October 12, 2009

Sailing Into The Uknown.

I love boats and ferries. I hate flying and I am not sure that I will ever board a plane again, but if someone asked me to pack my bags and sail around the world, I am ready in an a hour. Well, perhaps two. I would do it despite all the danger involved. To me this is a prospect of incredible, once in a lifetime adventure.

Today my mortgage prevents me from taking cruises, but every time the large cruise ships chose my city as their port, I can not help but stare at them in awe. These large resorts of the sea hold my fascination. I simply love the idea of going to sleep while on the open ocean and wake up in a new, exciting place. The transition is natural and gradual and my logic can grasp and understand it.
In fact, at one time, I considered an alternative way of travels aboard freighter ships. This is to me by far the most thrilling way of seeing the world. Furthermore, it offers opportunities of meeting people that are different, perhaps a bit eccentric, but definitely not mundane. Lots of writers and adventures chose this means of transportation.

I have a long history with the good old ferries. There used to be a multitude of them connecting the Scandinavian countries and even connecting the European North with the continent. But ever since the majestic super bridges were built, the ferries have become obsolete and many have gone out of business. Luckily, my city still has a large port accommodating ferries which sail on route between the Danish islands. I find this to be a comforting thought.

Perhaps the most eventful ferry crossing in my life took place in the August of 1980. I spend two days and two nights on a ferry that connected the city of Hamburg in Germany with the capital of Finland, Helsinki. This was one of the last parts of an adventurous trip, which started about four weeks prior in the former Yugoslavia. We were political refugees making our way through western Europe into Sweden. One can say that we were on the run, for lack of better words. The large ferry was taking us into our future and we were as scared as we were hopeful.

The black and white photograph of me, my sister and my father is taken by my mother aboard that large ship, that took us to Finland. The drawing was made by me, when I was siting on it's wide, deserted sun deck, watching the ocean and the freighter ships in the distance passing us by. Already then at such a young age, I was experiencing a sense of longing, mixed with a sense of adventure. But I was also anxious, a feeling that I sensed was consuming my parents at that time.
It took me decades to fully understand the sentiments and the distress, that the decisions to immigrate must have caused my parents. It takes courage and an incredible conviction to leap into the unknown. As the years passed by, I came to realize that in order to live fully, one has to dare to act, while maintaining the hope and the capability to dream, always embracing changes of the tides of time.

18 comments:

Hilary said...

A beautiful post, my friend. Your parents must have struggled to keep their anxiety from reaching the two of you but kidlets are so perceptive. You were a fine, young artist back then too. :)

I love a ferry boat too. They're becoming a thing of the past here as well.. so sad.

Cairo Typ0 said...

Lovely post, Protege. :) Your parents were brave to leave the known for an uncertain future. I'm no sure i could do the same...

Jill said...

I get a little education when I visit! I have LITTLE experience with boats and ferries.

The black and white photo is a TREASURE! Your sketch is terrific.

Hope your week goes well.

Sumandebray said...

I wonder why you do not like to fly ... I agree it is crammed and uncomfortable but I think this is the best mode to reach a destination ... but if one want to cherish the journey .. its a different story altogether!
For me I am not too comfortable with seeing water and only water for days together!

steviewren said...

I enjoyed reading the story of your family's travel to Finland. I'd like to hear more about why they choose to leave all they knew and start over again in a strange place.

Your love of ocean travel goes along beautifully with your romantic personality. Love the old photograph and your drawing.

Helen McGinn said...

That photograph is wonderful; I swear I can see all those emotions on your faces, particularly your fathers'.

I've been 'on the run' as a child but not in the same way, although I think I understand a little, just the same.

I used to sail but large boat like structures freak me out since having kids; I sat on The Waverley, the last paddle steamer in the UK which sails around Scotland, with the kids, practically holding on to them for dear life incase they fell overboard.I've only been like that since having kids. Sigh. :O)

Jacki said...

How very interesting to read about you and your childhood! I know I traveled a lot as a child, but it was because my dad was in the US Navy, not because we were "on the run" as you put it.

Cottage Garden said...

Your parents took a very brave step in setting out for a new life. Well done to them. I love the photo of you with your dad and sister and I can see you were an accomplished artist even then!

I agree with your preference of boats over flying any day, and since you mention travelling on freighers, a friend took this mode of transport a couple of years ago when he sailed from the UK to South Africa, a great adventure for him at the age of 65!

Jeanne x

Keith said...

