ROATAN, Honduras The doctor knows best. "Put sunscreen on that pale skin," he barks on the snorkel boat.
"I did, I did," I protest.
"Have some of mine. It's 30-proof."
I wave my own bottle of SPF 30. He persists. Finally, I slather on a third coat, just to stop the nagging.
C'mon, man, I've been in Roatan a week now. If I'm still this pale, don't you reckon I've mastered sunscreen?
But my calves resemble boiled ham, so I look like an idiot and am treated accordingly.
Having shielded me from skin cancer, the doc decides to sort out the rest of my life. The 75-year-old just emerged from the jungle, where he runs a twice yearly clinic on a former banana plantation. The plastic surgeon leads a 12-strong team of volunteers, sewing up hare lips and machete-fight scars. Then they retreat to Anthony's Key Resort, snorkel, dive, drink beer and boom Alabaman jokes over happy hour in the pool.
He grills me about the writing life. I'm bored, so I respond, rather than ducking the interrogation, as usual.
I confess how much I travel. Sixty-to-seventy percent of this year. Too much. Needs to halve.
What are you running from? he asks. Very revealing question, this.
Well, it's more 'running to', I explain. Home is good. But I just can't see a train or plane without wondering, 'where does that one go? Can I get on it?'.
"With no anchor, why not float?
And maybe I am too.