When Doctors, CEOs, and very wealthy people come up to a person and say “I want your life!” the first question a person might ask is, what the heck does that person do? When you figure out the person is both a Sailboat Captain and a writer the real question is, how the hell does a person make that happen? Which is exactly what I wanted to talk with David Kilmer about on his awesome Tug Boat on Lake Coeurdalene.
Maybe it was because he was born in Kenya and had a non-traditional beginning, or perhaps it was his decision to sail from California to Hawaii without any sailing experience at a young age, or maybe, as he puts it, it is simply about following a small series of decisions throughout his life. Whatever it is, Kilmer’s path has allowed him to experience some amazing things in life, like sailing through the Panama Canal and chasing the path of Hemingway, because it was less about a specific point on the horizon he was trying to reach and more about a process of answering the question, “what is life?”
As he tells it, the process never really followed a straight line and was often times scary. While he committed to a less than traditional path and believed in it, he found himself frustrated, angry and, according to his wife, led him to be selfish and superficial at times. But it was all in the pursuit of direct experience, which seemed to be a good enough excuse to do something foolish.
In the end, getting to live a life that others believe they would love to have is not easy. The process of asking, “What is Life” has lead Cappy back to where he started for the first time, it has allowed him to love humanity after being angry with it for a time, and as anyone who knows him will tell you, it has allowed him to become a person who truly lives.
“Keep your bags packed and never turn down a trip” was the advice he had for the rest of us mortals. And, as I sat on his tugboat sipping wine and looking out at the beautiful Coeur’dalene Lake, I realized that maybe it wasn’t so much that all of those other folks wanted his life, as much as they simply wanted to feel alive. A feeling that seems only available when we seek, as David does every day, those direct experiences life has to offer when we decide to look.
Check out the entire interview here…