Great post. I've flown a few times. Not really a pleasurable experience. I did go on one cruise. I loved it. I always thought it would be neat to take a trip across the Atlantic.

Claus said...

Changes are good. But changes are scary. I can only imagine what your family felt at the time, especially your parents. Probably not for them, but for you and your siblings and your future. So much courage!! Though there was a lot of hope, I'm sure there was also a lot of melancholy, and fear of the unknown and the future? I'm terrified of change. Little changes disturb me. Imagine such a huge one!

Michael Manning said...

A wonderful post and so well written. Reminds me of my Dad being the last child to come by ship from Bulgaria. He had so much courage as well. A Heartwarming post, Protege! :)

Holly said...

WOW!! I still think its fascinating and unbelievable that you have a true life "escape story". I love to hear of all of the adventures that have made you who you are today.

I love the ocean. I have only been on motor boats and a small ferry boat. I hope to board a big ship one day and go on a cruise. Hopefully I won't get sea sick.;)

Holly said...

Oh, forgot to mention how much I liked your drawing. It is so organic!!

Protege said...

=Hilary,
thank you.;) I think my parents experienced a difficult time then. Nothing was as they expected.
I recall when I sat on the ferry deck drawing that. It is funny when I see it, it feels like yesterday, but when I see the photograph of us, it feels like another lifetime.
Thank you for your always kind words.;)xo

=Cairo,
my sentiments exactly; I did my bit of relocating in the past, but today I am not up for it at all. Always glad when you stop by.;)xo

=Jill,
thank you for your kind comment; I hope likewise you are enjoy your special week.;)xo

=Sumandebray,
my fear of flying is a mixture of many aspects; bad experiences in the past and phobias. It developed over time. Because I always feel that the magic lies foremost in the journey, train, car and boat travel hold my absolute affection.;)
But of course, it requires time and money.;)
Always enjoy your great comments.;)

=stevie,
I am so flattered you find my life story interesting. I will make sure to dedicate a post in the future to why my family immigrated.
Thank you for your kind words always.;) xo

=Helen,
you being on the run as a child is something tat intrigues me.;)
I think I can understand your fear of ferries when you have children, You naturally worry about them all the time, and being on a ferry is connected to a certain danger.
Thank you for always taking the time to stop by, your visits are very appreciated.) xo

=Jacki,
I am sure you life as a child of a a military dad must have been very exciting as well. There is something that happens to a child that relocates a lot. Even if not being on the run.;)
Thank you for your kind comment.;) xo

=Jeanne,
thank you for your very kind words, you understand the significance of such a drastic change very well.
How interesting to hear about your friend traveling on freighters; yes, many people do travel this way when retiring. I always wanted to see south Africa, now you gave me hope.;) xo

=Keith,
glad to find a kindred soul.;) I am sure you can take a trip across on the QE2- or is Queen Mary that sails that route now?;)
Always love when you stop by.;)

=Claudia,
you are always so very kind in your comments.;) Thank you for taking the time to read all my posts.;)
I agree very much; change is scary. It is easy to go trough changes when we are young, but it becomes so difficult when we get older. I am not happy about big changes in my life these days.;)xo

=Michael,
I am sure your fathers story must have been a very interesting one, but it was indeed very difficult for him, I am sure. Thank you for your kind words, they mean a lot.;)

=Holly,
ah, always love when you stop by leaving the nicest comments.;) I am happy you enjoyed this little piece about the travels of my past. I hope one day you will be able to take a cruise; if the ocean is calm, no risk of being sea sick.;)
xo

Beverlydru said...

I love your descriptive narratives and the glimpes in to a childhood so different from mine. The commonality is parents who made us feel loved- the most important thing. This is so powerful "in order to live fully, one has to dare to act, while maintaining the hope and the capability to dream, always embracing changes of the tides of time."

Beverlydru said...

I love your descriptive narratives and the glimpes in to a childhood so different from mine. The commonality is parents who made us feel loved- the most important thing. This is so powerful "in order to live fully, one has to dare to act, while maintaining the hope and the capability to dream, always embracing changes of the tides of time."

sallymandy said...

As you commented back to Stevie Wren, I'm looking forward to seeing a post in the future about why your family immigrated. The little I know of your family history is fascinating.

Protege said...

=Beverly,
thank you so much for your kind comment; I am glad you found this post inspirational. Your visits are always very appreciated.;)xo

=sallymandy,
thank you; I surely will post on that subject in the future. Always enjoy when you stop by.;) xo