A species related but a breed apart
Being from Alaska and commercial fishing for a good portion of my life I saw a breed of man uncommon to the populated world. Men in search of adventure, the outdoors, fortunes and solitude. They would leave their home town, point their compass north, sling a backpack over their Carhart covered shoulders and eventually arrive in Alaska, seeking to find out for themselves whether it had all to offer that they had heard. These men were hard working, adventurous, self sustaining and usually rough around the edges. Seeking jobs as a commercial fisherman, construction workers, or even digging for gold. With the advent of the PFD that changed a little as families seeking to cash in on the “free money” began migrating from all over the world. But still, the hunter, gatherer, former military breed found its way to the last frontier and they fit in well. I have met countless of these men always curious what drove them north, in awe of their stories. I could not relate for I was on of the few born and raised into the culture.
Now living here in Costa Rica, I have identified another breed of man, a species of man related to the Alaskan immigrant. They too are adventurous leaving behind school, family and friends to venture to the land of golden beaches. However I think I have detected a slight difference. These men, for the most part, can not be labeled as hard working. They are more of a free spirit, often and usually a surfer. Willing to sleep on the beach or a hovel nearby, wherever the wind blows them. They own 2 pairs of board shorts, tattered and well used, a surfboard which they take care of like a prized sports car, and a bicycle. They give surfing lessons or sell trinkets or medicinal herbs for food money. They are very slender with no extra fat, tanned to a dark black or golden brown, shaggy haired, and good surfers. Although related in the spirit of adventure, they are distant in lifestyle. And as foreign as they are to me, I am inspired by both types of men.
You see these men aren’t living in the mold of what the world thinks they should. They aren’t bound by the chains of security. They are living, chasing their dreams and doing something adventurous, much to the dismay of their parents I am sure. The older I get the more I realize that life is truly a gift from God, a gift not to be wasted. I know that often this breed of man I have described here in Costa Rica does end up wasting their life, at least by my definition, but they have to potential to do something big. They are not scared, they are not easily offended and they truly don’t care what others think. They would be great disciples, able to live on very litte, adaptable, personable and good surfers. They have a gift, although they don’t realize it, that could be honed to increase the kingdom of God, which would add value to every life.
So I find myself in a bit of a conundrum, admiring their free spirit but shaking my head at their lack of responsibility or direction. I am envious of the life experience they are gaining, but doubtful they will use it for anything positive. But mostly, I am envious of their surfing ability. So in 2012 I pray that perhaps God would use me to learn from these men, what inspired them to come here and what are their aspiritions beyond this. I am eager to hear what they have to say, and I hope it goes beyond what I “think” it should be. And although I may hit them up for some surfing tips, I think I’ll pass on the herbs.