(it’s true most of this was written on 5 August on the train – but I could not get a signal strong/long enough to even insert the images, much less post the article. So – I’m actually posting this on 9 August. I’ll catch up on days 69 – 71 (today) before getting to current stuff.)
This morning my daughter got up HOURS early to provide transportation to the Train Station in Emeryville, CA. I’m making the first leg of travel with a very dear friend going back 45 years. Heavy traffic in the Oakland area (as usual), then to a totally unfamiliar procedure at the Amtrak Train Station, and we finally got on board! The next 2 ½ days we will take the California Zephyr train to Chicago!
This map shows day (red) and night (blue) sections of the route – We departed from Oakland (on the far left) and went to Chicago (In the middle – kind of the “hub”). The photos later of the woods were taken in the first red area of that route, California and Nevada.
The train is SOOOO relaxing! I have a “roomette” to myself, which has ample room for one, sufficient room for two, and the chairs fold out into a comfortable twin size bed.
I just sit and watch the world go by at a leisurely pace! Delightful. And soporific – I nap, and nap, and doze, and then get tired of dozing so I nap again. This first day I’m not “practiced” on photos and what might be interesting, so I’ll just post a few photos and images taken along the way. I sent a friend in Namibia some video with a little audio when I first got started, and his comment was “You sounded really tired!” And he’s right. Day 1 of this trip is trying to decompress.
Some views and video taken from Oakland to just entering Nevada (daytime, day 1 of this trip).
One thing strikes me immediately – the sheer size of the economy in this country as opposed to Namibia. When we go through towns, the STUFF I see – numbers of cars, campers, stores, junk, infrastructure, roads, buildings, businesses – etc. etc. etc. It is no wonder people from many countries see the USA as a land of opportunity. The poverty, homelessness and desperation that are present in almost every society are here also – but the riches and abundance tend to overwhelm them when viewed from the outside.
I’ve lived in Namibia for over six years and have experienced the very, very poor to the very, very rich and most things in between. I’ve not seen a single societal characteristic or behavior that I haven’t also seen in the USA. But the economy is so vast it can easily overwhelm being able to see the all-too-human aspects of the culture here.
Now I’m going to veg out and try to be ready to experience an entire day, tomorrow.
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Whew! Thanks to my friend Tim – enormous thanks! – the interior of my boat is now empty, clean and in presentable condition. Photos below. The exterior needs to be power washed and it will look at LOT better, then.
“Inspiration” is 13 meters long (42 feet), sits 2 meters (6 ft 4 in) deep in the water (to the bottom of the keel), and weighs 11,566 kgs (25,500 pounds). I am 1.9 meters tall (6 ft 3 in) and can walk anywhere in the interior without bumping my head.
The interior is looking so nice I’m seriously considering keeping the boat, putting it back in the water, and using it as a second home for when I’m in the USA. The issue is money, of course. It is MUCH more expensive to keep a 2nd home, even a boat, in the USA than it is to keep a home in Namibia. I am still considering the options. I start travelling “for real” the first week in August, and will be in a better position to decide come the end of August or September. COVID is so bad in Namibia right now that I’m not in a hurry to return and, fortunately, have options. But I will go back home to Namibia at some point.
For those of you who have been wondering about this boat/home I talk about so much – the following will give you an idea of what “Inspiration” is like. It has been out of the water (as you see it here) for 6.5 years while I’ve been in Namibia. It needs a lot of work to the rigging before it could be ready for open ocean sailing again.
And the interior – before and after/now:
Finally, it’s a (poor) photo of the boat photograph above the nav station, but for the moment it’s the best picture I have of “Inspiration” under sail in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Bay – 1989.
This was my home for 25 years, and may be again when I’m in the USA.
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This is an update – minimal photos and clarifying some things.
I was a bit surprised to hear that “word is out” I have left Oranjemund for good. Not true. I am gone for a minimum of three months (through August, now probably September) and plan to be back to Namibia at some point. A friend is living at my house for the duration. Why would I leave permanently just as I was given Permanent Residence Status? Odd that I didn’t hear from anyone directly asking.
