This year, I turn 35. There's a song by Jimmy Buffett called "A Pirate Looks At Forty." Most people would recognize the opening line, "Mother, Mother, Ocean… I have heard you call." Looking back on the past 5 years and how quickly things have changed, I can't help but feel that forty is quickly approaching. "Forty?!?" some of my readers undoubtedly scoff… "Youngster!" Given the fact that my dad is the first in a long line to make it past 55 (and suffered a near-fatal stroke at 55!), my odds of longevity are pretty slim. I am at or past my midlife, without the sufficient income to invest in my own midlife crisis.
Since my early teens, my mind has been cluttered by images from Jimmy Buffett songs. Since my late twenties, my mind has been sufficiently cluttered with images from Jimmy Buffett's books. "Where is Joe Merchant?" rambled a bit, but I still could picture flats-fishing and chasing the ghost of a long-lost rock-star. Tales From Margaritaville had a particular impact on my psyche, growing my appreciation for Hemmingway's frame of mind. I'd swear that Buffett was on an Ernest Hemmingway high when he wrote that book. A Pirate Looks at Fifty made me realize that the world really isn't that big, and there are some incredible adventures just a sea-plane ride away. A Salty Piece Of Land was pretty inspiring, making me realize that I could own a sea-plane.
Yes, I have read each Buffett book and loved each one. No apologies here. I like the opportunity of putting down books like "Windows Communication Foundation Hands On" (a fantastic book, but noticeably lacking in plot and character depth) to enjoy something with the attention span appeal of a People Magazine article. John Grishom is a great writer, but I prefer to read something about some remote part of Timbuktu in my downtime as opposed to a Memphis courtroom. Buffett books fit that niche fantastically, covering more remote parts of the Hurricane Strip than The Weather Channel.
Buffett's book, A Pirate Looks At Fifty, particularly grabbed my attention. I couldn't help but picture myself in the pilot seat of a Grumman Albatross, circling portions of the equator. There are images in my head from that book that just won't go away, like looking for the perfect fishing hole while standing on the wing of my own plane in salt water.
For years now, I've told my wife that, one day, we would give up all of this corporate life b.s., buy a sturdy boat, and run charters off some marlin-polluted coast.
I don't honestly know how serious I am about running charters. I really think it would be incredible, and a much better lifestyle that I would enjoy, but I think the extremity of income levels would have a negative impact on my marriage. Given that these charters can run for an exorbitant amount of money per day, the only surefire way of sustaining any semblance of our current lifestyle would require familiarity with regional fishing holes that no other charter could equal. And given that I plan on starting this career quite late in life, I seriously doubt my ability to drive this on my own.
The idea of running charters was tested today when I fumbled through Julia Lerman's blog to find Markus Egger's blog on traveling. No, I am not so much into Geo Caching, but the thought of visiting Pompeii, Austria, the Greek Islands, or Switzerland is just an amazing concept to me. Just look at the fantastic pictures that Markus has posted… you can't help but thing, "I'd love to see that first-hand." Not sure if the life of a charter-boat owner would support seeing that many fantastic sites.
I have got to find my way to an island somewhere where I can get Tequila at 10am and Coronas just cold enough to numb your arm as the bottle rests against you in the hammock. Maybe that would temporarily cure my mid-life crisis.
Want to go where buffet wrote 'Tales'? Spend a long weekend in Cedar Key, FL drinking at the Sea Breeze and the Island Hotel. BTW, if you _really_ wanted the coast thing, Melbourne isn't that close from Orlando, where you do spend some time. Want some real estate ads?