Cloud 8 is a train car, with my feet on the sill of a gigantic window, a bottle of wine beside me, and my chromebook in my lap.
I did it. I left my life. I abandoned normalcy, convention, and some would say sanity. I am leaping head first into the adventure I have dreamed of all my life and never truly believed I able to experience.
Job chucked, all contracts closed out, and belongings pared down to two backpacks, a bicycle, and my favorite coffee cup, I have boarded a train for North Carolina to meet Kelly, Bruce, and Un-Accounted For (the sailboat) to begin living the dream.
I discovered the forgotten pleasures of train travel when I hopped on Amtrak to visit a friend while I was living in New Orleans a couple years ago. That day I found the upstairs lounge compartment with its swivel chairs and loveseats facing windows that began at my knees and curved up the wall and into the roof of the train car. There were little personal tables, electrical outlets, and downstairs a snack bar that offered hummus and full sized bottles of red wine. I had hours of semi-solitude and peace to simply enjoy the view and capture my thoughts on paper. It was bliss.
So, with the added bonus of being able to easily bring along my travel backpack and mountain bike, I of course snagged this opportunity to enjoy another train ride as the first leg of my amazing adventure. Kelly said there would be room to secure my bike on the boat for easy transportation on the islands. Also, he scheduled a run to Jacksonville to take care of some things he needed to there and agreed to pick me up at the train station. Perfect.
So here I sit, on Cloud 8. I would call it Cloud 9, but I’m on way to get on boat and sail off into the Caribbean… the clouds have suddenly become relative.
I can’t stop smiling.
The day after the legendary video chat was the beginning of my “weekend” so I dashed out a resignation letter, gathered my uniforms and keys and dumped the lot on my boss’ desk. I briefly and un-gently informed her that though I was leaving now because my dreams had come true, the leaving was inevitable to protect myself from having my soul completely sucked out and that if certain behaviors didn’t change, the place would soon become a one person business (ie utter failure). There was a fair amount of sputtered outrage behind me as I left that gigantic weight on my shoulders at the door and walked away into the sunshine to begin preparing for departure.
Equally happily, my landlord proved herself once again to be one of the few non-sheisty-heartless-unethical bastards out there. I’d been a good tenant for over a year so was on a month to month lease, so she simply wished me well and even did my walk-through before I left, handing me a check for my security deposit refund as we said goodbye. She absolutely amazed me, and restored my faith a little in people. The last landlord I dealt with confirmed all the terrible rumors about inhuman landlords who cheat tenants out of their entire deposit knowing they don’t have the means or resources to fight them. So thanks to that precious lady, I have a little extra money of my own and won’t be buggered when I return from my journey. Not that it would have stopped me, I think I’d pretty much give up anything to go on this adventure.
I pocketed my check, grabbed what was left of my life after a bit of internet salesmanship and a run to Goodwill, and took a deep breath on my way to crash at a friend’s for one last night in the real world.
I am filled with the most beautiful blend of peace and wild excitement and plan to savor every moment of this decidedly bizarre leap I have made.
[post 6 of the Sailing Adventure, read the entire story here]