dove, about a 16 year old boy who sailed solo around the world in a 25 foot boat in the seventies. Several people had mentioned this guys journey to me, so I was eager to read more about it.
Different people often recommend books to me. Two other books that have been suggested are, Into the Wild, and Maiden Voyage. Into the Wild(so Ive been told) is about a young guy who after graduating from university, spends the next few years paddling around on the waterways of Canada and the US, and living by his own means, then dies in the end. Maiden Voyage(So Ive been told) is along the same story lines as Dove, excect its about a girl sailing around the world solo. As much as I would like to check out these books, I have trouble finding time to write down my own story, let alone read about other peoples.
In the past week, I have also taken on a couple projects around Lens house to earn my keep. I spent a day building a kayak storage rack for Lens two kayaks, and another day replacing the suspended celling in his garage. If I stay at someones home for any longer than a couple days, I start to feel guilt, and look for things to do to help out. I thoroughly enjoyed designing and building the kayak rack. However, what I most often do, is wash the dishes - something I dont enjoy, but do it anyway because it helps to take the guilt away. Im quite sure I have done more dishes in the last five months, than I have in my whole life while at home(there are eight people in my family, and no dish washer).
I went to my first ever Yoga class this morning with Len, and Madeline. I intended to spend ten minutes stretching every morning while on this journey, but havent done it once until now. The class took place in a dance studio. The lights were off. The sound of a flute danced slowly in the back ground. Only Len, Madeline, Madelines sister Phyllis, and myself were in the class. We spent the majority of the class on our Therma-rest pads, taking long deep breaths, while moving our bodies to instructors tranquil... almost hypnotic voice.
After fifty minutes of stretching, she asked us to lay on our backs, with our eyes shut, as she painted a picture of total relaxation in our minds. "Imagine you are lying on a raft in the middle of a perfectly calm lake... Now relax..." She prompted, "And let all tension flow from your toes..."
I imagined myself on top of a Mayan Temple, overlooking the ruins of Uxmal at daybreak. That is where the music took me. It seemed a long ways from the constant rumble of traffic flowing through the streets of LA, which occasionally brought me back to reality. Im glad to know that Uxmal really does exist. Who knows... maybe some day I will do Yoga at dawn over Uxmal.
A few hours ago, while waiting for Bob to pick me up at the train station, I met a guy named Arthur, and his dog Honey - a scrawny Lab, wearing a Stars and Stripes bandana around his neck. Arthur looked to be around 50 years old. He had a ratty old backpack, and a sleeping bag fastened to it with shoe laces. I asked him where he was heading.
"San Francisco." he answer.
"Whats that cost?" I inquired.
"Nothing," he replied. "Im walking."
"Wow! Thats a long walk! Do you hitch-hike?"
"No," he shook his head. "Ya dont see much when youre driving."
I instantly had a vast amount of respect for this man, and wanted to hear his story.
Arthur began with, "I started traveling back in 1983, after waking up from a coma."
"How did you get in the coma?" I asked.
"I was in a car crash, and flew through the windshield. I also lost my left eye."
"So what made you want to travel?"
"Working all the time sucks!. I just want to be free. But... I never ask to get anything for free. I work when I need to."
I could see pride returning to the old mans face.
I knelt down and patted Honeys head. "Where have you been?"
"Ive been everywhere." Arthur replied.
"How many times have you been across the USA?"
"Maybe eight times."
"Why are you going to San Francisco?"
"Im going to work at a print shop."
"How did you get the job?"
"I met a girl while I was drawing on my sketch pad at the beach. She asked me if Id come work for her."
"What other jobs have you had?"
"Ive worked on farms, shrimp boats, crab boats, washed dishes, painted houses... you name it... Ive done it. I wouldnt trade those experiences for anything."
I connected with Arthur. Departing the station felt as though I was leaving behind a friend.