The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Blackbirds Leaving Me Behind

“To know how to free oneself is nothing; the arduous thing is to know what to do with one’s freedom”

- Andre Gide

Stole this quote from Alex at Project Bluesphere, but I did pay to download one of his video clips as a way of saying thank you. The funny thing is that although many people are lusting to be in his situation - living on a sailboat in exotic places - they would most likely become bored stiff and miserable within 2 or 3 weeks.

I think I'll write an essay about the above quote someday. For now I'm going to write about blackbirds and fireplaces. It's important because I'll want to read it when I'm 80 and have nothing better to do.

The blackbird migration has begun. At first I thought they were forming a huge flock and getting ready to fly south, but then I realised that dozens of thousands of blackbirds couldn't just have popped out of nowhere overnight.

They've flown from somewhere farther north and stopped for a breather. I'd also guess that they pick up smaller flocks as they fly on their route to some warmer climate. Lucky birds.

Anyway, huge flocks of birds were flying everywhere and all I got was this photograph showing a couple of hundred of them on the wing (I was driving). Obviously, you'll have to take my word for it. It was quite the sight and reminded me of Hitchcock's movie "The Birds".

migrating blackbirds
Migrating Blackbirds
I wish I was going south with them (on the boat of course). Instead I stayed home and lit up the fireplace. The weather changed from a balmy day to a chilly night pretty quick, if you consider 10º C chilly. To maintain the tradition, I once more apologise to all the Swedes, Icelanders, Norwegians, Russians (you bet, I got Russian readers too...or maybe they just look at the pictures and daydream) who are freezing their butts off somewhere in tundra land.

Fireplace and thermometer - 15º C is way too cold for me.

Another fact I have to clarify is that, by looking at this and other pictures, you may suspect that I'm wealthy or a least well off. Nonsense! I got a little deal going with the bank: as long I pay them a chunk of my income every month, they will let me live here. Mighty nice of them; mighty stupid of me. I should be living on my boat just messing around doing whatever I desire. More on that later.



  1. So are you renting from a bank or you own but have debt to a bank? I'll agree having debt is terrible if your dreams include activities that remove you from having income (like cruising usually). Its always a battle to free yourself from the bonds of systemic capitalism. Interestingly enough though, the same system that traps us, enables us once we break free.

    It reminds me of your stolen quote. Its true that the hard part is knowing what to do with freedom. If everyone knew... Nothing would ever get done.

    1. Hi Tate,
      It's the normal mortgage variety. You're absolutely right, we're living in a system that allows us to break free. I've tasted that freedom and I liked it...and I want it back. Then came this crisis.

      I believe that people are either emotionally equipped to handle freedom or not. Fortunately most are not, fortunately because, like you said, "nothing would ever get done."
      Emotion rules our world, not ideas.

  2. Here, on the west coast of Norway, it's -6 degrees outside & I haven't got a boat when it gets warmer! Cheer up, you lucky guy!

  3. PS) Good stuff, this blog of yours...

    1. Thanks Jarle

      -6 degrees! That reminds me of life back in Canada.
      You're right [cheer up], I'm beginning to sound like a complainer, like a Portuguee "Fado" singer.