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“He no longer dreamed of storms, nor of women, nor of great occurrences, nor of great fish, nor fights, nor contests of strength, nor of his wife. He only dreamed of places now and the lions on the beach.” The Old Man and The Sea

Santiago, Ernest Hemingway’s protagonist in the book, The Old Man and The Sea, is a fisherman who goes offshore and finds the greatest catch of his life. A classic tale of endurance in adventure, of the love of sea and the reflections of those he leaves behind.

As Santiago unravels the greatest discovery bound against the vastness of the sea, on a sunny Monday afternoon, I sat across a man who had push his own limits to find the beauty that lay beneath the unpredictable current of the ocean.

Simon Davis is a chiropractor by profession but a true sailor by heart. He has spent the last couple of years going through the breeze and waves of different continents by his favored sailboat he names Skimpy. On a chance encounter traveling to the Marshall Islands, Simon registered his Yacht under the surprisingly existing Port of Bikini. Highlighting the playfulness of his character.

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A well-built man with a dream bigger than himself, Simon has long dreamed of cruising around the world since the age of 18 years old. Having parents who encourage traveling might have been his first trigger, but having come from, as Simon says, “one of the most isolated city in the world,” namely Perth, his yearning to see beyond the cityscapes made him plunge into the unknown.

After a few minutes into our conversation, it was easy to grasp how much joy he found in the world. A couple of times, he would throw his big hearty laugh, other times, his facial expression were often at ease as he took a bite into his Veggie Brie. What was most memorable about Simon was when sharing something exciting, he would have this habit of making a giddy grin that highlighted the sparkle in his eye and crowfeet around it. It was without a doubt he had found the pleasure of living in the now.

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Since his first decision to sail against the sea, he has gathered quite a following of 5o people – by personal invitation or through social media – who carry the same attitude of life of enjoying music, adventure, and definitely good food. “Life is too short to eat bad food,” he says in determination. As a food person, Simon, has luckily surrounded himself with a number of people who have the right skills (him included) to cook everything from risotto, pasta, and even bake good bread. As people often question the probability of sailing with good food, Simon ensures with his fellow travelers, they make a pit stop to get good vegetables that can  complement their ability to spear good fish.

Sailing at this point was more than a personal pursuit. It became a daring a place of communion. Skimpy Sailing became a website Simon built as a platform to document his wild and passionate discoveries. Other than the fact that sailing in groups accounted for better safety, he strongly believes moments are meant to be shared —  “If you cannot share your experience with someone then what is the point.”

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Crossing borders was not only about living lime light of enjoyment. It was also about seeking balance. Simon and his traveling friends ensure they remind themselves to get back to grassroots and immerse in the act of giving. Throughout his travels, rather than providing monetary funds to those in need, he has been hands on in providing supplies to charities and giving a helping hand every now and then.

Simon is a big appreciator of life. The humanitarian part of him always feels at one with a sense of community. As a group, the Skimpy Sailors may travel with their own agenda, but there is one golden rule applied to each one on board: “every single day we would watch the sunset, listen to jazz music, drink cocktails, maybe have a cigar and talk about life, art, and philosophy.”

“If you don’t stop, it passes you by,” confirming his utmost gratitude in life.

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Before we part our ways. I was curious with all this daring adventure and seeking his own freedom. What did freedom mean to him?

“One would be time – freedom of time. To have the space in your life to follow your passion and financial freedom to do what you love. Follow the inklings and itching of your soul, whether it is to go to a place or to do something.”

Even though in two years time, after his next sailing adventures, Simon might call quits to try something as new as mountain climbing. Skimpy has always been part of the passion and inspiration he looked for.

As Santiago faced the upheaval and abundant promise of discovery, Simon hopes by attracting people to his own experience he will inspire people to seek the direction that makes their heart sing and follow through.

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– Athina Ibrahim
Photography by Gabriela Bhaskar and Simon Davis