I realized I had a fifth gear in 1987 when I took three months off to travel Europe. It had been four years since graduating and I felt I wasn’t achieving my life goals. Traveling by backpack alone was one of my goals.
The ticket office was mayhem. I push my way (a new behaviour) to the counter and bought a ticket. With ticket in hand, I ran a half a mile with my heavy backpack to the ferry. Exhausted, I presented my ticket to the attendant but something was wrong. My ticket hadn’t been stamped. No stamp to entry. My look of horror had no effect on the situation. With a shrug the guy started unwrapping the ropes holding the boat to the dock. They were about to set sail.
I hoisted my pack on my back and bolted back to the ticket station. It was blistering hot and humid and I was wearing a jean jacket. I was drenched. I ran up to the counter (most people were now on the boat) and waved my arms wildly in large “stamp my ticket now” motions. My look of horror didn’t speed up the process.
When I finally got my stamp I dashed out the door, more hunched than when I arrived. I had no energy left and there was a moment when stopping seemed like the only option. Suddenly, my pace quickened. I was just as tired but energy surged through my body.
When I got to the boat it was inching away from the dock. The same guy that had sent me away was on board shaking his head. I flung my pack through the air onto the deck. I then took a running jump and fell onto the deck. The guy started screaming but it was too late to eject me. I had made it. It was great to see my friends.