Venture #11: Life at the Shack (Aransas Pass, TX)

Despite initial apprehension about downsizing my living space, the first impression I had of my new home was quite the opposite than I initially expected. “Its perfect”. I had reached a new minimalist milestone. What could be more minimalist than living out of my Patagonia bag and having a bunk atop a fishing guide shop? The longer I lived at Slowride Guide Services the more simple my life got, and I became increasingly grateful for the luxury our shack offered. A true guide’s paradise.

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The entrance to my new living quarters.

The shack was equipped with everything you could want for an outdoor life. An antique building so close to nature in every way that it even had spaces between the floor, walls, and ceiling for “natural ventilation”.  The sea provided fish which not only generated our income but a delicious dinner we enjoyed almost weekly. Our shack graced us with a bountiful garden. Fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, grapefruit, eggplant, and more grew behind our outdoor kitchen.

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Homemade Pico’ fresh from the garden.

 I have to admit I was a little overwhelmed when I first walked into the shack. Kayaks, paddle boards, pfds, paddles, seats, fishing poles, and milk crates holding anchors were packed into every corner of the front room. In the same room, a workshop for tying flies merged into a rod and reel repair system that lines one entire wall of the shop, front to back. Any space where there wasn’t something used in the outdoors was occupied by pictures, stickers, magazines, and relics of the outdoors. Literally every wall, surface, nook, and cranny beamed with passion.

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Writing blogs after the day’s work.

We used the back room as a storage room, personal gym, and food preparation area. We were nearly a self-sufficient compound fixing our own gear; not just rods and reels but our trucks, trailers, and kayaks too. If loading and unloading sixteen-foot kayaks from elevated boat trailers weren’t already enough, the shack also had its own weight loss program. A punching bag and bench press occupied the middle of a makeshift kitchen. Makeshift kitchen is defined as having no cooking appliances except a fridge, microwave, and single burner stove.

 Upstairs, the living quarters consisting of two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a back porch. On dark and stormy nights we sipped cold beers on that back porch. Watching purple lightning storms strike across the sky was a different feeling from our usual sunsets. Next to the captain’s personal room was my room which originally had no door when I arrived. My quarters: a simple room with two twin beds, a nightstand, one chair, and one picture on the green wall.

 Even when the captain and Kelly would leave for the day I was still not alone. KC, the stray “kitty cat” who lived at the shop, and Luna, the captain’s pride and joy, provided companionship. It wasn’t long until the days started to run together. We never knew who would walk through the door that day, but I learned that everyone who does has a story.  Living at the shack you learn about those on the road; where they are from, where they are going, and what made them who they are today. My favorite stories were the ones we made together.

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Front Porching was one of my favorite times of the day.

 Captain: “You’re a free spirit. To other people, they ask why you are working this job, but it’s all part of the plan.”
Me: “What do you mean? I want to become a guide”
Captain: “Right, you like to travel and have a supreme love of nature which is what you and I share. That is why we do what we do. Not everyone understands that passion and they only think about money.”
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