All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. Anatole France
For months now, we’ve been broadcasting our intent to leave everything behind and embark on our voyage around the world. We’ve fixed our home up to sell, dispersed our farm animals, found our boat, and sailed her home. We’ve slowly been digesting the fact that our 30-year dream is going to become a reality. Somehow, even with all we’ve done, it didn’t seem real, until now. What made it finally seem real? Reality hit like a cold, hard, brick when I went to my mailbox and took out a copy of our local paper, The New Town Press. I opened the paper to the feature article and there was a picture of Dan and I staring back at me with the headline, “10 year sail around the world is a lifetime in the making for this Woolwich couple”.
I knew the article was going to be published as Jean Redstone, the author, interviewed Dan and I. Her interest was piqued by our unusual story and she picked and pried our brains for juicy tidbits that could tie into the article. She did a wonderful job of weaving our interests and personalities into the story line. And even though I am constantly writing about our preparations, nothing makes a greater impact than reading a story about yourself that someone else wrote. There it was, in black and white, not written by me. That is when my stomach did a little flip flop and reality settled in with a sense of permanency.
It is an interesting fact that a vast majority of people who buy boats and plan to sail around the world, never actually leave. They take a few trips, or maybe never even get out of their home harbor. For them, when reality hits home, it overwhelms them and they find they can’t actually follow through with their plans. Fear, uncertainty, melancholy for all that will be left behind certainly creeps into the recesses of my mind occasionally, but then I think about how lucky we are and the exciting adventures that are yet to come. Those negative feelings quickly melt like butter on a hot potato and I think how happy we are now just sitting on our boat at the marina.
We spent the 4th of July weekend aboard our boat and took some day sails. Our son Philip came down to take a sailing lesson on our old boat, the Dove. He and our middle child, Derek, will be inheriting the Dove, the sailing vessel (SV) that Dan cruised the Chesapeake on as a young adult and eventually inherited. It is being passed down to our boys (our daughter Katie lives in California) but they need a few lessons before we send them out on their own. Patience is a virtue that Dan displays well, so with incredible patience and fatherly love, he put Philip behind the helm and passed his sailing knowledge down a generation. It was wonderful to behold and a joy to know our passion is spreading to our children.
While Dan focused on sailing lessons and other small projects aboard Equus, I had some very special visitors for the weekend. My very good friend Renee Richman has kindly taken my beloved friends Otis and Vesey into her care while we are away. We recently made the transition. It is sad to know they probably won’t be around when we return so each time I see them, a little part of me dies as the reality of leaving our lives behind sets in. As I sit here writing this, tears are streaming down my face. They are such faithful and loving animals and everyone asks how I can bear to leave them behind. Dogs don’t do well crossing oceans. I know the reality of that. What is important to me is that they are happy and well adjusted with someone who loves them as much as I do. They come visit me on the farm but Dan has always forbidden me to bring them to the boat. He finally caved as I pleaded with him to have my dogs on my boat once. I wanted to experience their joy and love in my new setting and know just once, the happiness I wish I could have on a permanent basis. They were as exuberant as I to spend the weekend with us on the boat.
I even took them on my new paddle board as they love all boating activities. They shared cheese at happy hour and I cooked them an egg for breakfast. It was a sweet reunion and while it reminded me how much I love my animals, I also feel our new lives and experiences are going to be worth the trade-offs we have to make. A wonderful chapter in our life is closing and a new one is opening. It is bittersweet in many ways, a little like a part of us is dying, but the rebirth into a whole new world is going to be amazing.
As this chapter is ending and our new one beginning, I feel it important to solidify and properly usher in the changes. That will be accomplished first and foremost by our boat naming ceremony at the end of the month. We will appease Neptune with the proper de-naming protocol, and then perform the renaming ceremony complete with an audience of family and friends. We will break champagne on the bow, pour wine into the water from all four compass directions to honor each of the wind gods, and place her new name on her sides. In addition, the preacher who married us will be present (Dan’s father, a retired Lutheran minister) and he will renew our wedding vows. I feel that with the beginning of our new lifestyle, such an incredibly different way of life, I wanted to honor and respect that change by renewing our vows. It is a new beginning for us, the culmination of our love story, our dream, and an adventure 30 years in the making. I want my husband to know that I feel like I am the luckiest woman on the planet and every moment I spend with him is precious. I want to look him in the eye and let him know I would, and am, doing it all over again. I am looking forward to the next 30 years as much as I have loved every moment of the last 30 years. There is no greater blessing than having your husband as your best friend – except maybe having the chance to live that dream twice.
Link to the New Town Press article: 10 year sail around the world is a lifetime in the making for this Woolwich couple