A couple of times recently interviewers have asked me about how, after 11 years in the office, I reinvented myself as an explorer. I've had to confess that I don't regard myself as an explorer - maybe an adventurer, at best.
Explorers, surely, are the ones who have pushed back the frontiers of human knowledge about the planet on which we live, who have forged new trails where none have been before, who have stepped off the edge of the known world into the unknown.
Or maybe there is a new kind of explorer. Now that the world is mostly mapped, and the only new frontiers are the depths of the ocean or the wonders of outer space, maybe we need a different kind of exploration - an exploration of the human spirit, to rediscover of how we should live.
It seems that we have lost our way - we no longer know how to eat without getting fat or suffering eating disorders, how to enjoy the fruits of the earth without raping the planet, how to be happy with what we have, or how to live in a sustainable and fulfilling way. Ancient people knew all these things, but we've got so caught up in our egos and our technology and our agri-business that we've forgotten our fundamental life lessons.
So maybe we need spiritual explorers, who will help guide us back to a better way of life.
A friend sent me the link to this video of a Smirnoff commercial - a film of the sea spitting back at us all the junk that we've dumped into it over the centuries. If only it could....
One of the comments on my last blog (about Quackers the Yellow Truck being up for sale) asked what would happen with my boat once I have finished the Pacific - and why would I not need to ever tow it again. This raises an interesting possibility.
My point was that it is unlikely that my boat and my truck will ever be on the same continent again. As my boat heads westwards around the world, it is not really feasible to ship Quackers - much as I would love to! In an ideal world, Quackers would come along too, to spend time in Hawaii and Australia, before maybe coming on a big land-based adventure with me across Asia.
I cannot imagine a vehicle better suited to an Asian adventure. There is something about a bright yellow truck that seems to make people smile.
There is also the issue of shipping my boat trailer. It was lovingly customized to fit my rowboat by Continental Trailers in Florida, and it seems a shame to leave it behind in California (where it is useless) rather than bring it to Hawaii (where it would be very useful).
But shipping is a costly business. So if anybody knows a shipping company who would like to sponsor one needy ocean rower....
[photo: Quackers in Telluride, Colorado, for Mountainfilm in May this year]
The time has come for me to part with my beloved yellow truck, Quackers. I first saw him on a rain-soaked dealership forecourt in Portland, Oregon. He had a flat tyre and a flat battery and looked rather sorry for himself. But he has turned out to be an absolute star performer.
We have travelled the length and breadth of the US together, driving from Oregon to Florida to collect my boat, and then towing the boat back to San Francisco. Although I try not to become attached to material possessions, I have to confess to a major soft spot for my Quackers.
But I really can't justify keeping him any longer. Once my boat and I depart for Hawaii, there will be no more boat-towing to be done and I won't need such a large vehicle if I come back to visit the mainland US. A smaller rental would be much more appropriate.
And so it is with much sadness that I am putting him up for sale. Thanks, Quackers, it's been a great adventure.
For Sale: 2001 Ford Ranger, yellow. Full details and price in downloadable file (Kelley Blue Book Report) on the downloads page
Photo album - happy memories!