Yes and No. Yes, I accepted the family tradition, and no, I did not maintain it. My mother’s and father’s lineage are full of people who made a living from the sea, fishermen, merchant seamen, and the odd privateer or two. I went to sea while in the Navy and sailed extensively in sailboats, but I eagerly settled into the shore establishment.
Frankly, I discovered that extended periods at sea were uninteresting to me, and the allure of the shoreside was too much of an attraction. Do you think sailors see the world? Think again. More likely, they see the harbor, the bars, and lots of maintenance work on board that needs to be achieved in port. So I studied to be a maritime anthropologist and became a marine carver – producing quarter boards, transoms, eagles, and all the lovely doodads that make a vessel appropriately attired – a fine instrument for sailing the far reaches of Neptunas Rex’s domains.
Why did I head down this path? Because I could not, with impunity, abandon my family tradition entirely. My grandfather Carreras couldn’t either. A bad heart kept him ashore, so he carved and modeled ships and boats.
I was once poised to accept a lovely position in the middle of the country, far from salt water. The institution seeking to hire me sent me real estate listings weekly, showing how inexpensive and beautiful homes were in that area. It was a clever ploy that almost worked. But in the back of my mind was a portion of me that calculated how many hours drive I’d be from a substantial body of water. Too many were the result, and we stayed within a single hours drive of salt spray, the smell of coastal flats at low tide, and the sounds of waves against the breakwater.
Traditions survive, fade, or transform as circumstances and desires unfold. You do what you can.