Today marks two months on the road, and since I left I’ve been sleeping on couches, spare bedrooms, a few boats, more than a few beaches, but mostly in parking lots on top of my stuff in my jeep.
Fortunate does not begin to describe how blessed I’ve been with the numerous captains and anglers that have taken the time to show me their ways and waters.
But I’d be lying if I said that the 47-inch amberjack, the landlocked salmon on a dry fly, or my biggest ever redfish this week were what made this trip worthwhile. They are incredile and unforgettable, but it’s the road, the unique lifestyle of constant motion and ever-changing experience that make fishing your way across the country something you’ll never forget.
It’s the woman I met in New Jersey who tested fighter planes for a living, and described to me the feeling of heading straight toward the ground then at the last second pulling up. It’s the tattoo-covered surfer in Virginia Beach who was surfing his way up the coast as I was fishing my way down. We passed in front of a boardwalk band, and then headed in separate directions, both probably looking for the same thing with different tools. It’s the moment standing on a street in Connecticut when you have to think to remember what state you’re in. It’s being so tired that you lose your place in time inside your head. It’s an open window and an empty hightway, following the blue light of your GPS toward the next sunrise.
Every hello is half goodbye, and you’re leaning into life, and the next fish and the next trip, the next story. And the next night might bring a steak fresh off the grill, if you’re lucky enough to meet Tommy Scarborough, or more often than not, it might be an energy bar in a parking lot.
But motion becomes the constant and staying in one place feels uneasy. Two nights in one town feels like that first step off the escalator. And the only constant is tired, because you’re always some degree of tired. But you get used to it, like anything, and the only thing you wonder is how you’re ever going to stop.