About, or coming about, is a nautical term meaning ‘to turn into the wind’, or tack, and head-off in a different direction. It is a sailing manoeuver requiring a certain level of skill, as shackles and line shake, the boom crosses the deck, sheets need trimming, and a new course requires setting.
Many of life’s most interesting developments ashore also occur due to tacking, or change, because with it come new opportunities. The new skills learned always bring you closer to your goals, so when you come back to your favorites, what were once barriers have since disappeared.
Another result is interruptions with the previous world, the one before the tack. So for my part, please excuse delays for long periods spent at sea, where I escape the net. I’ll attempt to make posts when not wet… Do excuse me if I seem flippant, like the whales.
So, ’till later, here’s the beginning of a new site of pictures, about the irresistible attraction of the sea, the intoxicating life on islands, and the vessels in which we sail.
Who is this Whitt ?
Finding an original, interesting and eventful life was what I wanted. A conventional, established existence in an office with power, status and money just didn’t appeal to my youthful sense of challenge, so I struck out on my own, went abroad, learned foreign languages and worked for those who needed my skills. The intention was to become a self-made man, to use my good education creatively and positively, to avoid earning my keep by exploiting others, to do things of benefit for society, to give back to life rather than just profiting from it. The result was that I reaped far greater rewards than if I’d just stayed at home to fight the competition there, to get ahead of the others by walking on their backs, to become pushy and insensitive, to commute to a power job, to toe the line.
I racked up a few accomplishments along the way; performed at Carnegie Hall, set a state swimming record and was elected captain of two swimming teams, got on the dean’s list at a prestigious university, used earnings in photography to purchase a foreign-flag sailing vessel, single-handedly crossed the Pacific twice, navigated through Polynesia before electricity started to change an exceptional and authentic culture, did extensive field research abroad, was repeatedly appointed to respectable university teaching posts, built a tropical island home ashore and happily married a brilliant and talented artist.
Advised to avoid television in early youth gave me a key which was turned for tremendous advantage; instead of spending unproductive hours on screen-entertainment and insipid commercial advertising, I was freed from a dominating media and a forceful hard-sell. The time gained and devoted to more worthy pursuits was enormous. Combined with early exposure to academic discipline, competitive sports, journalism and darkroom skills, I became mobile, with foreign work, travel and financial independence a natural consequence.
“Follow your dreams” is certainly good advice. Dreams are obtained by constant study, concentration and using time wisely. Existence is too short to be filled with regrets and lost opportunities. Life is what you make of it.
Disclaimer: My use of number 88 is the number of years I would like to live, its significance in astronomy, good luck in Chinese culture, the repetitive sound of my name spoken in French etc. See Wikipedia, Number 88. I detest racial slurs or other references to a tragic period of European history.