Many New Year’s resolutions don’t pan out because you simply are not passionate about them.  Yet many of the passions you may have remain unfulfilled because you did not set them as a firm priority in your life.

I have one primary passion this year of 2011: sharing my travels through writing and photography.  My specific goal is to complete Book 2 of the trilogy “In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss.” This book will be called SAILING THE SOUTH PACIFIC.  I look forward to writing it; in fact, I already drafted the first five chapters in 2010, before my focus became to get the first book, MAIDEN VOYAGE, published and available on

One might think that merely pursuing one’s passion is easy.  I like to write.  I like to adjust my travel photos in PhotoShop.  I love participating in the design-and-layout process involved in producing my coffee table books. But I learned one lesson well from sailing around the world: turning dreams into reality requires more than passion. So many other things in life tend to interfere.  Achieving a goal requires passion plus purpose.

So my purpose this year is to spend a minimum of two hours every day of creative writing.   My friend, the late “Captain Jack,” to whom my first book is dedicated, kept reminding me that 2 hours per day x 365 = 730 hours.  If a writer can write 1 page in each two-hour session, a reasonable expectation, he or she would have the draft of a 365-page book completed by the end of the year!

Posted on the door to my “writing den,” (I refuse to have an “office” since I retired from business), is the following poem by Horace Mann:

Lost, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset,

two golden hours,

each set with sixty diamond minutes.

No reward is offered,

for they are gone forever.

The 26th of December, Gunter and I awoke to an empty calendar.  There was not one appointment or TO DO marked in that white square.  After the holiday parties, and then the hectic build-up to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day—even though we enjoyed it all—we breathed a sigh of relief.  We could do whatever we wanted! Or nothing at all.

At first, we elected to stay in our PJs and to read the Sunday papers and magazine, while munching on toast with peanut butter, eating fruit, and enjoying that second cup of coffee.

Then, with the enthusiasm of little kids, we talked about what we could do. The wide world opened before us like an oyster.  The experience of wonder and anticipation reminded us of what it was like on Pacific Bliss when we announced a “Free Day” to our crew.  Some would elect to simply stay on the boat and read or catch up on personal matters. Others would take a walk or a swim. Sometimes, we would sign up for a day tour of whatever island we were on. But it all took on the aura of adventure because it was unplanned.

Why hadn’t we thought of making such a “Free Day” part of our life on land?  We vowed to do so in 2011.  We plan to scribble an occasional “Free Day” into our calendar.  That’s easy.  The hard part will be to keep that day blank.  Free. Unencumbered. Adventurous.

After we finally dressed, we set out to explore someplace near that we hadn’t been to in a while.  We selected O.B. (Ocean Beach), the town next door to P.B. (Pacific Beach), where we live. We walked down the main street like tourists, gawking at the ear-piercing studios, second-hand stores, beach souvenirs, and bar upon bar, cheering on the local Chargers football team.  We wandered into one bar and perched on bar stools, sharing a mug of amber ale and two pieces of Big Kahuna ham-and-pineapple pizza. And watched the Chargers lose their last chance to snag a play-off berth.  Even so, it was a wonderful day.

A Free Day.  Be sure to add it to your New Year’s resolutions.