I love my family. I really do. But sometimes, I just need to get away from it all. From family. From work. From life. It’s not that I don’t enjoy my family’s company. And, it’s not that I don’t want to spend time with them either. Just, sometimes I need some “me” time. And, for some reason, the rest of my family decided that while I’m home, I’m not allowed to have any of that “me” time. So, this is what I have resorted to.

I was in my truck driving along the highway when I spotted a boat sitting out by the beach. For years, as a I drove to work, I saw this thing every day but never actually noticed it. It was an old row boat. The once vibrant paint was now faded and chipped beyond belief. Sitting out in the weather for years gave the boat a lot of character. I think that’s what drew me in to investigate the boat at first.

One weekend, I drove down the highway and pulled off the road near where the boat was located. As I got out of my truck, I grabbed my flashlight and threw my sunglasses on. I walked up to the row boat and gave it a gentle tap with my flashlight to make sure nothing was living in it. A few lizards darted away in every direction but mine. Beyond that, the boat was lonely. I looked around and didn’t notice any houses nearby or any signs that this boat still belonged to somebody. Judging by the weathering and how sunken the boat was into the ground, nobody had touched this thing in years. It was abandoned.

I took a quick walk around the boat to see what kind of shape the thing was in. Beyond the paint chipping, the boat looked in great shape. The body held up to the test of time. And, none of the wood was rotted out. I placed a hand on the bench inside and firmly pried and pushed it. The thing never had any give. The wood was solid through and through.

As I was investigating the boat, I glanced up for a moment and looked out to the water. Amongst all the blue was a tan and green dot of land about a mile away from the shore. The boat seemed like it was pointed to that island. I looked around for any oars that I could use. After searching around for a few minutes, I didn’t find anything. I looked at the boat again and back out to that island. This trip would have to wait for another day.

On Tuesday of the next week, I drove out to the local sports equipment store after work and grabbed a set of oars. Nothing fancy. Just enough to be able to get the boat moving in the water. After buying them, I threw them into the bed of my truck and thought about immediately driving out to the boat and testing them while seeing if the boat could actually float or not. But, that would have to wait for the weekend.

It was a long and tedious week. Work was particularly boring that week and felt like it was never going to end. By the time the weekend rolled around, I was almost too exhausted from boredom to go out that weekend. But, I had waited this long and I needed to see if that boat could make it out to the island. I never told anybody else about the thing. I don’t know why. I just wanted to keep it my secret. My piece of sanity hidden away from everybody else.

When I decided to go out for the trip, I made a quick excuse that I was going to be out for a little bit and quickly drove out to the secluded spot on the beach. I grabbed the oars from my truck bed and threw them into the boat. I slid off my shoes and threw them into the boat too. I let my feet sink into the sand for a moment before I began pushing the old row boat out to the gentle ocean. Today was the perfect day to test this out. The water was smooth as glass and the waves gently nipped into shore rather than their usual surge.

After some struggling to initially get it loose, the boat slid through the sand and gently floated out into the water. Not a single leak popped up in the boat as the entire bottom now rested on the water. I let out a cheer with this minor success. I quickly hopped into the boat and set up the oars. With a few strokes, I was already a few feet from shore.

I kept rowing and rowing and aimed for the island that I could see from the mainland. It was definitely a lot more work than I initially anticipated and my body was quickly covered in sweat. But, after rowing for about 30 minutes, I finally made it.

The bottom of the boat scraped up against the sand on the edge of the beach. I quickly hopped out and pulled the boat up onto the shore. It was perfect. I looked around and not a single soul was to be seen for miles. I pulled out my phone and checked the signal. I didn’t think I was that far from shore but, my phone read “no service.” I had found my sanctuary where I could escape from everybody and take a break. I slid my phone back into my pocket and plopped down onto the beach. I listened to the water slide onto shore and I looked over to the old boat. This was definitely going to become a new hang out spot. And, this boat was going to be my trusted partner in crime. Maybe next week I’d bring a cooler along. Just me, my boat, and a little solitude.

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