We sat outside my Turkish friend’s Napa Valley apartment smoking cigarettes and pondering where our lives would take us next. The rows of vines had turned yellow, Halloween had come and gone. The last fruit had been picked and it was time to move on. She held a degree in food science and had a good job back in Turkey doing quality control for some major food corporations. But when she found wine everything changed.
The economy in Europe made it hard for her to find full time work in wine production. She had traveled from harvest to harvest, continent to continent, and spoke four languages fluently. She would do anything, go anywhere, just to have those fickle fermentations at her finger tips.
She was worried about the crisis in Europe and I asked her if she couldn’t find a wine job, would she be willing to do something else. I’ll never forget her answer that night we sat huddled together under a blanket on the concrete patio with the stars bright in the black sky.
“Yeah, I could do something else,” she said. “But if it’s not wine, what’s the point?”
That’s when I knew my passion for winemaking was waning, or maybe never really there at all. I wondered if I’d ever find my true calling.
In the past week I’ve been pulled in so many different directions. Everyone seems to know exactly what I need. “Just find your own group of friends, those people you would die for.” “Find a job you love, one that allows you to travel.” “Go to the ashram in Seattle and do a work exchange for my guru.”
My own mind has been a carrousel of future possibilities. Backpack through Hawaii? Go on a bike tour? Every time I think about a land based adventure I feel guilty. Like i’m betraying the ocean. Like the sea is my master, and the land my mistress. Ever since my first sailing experience, crossing the Tasman sea three years ago on a yacht delivery, just looking out at the water does not suffice. Since I’ve left Sookie, I can’t even look any more. It hurts too much to sit on the beach staring at the great blue liquid and not be cradled by her gentle yet unruly spirit.
I saw a bicycle for sale on the side of the road and when I called the lady about it she lowered the price $100 and this morning the bike, a Panasonic Villager III, became mine. I withdrew the $150 from my account and was shocked at the remaining balance in my account. Seven dollars. For some reason, though, I’m not scared.
I went down to the marina and spent some time aboard my friend’s Flicka in the afternoon. I told her about all the different possibilities for adventures that had been dancing around in my brain.
“Yeah, I could do anything,” I said after we’d discussed each option ad nauseam. ” But if it’s not boats, what’s the point?”