Posts Tagged ‘work’

Closing Argument, For The Time Being!

June 16, 2017

This might be one of the hardest post to write. Its duty is to fill you in on the reason for what has been the longest absence I have taken from Aluna’s Travel the World blog since we started this amazing journey almost exactly eight years ago. Change is in the air! Big change!

Almost to the date eight years ago Aluna set out to sea under the Golden Gate Bridge that connects the city of San Francisco with the Marine County headlands to the north. It was with a deep disdain for the global corporate culture of consumption that this daredevil adventure had been set in motion and a good six of those eight years have been spent away from it all, or at least so we tried to kid ourselves. We have seen, lived and learned an unmeasurable lot and the most pertinent conclusion of it all is that there is no away from it all anymore. The culture of plastic wrapped and artificially and exaggeratedly sweetened goods has reached the gloomy eyes of every lone inhabitant of even the most remote little spec of land on our aching planet Earth. There is no sense anymore in running away!

There are reasons of personal finances too, but those are not the actual mover of things as we like to conclude with ever suspicious haste. Our batteries are charged, our vision is clear, it’s time to go in and work the system from the inside. I have accepted a teaching position at a Waldorf School in Switzerland, and we will be living in Langnau im Emmental for the next couple of years, far far away from the soothing swashing of the surf, hoping to instill some of the much-needed love of life in the next generation, who will have to find ways to deal with the big mess ours has created.

But this is by no means the end of Aluna’s travel. We were amongst the many options toying with the idea of outright selling her, but her uniqueness does not make that an easy undertaking. Storing her here in Australia for such an extended period also does not make any sense at all. We would pay an outrageous amount of money pretty much to have her slowly rot away under the tropical sun. By fortunate coincidence some German sailing friends we have met a couple of years ago in Tonga and then again in New Zealand, ever since they sold their small sailboat and returned to Stuttgart, had voiced interest in Aluna in sporadic spurts of electronic communication. Sophie and her Trinidadian partner Junior, in the meantime proud parents of two beautiful kids, have just last week booked a long haul flight this coming September from Germany to Brisbane. They will be taking Aluna on a run to New Caledonia and Vanuatu to celebrate their very own escape from the lands of consumption and along the way provide their offspring with the perfect opportunity to see a good bit of the real world out there, where fear can be embraced as the vociferous pointer it is towards the very lands of freedom.

I might sporadically continue to babble on here on this blog for a good bit more. There are many open ends to be tied up here, about the meaning of it all when looking back, about the spurts of continuous upgrades to Aluna’s fitness for aquatic life done here between those two concrete piles in the Brisbane river, about our half year spent in Australia without sighting a single koala bear nor kangaroo, and of course about the strongly resonating echoes of our extensive travelling that will most certainly illuminate our temporary return amongst the settlers of houses, those badly built boats so firmly aground that you cannot think of moving them.


How Time Becomes Money

January 30, 2013

So I’ve abandoned you all and dedicated my focus and attention to such mundane tasks as feeding the cruising kitty, so it can meow again and provide nourishment for future reporting about less mundane adventures. I do consider myself really fortunate when contemplating how little of my time has to be spent with the truly alienating activity of getting some hard currency coming our way. Living a simple life, where less is most often more, repair and reuse has subdued discard and replace, little is usually enough, healthy effort unsettles lazy comfort, yesterdays regrets and tomorrows uncertainties are welcome guests, and smiles and generosity has silenced guilt and greed, it makes each penny go a long way. A sturdy Swiss upbringing also helps to ease the itches and imaginary pains of the frugal regime. But when time comes to bite the bullet, there is no silver bullet for making it through the machinery of competitive economics and the silver lining is horrendously thin.

I apply my skills to provide a service to a fellow man in need and agree with him on a numerical value that service demands. He then digs into his pocket and extracts papers with numbers of commonly agreed abstract value. Once my service is complete he hands me those papers and we part with a handshake, both better off than before. Why does it all leave a strange mixed feeling behind, a long lingering aftertaste? I guess in the small, on the micro scale the economy of exchange, helping each other out, giving and receiving goods, using and providing services, feeding and cuddling each other is all healthy and good. Direct contact eliminates most trickery and pitfalls are obvious enough and easily avoided. As long as you don’t ask too many questions…

Then there’s the question of supply and demand. It certainly pays to be at the right place at the right time. The massive conglomeration of cruising boats in such a small place is mind-boggling. They have descended in drones into the higher latitudes, driven a little by reason and a lot by insurance mandates, escaping the treacherous tropics with their furious rotating storms but also in pit stop mode after having lurched for long across a big vast blue with little specs of land and frail to non-existent supply chains for all those parts. Those many parts that are needed to keep the complicated machinery in motion that grants the level of consumer comfort. Cold beer, satellite phones, radar domes, electric winches, frozen steaks, microwaves, ice cubes, water makers, backup generators, autopilots, computer screens, bread machines, internet hogs, sump pumps, ice cream sorbet, air conditioning, nifty navigation electronics, the list just self-replicates endlessly and continues on and on. Just figure all that can go wrong and you get an idea of the buzzing and bustling service industry the springs to life for six months of every year here at the upper end of the Veronica Channel.

Once it has grown to be an industry it is no longer a question of face-to-face deals and handshakes. Prices go up, tempers flare, expectations clash, stress builds, quality suffers, fairness fades, insurance rules, trust rots, payments default, credit swaps, deadlines loom and before you know it there’s my golden opportunity. Personal, friendly service, competitive price, let’s get it done attitude, immediate availability, cut through the crap efficiency, it’s all part of the marketing! So I’ve repaired water tanks, installed vents, patched gel coat, painted windlasses, oiled teak linings, fiberglassed broken life raft covers, reinstalled heads, closed stuck sea cocks, waxed topsides, designed a canoe sailing rig and many more little things.

Now the work seems to have tapered off and it might be time to head out and do some exploring of the many nooks and crannies of the coastline, watch the busy birds and lazy fish, count the rocks and climb the cliffs, listen to the siren’s song and take a peek at the mermaids basking under the midday sun on a slither of seaweed covered rock.