It’s time for a welcome change of scenery again from sunny but overcrowded South Florida as usfman and his wife make final preparations to spend the next 4 months in our newly retired life as wandering fools. Our first leg of this journey will begin on April 17, when we embark on a 21 day cruise from Houston, Texas to Southampton, England.
Looking at the travel schedule, an immediate challenge for me arises with the fact that twelve of these cruise days will be spent at sea. Slow days are not my norm for sure given I spend so much of my time at home paying homage to the sensory overload of my digital devices, social media connections and middle class survival ideals. Clearly, a new thinking paradigm will be needed if I am to gear down to this slower pace of long distance cruising.
Imagine myself then enraptured in the uninterrupted awareness of the present moment, concentrating my sight, sound, smell … more fully now. Ponder the mere presence of blue skies or the refreshing smell of the seaside as a way to engender my creative juices. Or perhaps consider the brief glimpse of a dorsal fin amidst foamy waters as evidence of a great monster in the depths below. Will this danger spark new courage in the face of my deepest fears? Do not ever underestimate the nothingness of open sea, as I sink into meditative mindfulness of each passing wave.
There is no logic to waste time though in endless thought without according action. Game on then with the following rules. For every day of my three week voyage, I must perform a corresponding, quality experience to stay in the unobstructed now” moment of time.
1. Find non – threatening situations to converse in a new language.
2. Draw something to your heart’s content without judging its personal or practical value.
3. Blog write in different sites around the ship to foster emotional connection.
4. Play a long game of chess to exercise your analytical mind.
5. Feel free to “pace like a cat” on the top deck when restlessness
overtakes your mind.
6. Hang out inside a jazz club and feel the creative spirit of improvisation.
7. Enjoy the nostalgic feel of writing an intimate, paper letter again to a loved one.
8. Discard a watch and learn to tell time by the position of the passing sun.
9. Wear a new kind of clothing fashion to coincide with a new self-image intention.
10. Watch an entire movie with no interruption.
11. Wake up your meditative spirit with yoga mat time.
12. Walk off the boat at a scheduled port of call with an unplanned excursion strategy.
13. Nap in silence without guilt in the ship library.
14. Walk the stairs to remedy “cabin fever” and to gain exercise.
15. Be mindful about new cultures you encounter and reciprocate with them in a respectfully similar way.
16. Complete a long, crossword or jigsaw puzzle in its entirety.
17. Take observational notes for an upcoming travel novel you plan to write.
18. Learn to drink tea rather than coffee. Experiment with
different leaf flavors.
19. Carrying my I Pod for musical concentration, exhibit new behaviors of patience to accompany my wife on shopping binge moments.
20. Talk to a “cool” musician about a favorite gig.
21. Shoot some hoops with no desire to re-awaken my competitive nature.