*This story was a part of the Impowerage “It’s Never Too Late to Change Careers” Writing Contest. Voting is now closed and you can see the contest winner here.
By Peter Morris
Twenty-nine years ago, at the age of fifty, I had lived on the West Coast of Canada for five years, after moving from England to Vancouver. I had decided it was time for a change of country. I had already lived an exciting life at sea and spent years on the Channel Tunnel Survey, skippering a variety of ships and boats and after, the delivery of ships and boats around the Mediteranian. I had also designed and built boats, I needed something different!
“You should check out Vancouver, B.C. Canada !” Some friends told me, so I did.
I fell in love with the Canada, especially the West Coast. Responsibility was something I had lots of experience at so for something more simple. I took a job in a downtown marine electronics store, as that was something I knew something about. It was not long before the Boss said that he would like me to manage their Steveston store. I had no idea where that was, so I told him that I would check it out.
For anyone who does not know this little town, it’s boat heaven, mostly commercial, but with some private boats in there. So there I was, back into it ! But on shore.
I guess it was about a year later, inevitably, I met a young lady, and did something I had sworn to myself I wouldn’t do again, got married.
I was checking out a thing called ‘cross-country skiing’ in which she was involved and one thing led to another. This isn’t a romance, so I am not going to bore you with that bit. But I really got involved with the cross-country skiing group which guided sight impaired folks around tracks in Manning Park, yet another beautiful part of B.C.
I got more and more into it and entered some marathons including the “Cariboo Marathon” which was the other end of the ‘scale’. Not content with that, I got into Biathlon B.C., the combination of skiing and target shooting with .22 rifles, a great sport, at which I did well.
At this time, I was an active member of the Vancouver Rowing Club, and sculling in ‘singles’ and ‘eights.’ I was finding the old ‘itching in the heels’ happening again. I had gotten to know lots of commercial fisherman while selling them equipment, and doing good business in the ‘local’, and the talk was of all the boats that were for sale…..enough to say that got my interest, and I started looking around… which led to me being a skipper again, of a 44 foot fish boat, which I fitted out as a ‘longliner’, and was able to explore the Inside Passage, Vancouver Island, and exposed to more outstanding beauty and wildlife than I had ever seen. This adventure lasted just until I injured my back.
Throughout most of my life, I have taught ‘metaphysics’ , and my time in Canada was no exception. I travelled throughout B.C. and parts of the U.S. and gave many T.V. and Radio interviews and lectures. I liked to combine teaching and ‘down to Earth’ activities in my life that gave me a good balance between the two.
In the meantime, my back was repaired, and I needed some action! Right on key, I heard from some friends that ran salmon charter boats out of Horshoe Bay, B.C. that the owner was looking for a skipper for their 75 foot 40 passenger tour/fishing boat, the “Tarquin.” So for the next five summers, that’s what I was doing.
The winters were consumed with lecture tour’s, one of which took place in the Okanagan. It was Kelowna where I was introduced to Jassandra, and yes, here I go again! It was that thing at first sight that neither of us really wanted, having just escaped relationships. But, here we are, 20 years later, and all’s well, the love affair’ continues. During the early days on the “Tarquin” Jassandra crewed for me, and we had some fun adventures, not the least of which was finding accommodation for the summer in West Vancouver, a solution finally solved by purchasing a small motor cruiser to live aboard for the summer.
After that adventure came to an end, we ‘retired’ to Sechelt,B.C. on the Sunshine Coast, where re-furbishing sailboats and crab fishing became my main pastime, plus exploring the Georgia Strait, whilst teaching Tai Chi and dance kept ‘Jay’ busy.
Things started to slow down after we moved to Victoria. The brain seizures that I had over the last number of years increased plus a ‘pacemaker” that was fitted last year, to keep things ticking along, rather put an end to my rowing a boat offshore to get some of our favorite food, crab!
But, there’s life in the old dog yet, two exercise classes, yoga, carpet bowling, keeps things moving along, not forgetting writing my autobiography and a book about my adventures at sea, keeps at least part of the brain working !
So NO, it’s never too late for an adventure, I’m ready for my next. If you’re 50? You’re just getting in your stride!