My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.
The first story I ever wrote – aged eight years – was about a man who lived alone in a cave in the forest and talked to the animals. The short-story is lost but I still have the wooden statue of a monk my parents gave me that same year and which I have always called Saint Bariles.
The call of solitude has always remained very strong with me, though I have yet to become a hermit. However as a writer and when sailing there’s plenty of time alone in which to reflect and to be centred. Solitude is a wonderfully liberating time for me. A weight seems to lift from my shoulders and I settle into a calm, joyful contentment. And this is not just that I can do exactly as I please (not often true on the boat where the weather and waves rule). Even when I’m able to focus on a task, if there’s someone else present (however silent and unobtrusive) I feel a slight strain.
This does not mean I’m anti-social; but however much I enjoy friends and family, after a couple of days being with other people I’m completely exhausted. Solitude restores my energy and contentment. Then I can go out into the world again. Solitude – and especially the deep solitude of hermits – is a subject that deeply fascinates me, so I’ll be posting whatever I can find that seems interesting and relevant.
SEE ALSO Retreats
Words from an Unknown Hermit. These short essays were written by Hermit S. , a contemporary hermit who may be living in Canada.
Part One – Methods of Practice
Part Two – Time
Part Three – Ego
Part Four – Virtue
Part Five – Complex People Yearning for Simplicity
Part Six – The Hermit And The World
Part Seven – Self-Sufficiency, or Keeping One’s Own Counsel
Part Eight – Living Beyond the Ideas Is the Real Challenge
Part Nine – There Are No Fake Hermits
Part Ten – Love for Ourselves and Others
Falling From The World – Poem of a Hermit at Sea
Video about Heimo and Edna – Home from Home – Alone in the Alaskan Wilderness
Photos – Snapshots of a Russian Hermit
Photos – The Homes of Hermits in Hungary