Letters from the Sea

25/11/2011 18:41

Julián Péter is a "trainee" sailor. On July 23, he began his six-month practical. The life of a sailor is not easy, but his imagination works even in the remote corners of the world...

Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Letter One

Hello,

This might not be an Africa story, but every now and then, a stranger has the need to speak to another fellow human. But then we are not strangers anymore.

It has been months since the last snippet of correspondence we shared together, and I truly apologize for the time passed. I have been busy with ship life, especially for the past few weeks when we entered the Great Lakes with its unending series of locks and canals. It is a hard life, but nothing unmanageable. Even if at times you fall unconscious from fatigue or the steel in your shoes freezes your toes, there is still something rewarding at the end of the day. For example, our last port in Labrador, with nothing but snow-covered islands of bare rock hidden in the fog. One would think he was truly alone in the world.

I don't look at the sea anymore. I used to, but everytime I did, I had the unquenched urge to dive right in. No wonder a phrase exists in English: the call of the sea. She is a magnificent thing, different everywhere you go: black in the Indian Ocean, pure clear deep blue in the middle of the Atlantic, green and alive far up North. But all the time, she is calling you in, a sweet song of waves crashing over, the breeze rippling the surface. It is hard to resist. So after a while, you don't look at her anymore.

After a while, you forget that a different World exists "out there", beyond the railings. You forget about all the people going about their lives, the cars and trains, every single sign of civilisation. Your World is suddenly small, 200 by 24 meters. With the vast ocean spanning around you, you could as well be in the middle of the Universe. Once, when I got to go to a shopping mall in South Africa, I couldn't help but feel anxious surrounded by people. Just "other" people. I'm afraid I won't be able to fit back in with my family and friends. All their worries and chores seem so insignificant.

This is the life of seamen underneath. Or just the ones who have too much time for philosophy on their mind. And wine in their stomachs.

                                                                                                        Your fellow human,

                                                                                                                          Julian

Letter Two

Hello,

After yesterday’s bout of disillusioned depression, I came to a realization... What good are all the words and ideas swarming around in my head if I can't put them to paper (or the keyboard)? But before I write one sentence, I want to ask you a favour. How would you like to be a part of humanity project?

 

I first started it when a fellow photographer's camera got stolen. So I sent her mine. To Olympia, Washington. We exchanged a few emails and letters, describing our lives down to the very dirt not even our families knew about. Each time I signed myself as "Your fellow human". And thus, an idea was created. In a selfless act of humanity, a stranger reaches out to another. Their existence has been noted by each other. And so, even the most insignificant person can be remembered as just that—a person.

 

So what do you say, stranger? In the same way, I invite you to do the same with someone else.

 

                                                                                                         Your fellow human,

                                                                                                                          Julian

 

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