(Day -1, Seattle)
“Galapagos!” It is a name that has been on my mind, and the top of my list of places to visit for over 10 years.
“Galapagos” was a recurring word that cropped up on many occasions in the 10 months of cancer treatment I underwent in 2016 and 2017, usually in the middle of a long infusion session of chemo.
“Oh no!” I blurted out during my third round, realizing that I had not arranged anything concrete.
Very possibly, if this treatment did not stop my malady, I would leave this earth with this top priority left undone. Yet I was undeterred by such speculation. “You are booking this as soon as you get home, Mr. Man. As in today!” was my command, to me that is. And then… damned if I didn’t forget about it over the following hours of sitting idly as meds dripped via the “port catheter” into my chest. When would “Galapagos” next re-enter my puny brain? A precious 3 weeks later, during my next round of infusion. Infuriatingly, I repeated this routine over and over. Damn.
A Taoist saying came to mind each time, “To know, and not act, is as if to not know.” My Galapagos idea, without concrete actions like a booking, was only a dream.
But, I changed my ways.
Heading 5,400 Miles South, with Two Travel Veterans
Abraham Pachikara, Copyright 2018 (Click for larger image)
So now I gleefully whisper “Galapagos” under my breath. I am here with my two precious sons. We are waiting at the gate for a red eye flight. SEA – MIA – GYE – GPS. That is, Seattle to Miami tonight, connecting tomorrow to an afternoon flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador as our second stop, and then on Saturday to Baltra Island.
To make the most of the trip, I took action in two ways I am quite happy about.
- 18 months ago I had the boys join our neighborhood swim team to prepare them for snorkeling in the tumultuous ocean. At first they were slower than driftwood. On a few occasions, they asked, “why are we taking this?” as it was painfully embarrassing. But, but, but… their aquatic incompetence earned more attention from the coaches. Funny how life works, eh? In a mere 6 weeks, Paul and Sidd were holding their on in the breast stroke, back stroke, freestyle, butterfly, flip turns and diving. So water 5 feet or 25 feet deep caused no stress to them.
- 8 months ago, I picked up snorkeling gear and we all tried our hand in the same pool while the weather was warm.
And while the last ~8 months have been lackluster, I hope the trip will open my eyes to the bombastic side of the world & the need to chase the important things with focus. In earnest. And smartly.
There’s no time for mediocrity & waiting around.