Sam loves the land, while his father loves the sea. Sam's Dad had been a sailor once, but when Sam was born, he took a job working on the docks in New York. Sam's Dad, though, prefers the sea, "wet and big and endless." He says, "the land is no place for a Gribley," but Sam, as he sits on the mountain, knows that for him, "the land (is) just the place for a Gribley" (Chapter 2 - "I Get Started on this Venture").
Sam is adventurous, and his Dad is too. Sam has resolved to run off and live alone on the mountain, and, though his Dad laughs at him, he understands, because when he had been Sam's age, he had wanted to run off looking for adventure too. Sam's Dad had almost gotten on a boat headed for Singapore, but at the last minute, he had changed his mind, running back down the gangplank just before the boat had set off from the shore. Still, Sam's Dad knows what it feels like to want to run away and do things on his own. When Sam tells his Dad about his plans, his Dad says, "Sure, go try it. Every boy should try it" (Chapter 2 - "I Get Started on this Venture").
Sam is more determined than his Dad was as a boy; he knows that he will carry out his plans, but his Dad does not believe that he will. When Sam sets out to live alone on the mountain, his Dad says, "If you find the place, tell someone at Delhi...I may visit you someday." Sam knows that he is kidding though, because in truth, his Dad "thought (he'd) be home the next day." To everyone's surprise, Sam does indeed go up the mountain, and manages to live his dream for a time. He has accomplished what his Dad did not as a boy, following through and making his adventure a reality (Chapter 3 - "I Find Gribley's Farm").