Addiction is a tough illness, and recovery from it is a hard but noble path. Men and women who walk that path deserve our support, encouragement, and admiration. ~ Sheldon Whitehouse
Hello friends, I’ve been gone a bit, this maybe the longest quiet spell I’ve had on the blog in the eleven years I’ve been writing. But like previous quiet periods, it was for a good reason, I was preparing, executing and recovering from my first real adventure in three years. I will talk a little more about this at the end of this piece and more to come over the next couple of weeks.
I realized very early in life that I’m a person prone to addiction. It manifested itself in small ways early on. I’ve always been one of those people who could eat the same meal a hundred times in a row if I liked it. When I was young I did get addicted to some good things, I got addicted to reading and read like crazy for years. Once video arcades became a thing, I got addicted to video games and dropped an amazing number of quarters into video games. I got addicted to Dungeons and Dragons for awhile as a teenager, and contrary to popular theories at the time, I didn’t turn into a sword wielding serial killer.
My addictive personality took a significant darker turn for me around 18 when I first went to college. I got addicted to alcohol and drugs and spent two years loaded. It took a pretty significant toll on my life and probably the most destructive thing was that it lead me into bouts of depression for the next ten years while I got clean and sober and dealt with the underlying issues of both the depression and the addictions.
While I did a lot of work in my thirties and forties to get my head straight and become a happier person. The core nature of my addictive personality has not changed, I’ve been addicted to a lot of things. I’m a lifelong pizza and Coca-cola addict, I’ve been addicted to love (cue Robert Palmer) in particular I’ve been Athena’s Addict for nearly 20 years, which is also the title of my second book of poetry. But without a doubt my biggest lifelong addiction has been travel and adventure.
With the pandemic happening shortly after I’d taken my latest job I’ve been unable to travel. It’s been almost three years since I did any type of travel that I would consider adventure. The pandemic has been hard on all of us for different reasons. For me, it’s felt like this nomad and gypsy was trapped in a cage. It wore me down and honestly killed my motivation for most things, it dulled my soul and made me basically numb. I was very much existing in a low-level state which is not who I am. I don’t think it really hit me how bad it had become until I was packing for my most recent trip.
Boarding that plane to Los Cabos was like emerging from being underwater, holding my breath and finally surfacing to get that first huge gulp of air. I’m not sure I can convey how much I love every part of an adventure. I love the planning, I love the escape, I love the madness that always ensues at some point in the process. I love solving the problems that arise, rolling with things in a way this control freak doesn’t embrace at any other point in his life. I love who I am on the road, I’m freer, easier and friendlier. My disdain for social situations nearly disappears and I’m excited to meet new people, I love learning about and experiencing new cultures.
Most of all I love doing things that I have dreamed of. I’ve known about the human gray whale interactions that occur in San Ignacio lagoon for almost thirty years. It’s been on my bucket list ever since to visit those calving grounds. What occurred last week in Baja literally blew my mind, met every expectation and woke me up from my pandemic coma. I literally hugged an 80,000 pound, 40 foot long whale!
That’s great in some ways and tough in one other. Giving an addict a taste of his preferred drug makes him crave that drug and want it all of the time. I’ve been back for four days and all I can think about is what’s next? As close as I am to retiring from my current gig, I know I’ll be road bound again soon, and maybe even for a big adventure. I’m starting to think that a year from now, I might just find my feet on a long distance trail again.