Reason the card, but passion is the gale."
What do I miss the most about the U.S.? A trick question because when I lived there I didn't travel much in America. The farthest east I ever got was Sandpoint, Idaho (and if you live there or in Spokane and your last name is Heath then we might be related). The farthest south was a trip to California (Disneyland). And the only foreign country I'd ever visited before I left for France was British Columbia, Canada and that didn't feel all much different from Washington State (we went up there to see family).
Better question is what do I miss about the Pacific Northwest? That is an easy one to answer: the sea. I miss living by the water. The sound of the seagulls and the smell of salt water in the early hours of the morning. There is nothing quite like it. I also miss being out on the water. The Puget Sound region is a world of watercraft: houseboats, ferries, tugboats, big container ships, and sailboats. Some of my best memories as a young adult are about being out on the Sound in a relative's fishing boat or a friend's sailboat. The one I remember best was a 26-foot yawl built by Bobby Allen. Talk about passion - I used to watch him leave the office every day to go and work on it and it took him years to finish. Her name was the Harriet Spicer and she was beautiful.
Since I've been in France I've sailed exactly once. I was working for the Compagnie Générale d'Entreprises Automobiles (CGEA) at the time and they had an annual sailboat race for employees in France and from abroad. So my colleagues and I from the office in Nanterre went down to Toulon and had a fine time out there on the water in our rented sailboat and way too much wine. We lost but I did get to see one of France's aircraft carriers.
A few days ago someone on Facebook sent me a link to a website and said, "Have a look at this, Victoria" The site is called Skûtsje Zonder Zorg.
Meet Edi and Michael from Vancouver, British Columbia. From 2009 to 2012, they sailed from Vancouver all the way down the coasts, around Cape Horn and then back up the coasts on the other side. They blogged about it (and apparently the blog was quite the sensation) and later wrote a book.
They are now in Europe travelling on the rivers and canals in a 105-year old skûtsje called the Zonder Zorg. Their lasted post is dated April 21 and they are in France right now (Toulouse) going along the Canal du Midi and through the locks and into the city. It's quite a tale and the photos and commentary on what they see and do as they cruise along are pure pleasure to read.
The saddest part about it for me is that in twenty years here it has never occured to me to take a boat out on the canals. Sure, I knew it was possible but....
Somebody give me a good slap to the side of the head. I was wasting my time grieving over the lost waters of home and then I see a couple of short-timers from my part of the world taking advantage of the waters here and having a great time.
Attitude adjustment accomplished.