Cruise Travel, Educational Adventures, Featured, Going Solo, reviews, Travel Narrative

Cruising the Columbia: On Curiosity


As we sailed out of Portland this afternoon, I made a decision: I am going to approach this trip as an adventure, as an exploration.  I’ve been reading a lot about Lewis and Clark, and while I’ve only learned a little thus far, one thing is for certain: neither of them stopped paddling mid-rapids to record their thoughts for posterity.  So neither shall I.  Every journal entry shall be recorded as it should be—at the end of the day, from my desk, in my robe.

Ok—well maybe Lewis and Clark did not wear bathrobes.  Still.

DSC_0684I’m sailing down the Columbia river on a rather small boat.  The ferry that took me to Catalina was far larger, as was the ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen.  But there are only 43 other passengers on board, and I do not feel crowded at all.  In fact, quite the opposite.  I stood on the bow of the ship for a while, entirely alone.  There’s something that would never happen on a traditional cruise.

When I boarded today, I was skeptical.  I’m two generations younger than anyone else on board.  This was at first a concern.  It has since become a wonderment.  This is, without a doubt, an educational adventure; it is a trip for the curious traveler.  Why is it, do you think, that people only become curious later in life?

I sat with a woman at dinner—we shall call her Lilly*.  I don’t know how old Lilly is, but I do know that her daughter is 56.  Thus, Lilly is at least seventy.  She was quiet at first—and at second.  But she occasionally chimed in.  We learned about her travels and the kinds of things she does when she travels.  She went parasailing last year.  Last year.

Lilly also took care of her husband for years before he passed; he passed almost nine years ago.  And when he did, she went out into the world and lived.  While telling me this story she looked at me, tears in her eyes, and begged me to not miss out on any opportunity.  I assured her I would try to seize every single one.

Perhaps it takes serious trials to make one curious, to make one want to experience all that life has to offer.  But tonight, as the sun set over the water, I stood on the rail of this boat and watched the sky turn blue and orange.  Lilly walked up behind me (a bonus of being on a boat with only 43 other people) and said isn’t it lovely?

And I said:  yes—and it is always changing.

She replied: I love watching the sun set.  I do it every chance I get. 

I try not to miss any myself, I responded.

To this trip.  And to Lilly.  Cheers.

This has been post one of seven documenting my adventure down the Columbia and Snake Rivers with UnCruise Adventures.  In the coming weeks, I will be sharing one post per day of the seven-day trip, featuring the people and places I met and visited along the way.  A huge thank you to the people and crew at UnCruise for this amazing opportunity.  

* Lilly agreed to allow me to share her story, but I’m changing her name anyway.  I’m nice like that.

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