Two Pennies Overboard

After a summer visit to the island of Nantucket nearly 20 years ago my wife and I participated in the time-honored tradition of tossing two pennies overboard as our ferry rounded Nantucket’s Brant Point on our return to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The tradition suggests that doing so means you are bound to return to “the faraway island,” as it is called.

Native American for “place of peace,” Nantucket is 30 miles out to sea and suffice it to say that during the winter it becomes an even more remote place, albeit one that is kept from freezing by the gulf stream of the Atlantic Ocean. The winter population shrinks to about 10,000 from several times that during the summer and we are about to join that number.

Come the first of November, my wife and I will become winter residents of Nantucket to fulfill our quest for a radical sabbatical, with time and space to read, write and plan our next move. As Joseph Campbell said, “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

Another very motivational quote for us is attributed to Henry David Thoreau. When queried about why he was trading his “normal” life in Concord to live at Walden Pond, he simply replied, “Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live and I could not spare any more time for that one.”

Finally, on a sign located at the mouth of the harbor in Mount Dora, the town we called home for several years and recently moved from, is a profound quote from Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” And so we are.