The concept of the sabbatical is intriguing to me. I suppose in its truest form, every seventh year would be a year of rest and rejuvenation. If you ponder the roots of the notion you will find that they sprout from the Sabbath of the Bible. Imagine what it would be like to let go of our dominant concerns for an entire year in the interest of having new experiences, in the interest of finding a new and better way to approach life. Unfortunately, most of us have been conditioned by our culture to be pacified by occasional vacations, short slots of time that must earn their way onto our busy calendars. Too often, the vacation becomes nothing more than a temporary diversion from the status quo, mere entertainment which is quickly forgotten once we return to our old routines.
The modern classic “Into the Wild” by John Krakauer tells the story of a young man named Chris Mccandless who’s short life was filled with adventure. Chris lived as though life was one long Sabbatical, even taking a leave of absence from his own identity as he adopted the alias and persona of Alexander Supertramp. His story has long resonated in my own lust for adventure. Recently, my wife and I purchased a truck and pop up camper with the intention of using it to venture into our own metaphorical wilderness. We began planning what would become a 20 day odyssey through the Pacific Northwest. We just returned from a 5000 mile journey that included eight states plus British Columbia and Alberta. Along the way, we dubbed our new rig “Alexander Supertramp”.
We left Colorado on August 12th, symbolic I suppose in that it was the one year anniversary of my Father’s death. I wore his wrist watch every mile of the way if to somehow take him with us. For those who might be completely oblivious, much of the Northwest is on fire this summer as the result of extreme draught. On our second day out, the interstate highway was closed from Boise, Idaho to the Washington State line. Our planned route through Portland was dashed and we detoured directly to the Oregon Coast with the intentions of being able to breath again, it worked.
We were almost giddy upon our arrival at Pacific Beach, Oregon. The Air was fresh and cool and humid and we spent the afternoon exploring the dunes and cliffs along the spectacular shoreline. The campground was filled with hundreds of wild rabbits and the hostess oddly reminded me of the actress Kathy Bates. Our closest neighbors talked long into the night about somewhat personal family matters, making Tammy and I flies on the wall as we tried not to listen from our bunk, just a few short feet away. We awoke to the sounds of the Dory boats revving their engines as they prepared to embark for a day of fishing and we smiled as we learned how to set up and break down camp, something we would be doing a lot of in the coming days.