Vacilando, that’s a word most Americans don’t hear every day. It describes traveling for the traveling. And yet, travel right and arrive somewhere fascinating. I’ve had destinations and goals, but traveling through life has been equally fascinating. Where is it going, and what’s going to happen along the way?
I am not conversant in Spanish. I keep forgetting the word for beer. My friend Brian is the one with the vocabulary that includes multi-syllabic elements of Spanish philosophy. He runs a family owned herbal apothecary in downtown Ballard (Dandelion Botanical), but before that he lived on a boat and had a lot more free time. Back then, so did I. Once a month we would take urban walks through Seattle’s neighborhoods just for the sake of discovering the unlikely while talking about how we’d solve the world’s, or at least our own, problems. He called the walks vacilandos. Okay by me. The name isn’t as important as the experience. I believe him and wrote about them in the early incarnation of this blog (Vacilando). We even produced a manuscript of our travels and observations. Fancy neighborhoods are really owned by the housekeepers and the landscapers. The people doing the work are the ones that enjoy the views and are surrounded by the elegance of the unoccupied second, third or forgotten house. (How many houses do you own?)
It has been years since our last vacilando. Their business is growing and consuming his time. He moved off the boat that was beautifully situated on Lake Union in downtown Seattle. I moved to Whidbey and have been scrambling for the last year to recover from my financial turmoil.
I liked the book idea but in today’s electronic environment I realized that there were other options. Video came to mind. With today’s gas and ferry fees local came to mind. Brian was busy, but another friend was available and interested. Wynn Allen (cohort in Madrona Workshop Troupe, the producer of self-publishing workshops) is also an actor and a neighbor. So, we grabbed my trusty point and shoot, found a nice enough day, and walked around one of our favorite towns: Langley, WA – the Village by the Sea. After a fun day and a lot of newbie mistakes we produced a YouTube video called “Two Guys Walk Around Langley“. There are other videos out there, many of which are aimed at convincing the wives to take a vacation. We decided the guys needed a slightly different perspective. If it helped, great. If not, well, it was fun and didn’t cost much.
That was months ago. Since then we’ve also made videos of Coupeville and Port Townsend. (Do you want us to come to your town? Give us a call.) We’ll keep doing this even though we don’t know where it will lead.
Here’s one place that it’s led. This morning someone attached this comment to the video.
“You two are just wonderfully informative, thought provoking, and such a gifted duo! Also, crazy! LOL Thanks to you two my husband and I are thinking of moving there! Looks like a lovely place. Hopefully, we can meet you for a helpful tour soon. Thanks for the video.”
Well, shucks. That’s a nice way to start the morning. Give us a call.
My financial turmoil means my destinations and goals have to be flexible or at least include a significant detour. Living a frugal life for a few decades means I am aware of my values and my resources. They are what got me here. Understanding them makes it easier to realize that my situation is a consequence of bad luck and timing rather than a major character flaw. It is too easy to obsessively look for flaws when unemployment and unprofitable ventures have become too common.
I can make videos like this because I know that I have sufficient time, energy, skill, and support to take that first step. Taking the first step makes it easier to take the second step, and to do so with less stumbling. Maybe we’ll get better equipment some day. Maybe someone will pay us to do this on a regular basis. Anything can happen on a vacilando.
Much of my life has been led by intuition. I aimed at a career where I’d work on the next generation space shuttle. The first one launched as I was becoming an aerospace engineer. It was obvious that we’d need something better within my lifetime. I wanted to work on it. Maybe I should have been more explicit. I got to work on it, but we decided not to build it. The work was fascinating, but paper studies don’t colonize space, and careers based on innovative designs can become dead ends if the designs never become products. (2011 My Space Remorse)
In my twenties I never expected to retire before I was forty, yet that happened. I never expected to have almost all of it deflate, yet that has happened. I don’t know what to expect but I do know that, in the words of Douglas Adams,
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
Time ensures that life is lived whether goals or destinations are involved. I maintain dreams of goals and destinations but I also maintain flexibility. That may be particularly valuable in these economic and turbulent times.
Two guys walking around Seattle resulted in two other people considering moving to Langley (as my home is for sale, and so is Wynn’s.) That is probably just one of many consequences. Any action, even small ones (Butterfly Wings), can cause significant detours through magnificent experiences.
What else will transpire from two guys walking around Langley?