My goal for June and July is continuing to move forward. I’m attaching a few photos of my boat/home for the 25 years before I moved to Namibia in 2015. These are “Before/After25/Now” photos. By the end of July, I plan to have it listed for sale and then will have nothing in the USA that I own other than a few items of memorabilia in storage with a friend.
Before- When I bought the boat in 1989, it was named “Inspiration”.
After25 – “Inspiration” prepared to go into storage in April 2015 filled with literally everything I owned.
Now – as of 11 July. All the household goods stored on the inside are sold or otherwise disposed of. I’m still cleaning and prepping the interior, and the exterior will be cleaned before the end of next week most likely.
I’ve also been visiting friends and my daughter, and taking care of loads of stuff that can only be done here in the USA.
Starting the first week of August I depart this area and start travelling in earnest.
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I have been back in the USA four weeks, today. And it has been a busy, tiring, emotional, relaxing, and very worth while month. I think I have been able to isolate one, possibly THE one, reason I don’t post more often. I feel like I need to write a complete history with all context bringing me to this point before I can say what I want to say. Those of you who have spent any time conversing with me will recognize this (unfortunate?) tendency. Seems overwhelming.
This last month has been largely about adjusting to my change in conditions with the overriding goal of getting all of my non-Namibian household goods out of my boat/home for the past 30 years and sold or otherwise disposed of. Yesterday was the target day – and it’s done! There was a Marine Flea Market at Napa Valley Marina in California (my boat’s dry land home for the past six+ years). My daughter, Lara, her mom, Dana, my friend Tim and Lara’s friend Quinn, all showed up at ungodly early hours and helped with the selling and displaying. It was a LOT of stuff! Naturally, taking a picture didn’t even occur to me until I was collapsing onto the bed after we all had a nice, late, lunch as a thank you to them, and I got back to my BnB “home” in Vallejo.
With the exception of one car full of minor stuff I’ll drop off at Dana’s house tomorrow, I now own almost nothing still in the USA other than my boat – and that will be taken care of in July. Lara and Dana, and Tim, took a LOT of stuff home most of which will be sold at a flea market in Sausalito by Lara and Dana but they wanted it that way because they can possibly make some money out of it. And I hope they do. It is no longer my issue.
Also on my agenda for June was taking care of my health. I’ve been the Veteran’s Administration hospital about eight times, mostly for routine checks but I also had cataract surgery on my right eye about 10 days ago. Things are going well, and I’ll have the left eye done in about 3 weeks. The VA is being absolutely fantastic! They want to get me all fixed up before I leave the USA again, wherever I go. So they are pushing the surgery scheduling to make sure I’m in good shape before leaving the area.
Speaking of schedules, as of now it looks like I’ll still take the California Zephyr (train) to Chicago the first week of August, then run around visiting friends in Wichita and Milwaukee for about 10 days. Then a high school friend with whom I have been in sporadic contact for the past 54 years will meet me in Chicago and we’re taking the Empire Builder (train) from Chicago to Seattle. I’ll bang around Seattle for a while, then go back to the San Francisco area to have my left eye surgery checked and take care of some other stuff, then depart SF again around 27 August to go back to the Northwest and either cross Canada W-E (train) if Canada will allow visitors by then (unlikely from my current viewpoint) or I may take a ferry to Alaska for a few weeks. I’m not sure what will come after that.
Friends in Namibia are being seriously, and directly, impacted by the COVID spike there. It’s really sad. I’m glad I’m not there at the moment, but wish I could be closer for my friends who are suffering. It is seriously not good in Namibia right now.
Trying to make sense of the world, and of humanity, is so challenging. Oddly I feel I’m reaching a place of peace with it all in spite of the disruptions, struggles, and tragedy. It all seems to be coalescing into some changes in how I’m approaching life that feel deeply like they are going to end up in a very positive space.
Rather than try to explain what I mean by that now – and be on the keyboard for hours – I’m going to post this, and (now that my household goods and major doctor’s appointments are dealt with) try to post more often.
For those of you who wants photos, here are a few. Fair warning, however, I have always tended to value personal experience more than photographs, so I’ll do what I can and try to be better and more visually interesting as time goes on!
Until next time!
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