Here’s a fresh tale of immigration that you haven’t heard.
But hold on… it’s nothing political. It’s not what you think.
It’s a love story – the kind that Hollywood would never share.
You see, Alaska is filled with folks whose internal compasses are a few degrees off north. That’s probably what brought them to the 49th state in the first place.
Most Alaskans are adventurous. They’re independent. And they think a bit differently from most folks.
John Martin fits the mold.
He’s homeless. He’s been in jail. And he’s quite a thorn in the side of the state’s politicians… who have a nasty habit of taking the few things he owns.
But, like most men, Martin gets lonely.
The Love Boat Dinghy
Earlier this year, he started to miss his wife and son who were living in China – where he, too, lived until American authorities revoked his passport.
Homeless men don’t typically have the funds to fly to China on a whim. So Martin did what many coastal Alaskans would do.
He got in a boat.
In this case, he got into an 8-foot inflatable dinghy. It’s the sort of thing you might see shuttling a handful of grocery bags to a sailboat in a busy harbor. It’s not what any of us would want to cross the Bering Sea in.
But love is love, and China is a big target.
Martin rigged up a small sail, grabbed a handful of salmon bellies (what most folks would use only for bait), a bottle of grape juice, some bread and a compass.
“Honey, here I come,” he surely said.
But the winds of fate and the ocean’s currents are fickle.
Martin missed his big target.
Instead, Russian authorities picked him up in a small coastal town in Siberia.
They charged him with illegal immigration and tossed him in jail.
But as Martin did so many times before, he talked his way through the criminal justice system. Charges were dropped, and Russia jailers opened their gate.
He’s being deported… but the homeless Alaskan must pay his own way home.
Until he gets the funds, he’s free to roam the streets of Russia.
We expect we’ll see him hopping into another rickety raft soon enough. He’ll push off from some distant sandy shore, with a firm destination in mind, but no real hopes of getting there.
Where You Headed, Sir?
“Andy,” we can hear many readers sighing, “what the hell are you telling us this for?”
Good question… to be honest, we just like the story and needed something to write about this morning.
But unlike most tales that come our way, this one made us stop and think.
It churned something deep inside.
And if we’re true to those thoughts that we’ve all learned to shove to the dark, dank and cobweb-filled section of our minds, we’ll soon admit that we’re quietly rooting for Martin.
He’s doing what we’d all love to do.
He’s got the guts to follow his guts.
And it’s not ignorance that’s filling his sails.
In fact, at one of his (many) trials, an expert witness claimed Martin has an IQ of 135. That’s stretching into genius territory.
Still, some of the folks stuck in a cultural rut don’t believe he’s smart. They say he’s simply crazy… the result of a possible brain injury.
And others point a finger and call him a religious nut.
We won’t judge.
We’ve never met the man.
But we do know our Triad is alive and well in him. It shines through like a beacon during a cold night at sea.
It’s his yearning for strong Connections that led him to the water.
It’s his Know-How that kept him alive.
And it’s his lust for Liberty that released the mental shackles that would hold so many folks back.
We pick up our pen and write about the man not because he’s a good man. No, the justice system has failed him and all of us by letting him loose so many times.
And we certainly don’t share his tale to inspire others to blow up a raft and hit the high seas.
That’d get us sued.
Instead, we hope Martin’s story – his adventure at sea, his time in a Russian jail and his dedication to getting to those he loves – stirs something in the back of readers’ minds.
Like swinging our arms through a cobweb that blocks our path, we hope what he’s done clears the way for steps that haven’t been taken.
We’ve all dreamed of doing what Martin did.
But, we must ask, what does he have that we don’t?
He’s not perfect – far from it. But he’s inspiring.
We hope his tale encourages you to do something new.
P.S. Our mailbag loaded up on Friday with folks who are excited to join us in Maine. But we aren’t quite ready to pen in any final names. That means there’s still time to let us know you’re interested in joining us and 20 other like-minded folks next September at one of Maine’s finest resorts. Click here to drop us a note and get on our interest list.