Over the years. quite a few folks have asked us where we came up with
name "Exit Only" for our catamaran.
This is the way it happened. While I was working in Saudi Arabia,
whenever we went on vacation, we had to obtain an Exit-Reentry visa in
order to make the trip. The Exit visa got us out of the country, and
the Reentry visa got us back in to resume our work.
There was a special type of visa for people who were leaving the Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia and not coming back. Those folks received an Exit Only
visa. Once you went Exit Only, your work in the Magic Kingdom was over,
and you were on a one way ticket to some place other than there.
I worked for eleven years in Arabia, always traveling on my Exit-Reentry
visas. Finally, at the end of the eleventh year, it was time to sail on
the ocean of my dreams, and so I got an Exit Only visa and went sailing
on Exit Only around the world.
Going Exit Only on board Exit Only was a liberating experience. The
scraping, scrounging, and saving were over, and it was time to live my
Exit Only proved to be a good name. It constantly reminded me that my
old life was gone, and that I wasn't going back. It was time to move
forward into new territory. I had a new life, and I was a new person.
I was now Captain Dave, Master and Commander of Exit Only, and it was
time for 33,000 miles of global adventure.
LIFE IS GOOD
When you sail at night, take a good look at the midnight sky. You can
see billions of miles and millions of light years in every direction.
From the beginning of time, astronomers have searched the sky for signs
of life, and so far the only place where life is known to exist is on
Earth is unique because itís chock-a-block with life; itís everywhere,
and itís relentless. Itís in the air, on the land, and in the depths of
the sea. The reason earth is such an awesome place is because itís a
sanctuary for life in an otherwise hostile universe.
Sailing around the world in a yacht allows you to see life in all its
glory. Because you sail in remote locations beyond the reach of the
developers and destroyers, you see life in a different manner than city
slickers do. Their version of life is limited to a few birds in Central
Park, dogs on leashes, and animals in zoos. Itís an extremely skewed
view of what life is all about.
In cities, itís hard for people to appreciate or experience the
richness of life as they ride subways and work in concrete jungles.
Their constrained view of life is to wake up in the morning, commute,
work somewhere all day long, commute again, spend the evening at home,
and then repeat the cycle the next day. When that is their daily
routine, they may not even notice that that their planet is alive. The
only living things they see may be people, pigeons, dogs and cats, plus
a few cockroaches thrown in for good measure.
Contrast that to the life of a sailor totally immersed in our living
planet. He wakes up in the morning to the sound of seabirds in his
small patch of paradise. Sea turtles swim by, and when his sailboat
gets underway, porpoises escort him out to sea. The sea is alive with
mahi mahi, Spanish mackerel, and tuna. When he makes a long passage
offshore, wandering birds often rest on deck using his yacht as a
floating island. Sometimes the birds even land on his finger and eat
from his outstretched hand. When he visits the Galapagos, all manner
of creatures tolerate his presence totally unafraid because they know he
means them no harm. Thatís the way the world was meant to be, full of
life that surrounds us on all sides.
Now that I am back in ďuncivilizationĒ, I am hearing talk about how hard
life is. Wars, sub-prime mortgages, foreclosures, the high cost of
health care, drug abuse, political corruption - the list goes on and
on. Unfortunately, Iím not hearing much talk about how good life is.
Thereís a perceptual problem here. We are focusing on the dross and
slag, when there is pure gold right in front of our eyes. Life is pure
gold, and life is good.
Life is an awesome miracle. The fact that we are here on planet earth
means that we won the lottery of life. We won first prize, and all of
the living things that surround us are our most precious possessions.
When I sailed around the world, the most important discovery I made was
that life is good. Everything thatís alive, including you, is a
massive miracle. Donít waste your time complaining about the things in
your life. Forget about your woes and worries, and instead, focus on
the miracle of life You are a miracle and you live in a miraculous
A fitting epitaph at the end of lifeís journey would be: ďBeen there,
done that, life is good.Ē
Click on this button to
tell your friends about "Life Is Good".
After living outside the United States for twenty-eight years, I am
finally connected. At least that's what everybody tells me. You see, I
completed my circumnavigation around the world on my sailboat, I'm back
in the USA, and I now have a cell phone.
Don't feel sorry for me because I wasn't connected for all those
years. I was connected to other things, and I didn't need a cell tower
to feel my life was good.
exactly did I get when I got connected? I got an overpriced handheld
fit-in-the-palm-sized plastic gadget that I have to carry around with me
wherever I go, and whenever it makes noise, I have to pay money. It's
like a slot machine, a no-armed bandit, and every time the cell phone
rings, I lose, and the cell provider wins.
What did I learn when I got connected? First, I found out that getting
connected costs lots of money and staying connected costs even more. I
also learned that in my new world, I can only be connected for 500
minutes each month without having to pay another mountain of money. It
turns out that I am connected to a bottomless money pit that would like
nothing better than to suck my finances dry.
Being connected does have it's benefits - I do get to talk to my family
whenever I want until I run out of minutes or money. When you're
connected, you enter into a time warp in which time is split into two
dimensions. The first dimension is called "ANYTIME MINUTES", and I am
only allowed to visit this dimension for five-hundred minutes a month.
Apparently this dimension is very crowded, and they won't let me stay
longer unless I pay more money. The second dimension is called "NIGHTS
AND WEEKENDS." I can do whatever I want for as long as I want in this
dimension, and it doesn't cost anything extra.
my new life, special messages appear on my phone from outer space. They
are called text messages, and every time a message appears, money comes
out of my wallet. I have decided that I don't like text messages. I
hope people living in the two dimensions don't send me text messages.
I'd rather talk to them while I'm living in the "NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS"
I don't want to complain about my new life, but I confess I liked my old
one better. I got along fine without a cell phone, and I was connected
to other things that talked to me and sent messages without sending a
Take a look at Exit Only sailing downwind into the setting sun with
headsails unfurled. The sails are connected to the wind, and Exit Only
is connected to the sea as we slide over the waves heading westward
around the world. I am totally immersed in blue skies and crystal clear
water, and I am connected to everything that makes my spirit soar. I
don't need a cell tower to hear the messages that surround me on all
sides. I listen to the sound of the sails and sea, and I know life is
I hope I don't get disconnected from my old world; that would be selling
my birthright for a bowl of porridge. I am going to have to come to a
new agreement with life. I already miss being connected to the trade
winds, the sea, the stars, porpoises, and pilot whales that I communed
with for the past eleven years. During those years I didn't have to
split my time into anytime minutes, nights, and weekends. I was
connected to everything I loved all the time. My old world had plain
vanilla minutes that worked just fine, they didn't cost anything, and I
didn't have to sign a one or two year contract to make it all happen.
sure I will survive the transition into being connected. After all,
I've survived the deep deserts of the Arabian Empty Quarter and
Australian outback, and I've survived sailing on the seven seas. Right
now, getting connected is a bit like sailing to windward in forty knots
of wind. It's time to reef my sails, sheet them in, and hang on,
because it's going to be a wild ride.
Life is good
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