This is the existential question that all bargees begin to wrestle with in about year four or five of their barging life cycle.
When that little thought began to creep into the back of our minds, we were reminded of the famous Charlton Heston line; “We did it to ourselves”.
Nobody held a gun on us and said, get out there and buy a 100 year old ship and spend a good bit of your remaining time here on this rapidly warming little sphere meandering around in strange and wondrous places meeting extraordinary folks along the way, or else! Nope, never heard any of that prior to acquiring Vivante.
So there is no one to pin this on but us.
The good news is that our barging experiences have given us a very different perspective on the world. The bad news is, perhaps more maddeningly, is a hard coded need to figure out what will replace it when our time on the canals is over. Unfortunately, it appears to be pretty damned difficult to conjure up what that might be.
Many an evening has been spent in deep conversation pursuing different avenues and possibilities with others having a similar affliction. Some of our cohorts have developed detailed lists of options carefully organized in excel spreadsheets with a myriad of comments and projected costs. Others don’t seem to give it much thought expecting that the best course will reveal itself in good time.
Carol and I cover a good bit of this decision-making spectrum and that has proven to be a good thing. Carol is all about noodling through an array of possibilities doing pro’s and con’s then developing plans of investigation. I tend to lean more towards the “inspiration will come” school of thought.
This has resulted in some interesting chats over the last few years. But even with these sometimes spirited discussions, we have made some headway.
This year’s cruise is a test case for the “Use the barge as a home base” scenario. The UTBAAHB approach is often an intermediate step taken while the fog clears on a longer range plan. We will see how that works out.
However, our first big experiment was conducted during the last 20 months we have just completed. It has taken us across Southern Europe, North Africa and Iceland with a few weeks of Stateside time for weddings and family time and three glorious months on the opposite side of the earth in Oz and NZ.
So, as we move backwards through this global science project I hope that the photos and stories will be of interest.