Soul of a Sailor


Let’s get into this song

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Before reading on; let’s get the song rolling

Sunday night I was driving home from Georgia late at night so the road was pretty empty. It was around Melbourne Florida when Kenny Chesney’s “Soul of a Sailor” came on my satellite radio. This is one of my favorite songs and got me thinking about it’s meaning to me and about music and the impact it has had on my life.

I am a wannabe musician and amateur poet/songwriter. As such I tend to focus on lyrics and the meaning behind them. I have been the lead singer in a few bands and as any singer can tell you, when you are singing a song that really harmonizes with your soul, when those words really find a place in your heart; you can feel it through your entire body. This for me is one for those songs.

To me having a soul of a sailor means having a nomadic soul or a wrestles spirit. Since leaving home for the Army when I was 17 I didn’t stay in one place for too long. For me, I am not one who will ever be happy in the “normal” American life; I am not one who will find fulfillment in roots. “I can’t be still” and when I am for too long I get stir crazy and have to move on. “I can’t be tied”, bound, or otherwise stuck into any one location or way of life. For me I need to know that I can change it all in a blink. To me this is freedom and real happiness.

“The only time I feel alive is, when the wind fills my sail, riding on a lifelong swell”. This is the crux of what this song means to me. I feel most alive in the face of uncertain waters and in times of transition. When life’s winds fill my sails and I am off to another adventure, to write another chapter to my story, typically with little more than a vague recollection as to my next port; this is somehow where I find peace, even among the chaos.

“Let my heart take me where it wants to go”. No restrictions, no boundaries, just my heart to guide my way. Though not with total disregard, I tend to act on impulse; and this has led to some amazing times in my life. Admittedly it has led to some hardships as well, but I have became pretty good at turning those times into a positive. As Jimmy said, “roll with the punches…make the best out of whatever comes your way”. The road less traveled for me has truly made all the difference.

“Here’s to love lost and newfound friends”. Perhaps this is the statement of living such a lifestyle; but I think we all experience this. In life friends and love comes and goes but it’s all part of the human experience. For me meeting new people and making new friends is one of the highlights of the human experience and I have made many new friends along the way.

“Living out life in the boat we’re in” is perhaps the one part of the song I disagree with. In fact I even wrote a song to the contrary. Perhaps how I take it isn’t as intended but then again, art is nothing if not subjective.

I take this as accepting where we are in life and just kind of dealing with how life is, the cards that were dealt, the boat we were born into. For me I never settle nor chose to live out life in a situation or boat that doesn’t make me smile. We are the only ones that can change the boats we are all in and I have been at the helm of many as I have navigated my way through life till now.

But in the end to me this is a ballad for real freedom, a break from how we are programmed to live our lives. It’s the adventurer, the thrill seeker, or the explorer in me that it speaks to. This song is for those of us who long to always be on a broad reach heading for the horizon. Through, calm, following, or confused seas we live to experience it all knowing all the while that the pleasure will be worth all the pain. But then again, it’s that spirit that has always been the driving force and the true soul of a sailor.

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