I had a great conversation with an Estonian the other day who told me with great enthusiasm about a sport he loved to participate in. He talked animatedly about every new challenge and about the various competitions around the world that afforded him the opportunity to enjoy yet another venue. I remembered a similar conversation with an American many years ago whose “sport” was walking across suspension bridges. He would literally travel around the world to simply walk across the most famous and the most obscure bridges, both long and short, large and small — just so they all were of suspension construction. How strange, I thought, but “good for you,” I said.
A few weeks ago, still in the depths of winter here in Estonia, my wife and I planned our next sailing trip, once again to the Caribbean where we have sailed a number of times before, but always find new joys in each voyage. “Good for you,” you might say, but why is he telling us all this? Connections. Last evening we gave a talk to members of the Tallinn Yacht Club about our sailing experiences at our home port on Chesapeake Bay. Of course we also talked about our delightful sailing outings in Estonian waters last summer! We love sailing — cruising, but not racing. We enjoy the voyage more than getting to a new port or around the next buoy quickly. And we like the contrast of a slow cruise to our normally hectic everyday lives. My Estonian friend who is passionate about his sport is not a professional athlete and my American friend who enjoys walking across bridges obviously does not do that for a living. My wife and I will also never be professional sailors, but we feel connected to Estonians, fellow Americans, and others around the world who are fortunate enough to have a passion for something other than their everyday working life.