I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor. Marjorie Holmes
Finding ourselves one month from our desired departure date, it seems that we are indeed sailing into the wind. November was an incredibly busy month. The beginning of the month, our last single child, Derek James, married the love of his life, Cathryn Ellwell. The last of our offspring is out of the nest. We can be content knowing each of our three children have found their soul mates for love, comfort and support as we sail off to distant destinations. It was great timing having the wedding as friends and family gathered at our home for the rehearsal dinner. It was probably the last time we will all be together for quite some time. The event served as a gathering of the wedding party, and for Dan and I, our hearts told us this was our farewell feast. The last 30 years in our home we have hosted epoch events, from weddings and birthdays to murder mystery and holiday gatherings. There really is no way to prepare for what we are about to embark upon, but having everyone we care about around us on these final days on land, was truly special.
The first few weeks of November brought a flurry of house seekers. A multitude of house showings led to two offers on our farm. Both of them were way below our asking price and we struggled with the idea of taking much lower price than we anticipated, or holding out for our asking price. Looking at comps in the area, we are comfortable that we are in range of where we should be, if not a little on the low side. After much consternation, we decided to hold out as taking less money will reduce our cruising kitty and may mean we can’t complete our 10-year planned route. We understand that house hunting may come to a complete standstill over the holidays, but we feel a delay is better than settling for a quicker departure without our funds intact.
As November comes to a close and December is upon the doorstep, we sit, waiting, in an almost empty home. There are no decorations to put out, only sparse furniture remaining to stage our home. Our boat waits for us at Bowleys Marina, one of the last few boats in the water. Most everyone, other than a few die hard liveaboards, have pulled their boats from the water. We are in a state of flux as we only leased the slip until December. We don’t want to haul Equus out in case a miracle happens and someone buys the house. We want to be ready to go. We don’t know if we want to keep the boat at Bowleys as the marina is over an hour away. Winter months bring harsh weather and we want to have quick access to the boat should the weather turn nasty. Dan is looking into marinas closer to home, perhaps in the Philadelphia area.
For now, we will continue to beat into the wind, and dream about the day we can cast of the lines and begin our journey. From the many people I have encountered who have chosen the sailing lifestyle; no one has voiced any regrets. In fact, from what I have gleaned from those who have gone before us, there is quite an extensive list of benefits which I need to keep in front of me to remind me that this decision of ours will be incredible and the journey of a lifetime. Here is my top 10 list, generated from those who have experienced this dream for themselves.
TOP 10 LIST OF WHY YOU SHOULD SAIL AROUND THE WORLD
Number One: The Ocean. Plain and simple, the ocean is a vast, wondrous playground. Above the water you are treated to color injected sunrises and sunsets. Its surface is a place to paddleboard, kayak, kite board and sail and has been medically proven to calm the soul and bring health and happiness. Below the surface is magical marine life waiting to be experienced. Its diversity and beauty is unimaginable and each new location will bring new sightings and unique discoveries.
Number Two: Being master of your domain. In the world we live in today, we are tied to jobs, tied to homes, tied to our material possessions. Casting off the landlines means total freedom and being in control of every aspect of your life. You go where you want to go, when you want to go. You are captain of your ship and you learn the hardships of survival but reap the joys of total autonomy. Sailing around the world is not a walk in the park; it is a life changing adventure and a decision to control your own destiny.
Number Three: Unique experiences. Sailing to distant atolls, island and countries and meeting people from all over the world are experiences you just don’t get living on land. There is so much in this great world to see. Even by traveling the traditional routes, you don’t get to see the same parts of the world you do when sailing. The magic of the journey will occur when we realize the moments we are experiencing are unique and would never have been possible had we remained in our complacent lives on land. We will have no boundaries and will be visiting places on our Earth not seen by most human beings.
Number four: Visiting every continent. If we calculated the time, costs and effort needed to take a vacation on every continent on this planet, I’m sure both of us working full time would still not allow us that luxury. In addition, a planned week or two of vacation limits sightseeing to only a few locations. We can take our time and explore every island and remote location we have dreamed of visiting. If we love a place, we can stay a little longer, if we don’t like it we can move along. There are no reservations to change, no worries about booking hotels or finding places to stay. We will be modern day adventurers on a world safari.
Number five: Good company. I have been told by many people who have become liveaboard sailors, the quality of company on the sea is like none on land. There is such a common bond among sailors that instant friendships are developed. While most see sailing as a solitary lifestyle, the opposite is true. Sailing couples have developed their closest friendships while at sea. Because of the trade wind crossing routes, boats tend to end up in many of the same locations simultaneously, and continue to meet at many destinations. And when friends and family do come visit us on the boat! Well, the fun and adventure we are having will be shared with those we already know and love.
Number six: Solitude. Leaving behind the ever increasing noise, confusion, problems, stress and congestion of life on land is huge. I personally am looking forward to having time to write without all the external struggles pulling my mind away from my creativity. Everyone asks me how I will deal with crossing oceans and being in solitude for weeks at a time. I relish the opportunity to find solitude and have nothing but the open ocean and my husband as my companion. I laugh when people tell me they would be bored stuck on a boat in the ocean for weeks at a time. The intensity of being there, the smells, the sights and the magnificence of the sea is absolutely awe inspiring. In essence, there is not really solitude, just a sense of peace and being one with the universe.
Number Seven: The food. I personally find joy in food – all types of food. I can’t wait to visit every country and make this trip partly about a culinary safari. I want to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, local delicacies from all over the world. I want to become an amazing cook. I want to learn to catch fish and make sushi. I want to be able to dive beneath my boat and surface with a lobster and grill it in butter on the back of my boat. I want to eat healthy and fresh, be away from GMO’s and processed foods.
Number Eight: Finding adventure. This trip will be by no means a cake walk. Dan and I often read and listen to stories from other sailors about mishaps, things that go wrong and chaos rearing its head at most unfortunate times. When something goes wrong in a home, you call the plumber or the carpenter and you get it fixed. If you are handy, you fix it yourself. When things go wrong at sea, you are often faced with life and death decisions. You must think clearly, act with precision, and make the right choices. While this may not be pleasant, there is a satisfaction in suffering through adversity and coming out on top. It makes you stronger, more confident and makes you appreciate the good days without complications. Dan and I have always been up for adventure, and I’m sure we will meet lots of it along our route.
Number nine: Finding places with 0 cell reception. Being off the grid is something we are both looking forward to experiencing. The most wonderful places we visit will be those with no electricity, no cell phone reception and only accessible by boat. We will be visiting some touristy places, I’m sure, but that secluded beach, on that secluded island, watching the sunset with a dark and stormy, is what we dream about most.
Number 10: Happiness. With nothing but time to work on our physical and mental happiness, we hope to be healthier and happier than we ever thought possible. We will be living our dream. Life doesn’t get any better than that.