Growing up on the coast of Mobile Bay, I was always intrigued by the water. It wasn’t until I moved to Tuscaloosa until I truly realized how much I would come to miss living on the coast. I wanted to entitle this post as “Shooting the Breeze” because it does not only relate to my sailing activities, but it describes my life interests thus far in many ways. I enjoy exploring. I want to focus on exploring in this assignment, with a concentration on the particular hobby of sailing. The term “shooting the breeze” is actually a quite common saying, and it has its origins in sailing. In fact, in this first picture of me here I believe I am in the process of doing just that. At the beginning of a race, competitors will inch towards the starting line. You simply let go of the sails, and the boat drifts towards the direction in which the wind is stronger. It points to the direction that gives the most power, and when the race gun goes off, you go with that information given to you. Sometimes it’s wrong. All the boats take off in that direction at one time. It’s overwhelming. It’s awesome. It’s exhilarating. In essence, that’s exploring for you. You can’t quite figure out the exact answer of where you are going or how to get there, but you can begin.
Historical: No one in my family has a history of sailing. I guess you could say that their ancestor’s ancestors sailed over to the New World long ago. My Great Grandfather sailed over here from Italy. My mother in many ways is an explorer: in her career, her love of surfing, and marrying my father (that last one is just meant to be funny, they’re happily married 32 years). My father is an explorer in many ways, too. He’s always trying to understand the world around him, and he loves exploring the wilderness. I think that their combination definitely played a role in getting me to explore the world around me. After all, it was my parents who encouraged me to start summer sailing camp over ten years ago. My parents always challenged me to look for the beauty in the world, and I think this helped mold me to love exploring.
Sailing itself, however, can be traced back for as long as people had access to the resources. Technology has obviously changed, but the concept still remains. Sailing is arguably both one of the greatest achievements and greatest vessels of destruction that mankind has created. Exploring definitely depends on the person doing the exploring. It can be the most invigorating experience, yet it has had and will always have the power to destroy.
Proximal: The distant proximal cause of me sailing: my parents wanted me to partake in a fun camp, and the rest is history and practice. The real proximal cause: I’m too competitive for my own good. I happened to show off in front of the fleet captain one day, and she thought I’d make a great addition to the team. Sweet deal. Years of traveling the Southeast in regattas was great. Every time I go back home I always make it a point to sail. Even if I can’t participate in a regatta per say, I love just getting on a boat and letting the wind take me where it wants. It’s an interesting feeling, sailing: you think that you’re in control of this machine, but in actuality all it takes is one freak gust of wind and you capsize. I’m serious. It happens to the most skilled sailors. But I digress. I’m not too sure where my element of constantly challenging myself comes from. But, when you’re on the water so much that mentality just becomes part of you. Every single day will be a different experience on the water, and you simply have to challenge yourself to get out there or you just won’t get the thrill.
Developmental: Sailing is a great sport for anyone of any age. It’s incredibly versatile. I think that exploring should always be a part of your life. Getting out of your comfort zone is what makes life interesting. I want to see the world. Which, as a 22 year-old college student, is not an uncommon statement.
Functional: Navigation is not something that belongs to humans. In fact, many species of animals have very well-adapted patterns of navigation and migration that have been studied by scientists all over the world. However, humans have a curiosity that, when matched with resource technology, can turn into ingenuity. We wanted to get to meet other people, get better resources, raid for better resources, etc, and had to go somewhere we hadn’t been before. We had to talk with people we hadn’t met before. Overall unfamiliarity with a place or situation, yet pursuing the trip sounds like exploring to me. In a more focused lens, however, sailing is a huge part of coastal life on Mobile Bay. If you’re not doing one water sport, you’re doing another.
Exploring the world is, simply put, my favorite past time. The best way to explore, in my opinion, is to get out on the water and sail. There’s so much out there. The horizon is my only limit.