A Ship in a Harbor

A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships were meant to do.

Once upon a time there were two old men talking about the places they lived and how each thought their homes were the best places to live. The first was born and raised in a remote town in rural Montana. He always spoke lovingly about his hometown and often boasted it was the most beautiful place in the world, though he’d never been more than a few miles beyond it’s borders. He was proud to be from a small town and had lived there his entire life because it was genuinely a wonderful place to live. He often said it was the best place in the world to settle down in.

The second man was from the same town, but he left at 18 to join the Navy. In the course of his enlistment he’d traveled to Singapore, Australia, the Philippines, Guam, and many other countries in the asian pacific. Additionally he’d spent time at several Naval bases in San Diego, Hawaii and San Francisco. Later he traveled to Panama, through the canal and was stationed in Florida and South Carolina. After his time in the Navy, he went to a university in New York and later became an investment banker traveling to Britain, the Netherlands, France, Germany and Spain. In his 50’s he was commissioned to be a US Ambassador to several countries in the middle east. In his travels he’d experienced the best and the worst of humanity. He’d been met with grace and hospitality as well as hate and hostility. Ultimately he’d decided to retire in New Zealand, because it was the most welcoming and beautiful country he’d traveled to in the course of his life – and proud, he too believed his home to be the best place in the world to settle down in.

Which of these two men’s advice should a young man consider when it comes time for him to call a place his home?

Published by Rollo Tomassi

Author of The Rational Male and The Rational Male, Preventive Medicine

22 comments on “A Ship in a Harbor

  1. “beyond it’s borders”

    For MGTOW, home is inside. With the net who never moved too can have an estimate on how various places are although in a superfical way, taxes laws climate prices etc.

  2. I sincerely hope the young man would consider the advice of both men – listen to their experiences, ask intelligent, probing questions, get some feel as to their level of satisfaction with how they lived their lives and what mistakes tripped them up. Then, analyze it all and decide for himself what works and what doesn’t in each scenario relative to the young man’s own values and goals. Watching and learning from the experience of others is incredibly valuable, but trying to exactly mimic someone else’s life because that particular formula worked for them is dangerously simplistic. For better or worse, life demands more work than that.

  3. Well, the answer is somewhere in between.
    Appreciating your roots is important, but so is going out for walk out in the “rest of the world”. You might not need to travel to a hundred different places to find something that pleases you. Heck, you might even decide to come back to where you started.

  4. Some are born and know without questioning, without searching. Some are born with questions and must search for their answers. No one gives you the answers you’re looking for. Only you can answer the questions you have. It may seem like others can give answers, but they can only point in directions.

    1. I’m with you. Not sure why people find this rhetorical question to be so difficult. I think people are offended that they might be making the wrong decisions in life.

      1. Perhaps people intuit that too much choice lowers satisfaction with choices.

        It is a principle of mind that when we don’t have options available, we decide that the options that we do have that we have chosen amongst are our best options. This universal habit leads us to be happier with what we have.

        I’m all for being happy, and I understand the idea of appreciating the little things and accepting that which can not be changed.

        But this parable is not about accepting what can not be changed. It is about discovering options. Would too many options lead to less satisfaction?

        Perhaps to some people. I wonder, and don’t know. Some of us prefer to broaden our options, and the very act of doing so brings happiness.

  5. Some people like change.

    Some people don’t like change.

    It would seem some people have nomadic temperaments. They like adventure and changing scenery. Some prefer to hang for life in the communities they grew up in. They like traditions and strong local bonds.

    This is an issue not only of informed decisions, but of temperament. Enjoyment of a nomadic lifestyle may be something certain personality types are apt to fall into.

    For people who value community and tradition and being settled, the place they were raised will naturally hold a high appeal.

  6. Thanks Rollo.

    When I have some extra cash, then I will travel to more places. It’s fun to see new areas. Never getting married and not having kids makes it easier to travel. Wherever I can bring my pet dog. We can live in one place for a few years and then decide to continue staying there, or to move to a new place.

  7. Are you kidding me? The well-traveled man is the best informed. Just as the man who’s dated a variety of women understands females better than the guy who settled down at 18. Perhaps it’s not an ironclad rule that one is better informed than the other, but that’s the way I’d lean.

  8. The man who knows only one place is litteraly blind about the variety that can exists in the world, and how that variety can serve him best.

  9. Ahh Rollo…the eternal question for men…

    “Sometimes a Man Stands Up” by Rainer Maria Rilke

    “Sometimes a man stands up during supper
    and walks outdoors, and keeps on walking,
    because of a church that stands somewhere in the East.

    And his children say blessings on him as if he were dead.

    And another man, who remains inside his own house,
    dies there, inside the dishes and in the glasses,
    so that his children have to go far out into the world
    toward that same church, which he forgot.”

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