If I had a boat

It’s funny how things work out sometimes.

After my bit o’ rambling yesterday, my friend and fellow barista Teegan invited me to see a documentary titled “Random Lunacy: Images from the Road Less Traveled” at Western Carolina University. Facing the prospect of that or sitting through open mic night at the shop (which is now a fear of mine after bad comic guy), I went with the movie.

And I’m glad I did. Long story short, the film profiled a man named Poppa Neutrino, who chose to raise a family while traveling the world in a constant state of poverty. “Rent is the thing that gets us,” he said, so he made the decision to wander the world on his own terms.

Here’s the film’s Web site, along with a site cataloging some of Poppa’s adventures.

The old man’s greatest exploit was building a large “raft” (it was more of a sailboat really) from junk found on the streets of New York City and using it to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Now say what you will about the man’s methods of raising a family. The pros and cons of having children follow you around the world with barely enough money for food or clothing is definitely open for debate. However, I would like to see anyone who wouldn’t think such an undertaking as crossing the Atlantic on a boat literally made of junk is less than awe inspiring. In a way it was risky and stupid, yes. He and the crew, which totaled four people, constantly had to deal with ever-waning provisions, terrible storms and the threat of being crashed into by other boats. But great adventures are never the in purview of totally sane people.

Especially on a boat that looks like this.


I was totally enamored by the prospect. It was amazing to see him actually do this, fates and reason be damned. But while I was watching the movie, something hit me … sure, this guy craves adventure and has done some amazing things. But one thing was never hit upon – while Poppa is the epitome of self-reliance, he’s also rather self-centered. Everyone that traveled with him said they learned a lot, and all of the kids have turned out to be creative and fulfilled adults. But in the end it was Poppa’s way or the highway (which is funny, because his way is the highway). By the end of the film he had been left wandering alone, with his only companion being a Boston terrier pup named Baxter.

(Random side note – having owned several Boston Terriers as a child, I couldn’t help but think that pup was the most adorable thing ever.)

That, to me, was the intriguing dichotomy of Poppa. Here’s a man who wants true freedom and is paying the cost for that. He’s remarkable, but he’s definitely burnt more than his share of bridges along the way. More reasonable people would sk themselves if such sacrifices are worth it. Again, there’s a price you pay for “the chains that you refuse.”


~ by J on March 13, 2009.

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