22 July 2013 | Dartmouth, N.S.
Alex, cool and breezy and sunny.
I never dreamed there was a possibility such as this, or of an Adventure such as this. Now I can't imagine a life other than this.
Dave and I left Halifax almost a year ago this week, and sailed and motored and motor-sailed ALL the way to Grenada. Which is kind of truly and really, pretty mind-boggling !!
Our year has been filled with Adventures, A bit of Boredom, Lots of Change, Dynamic Duo in the face of Diversity, Fun-Filled Friendships....
And after almost 365 days of life on Banyan
, travelling on the ocean's vast lane highways, and with over 4600 nautical miles now under our belt, what do we have to say, other than Yee-Ha, Wow,
Just what has happened to us as during this time? Well, re-reading our blogs, we know what
has happened. But what, if anything, has happened to us as a result of all this? Have we changed, and how?
I hemmed and hawed and with pencil to paper and eraser in hand when Dave politely asks,
"What ARE you doing?"
"Why trying to list the side effects of cruising" I happily responded, to which he replied in all seriousness,
"There are side effects?"
Well, we've become water saving, space hoarding minimalists, forget to wear our shoes when we go to land, bathing in the biggest bath-tub ever is normal, still can't catch fish for supper, have an unnatural fear of lurking barracuda that follow Banyan
and constantly scare us while snorkelling, sun kissed long haired gypsy-hippy'd fools? All for the cause of wanting to Live our Dream?
We used to live in a three level house and sometimes felt that that wasn't big enough, large enough with room enough to hold all of me, my life, all that was important to me, my husband, my clothes and oh, lets not forget my shoes. "In that order?" asked Dave noting that he'd been tossed in there somewhere between my clothes and my shoes. Ah, the womanly price of glamour, right? And no, cruising is nothing like Glamping.
With time we went from two households to one, then none and eventually we put all that was left of our stuff INto and ONto 40 feet of boat, and waved bye-bye as we sailed away from home, IN our home (and only half of the shoes we owned, plus one).
"What's the side effect in that?" Dave asked as he's waiting for me to find that replacement thing-a-ma-jiggie we know we packed and brought with us.
"Well, I know it's in here somewhere..." I said, "just give me a second to find it. I mean we live in 40 feet... how long could it take?" and he laughs as I twist my body into a serious pretzel look-alike in order to dig down and deep and most likely upside down to find the IT we' re looking for. So it's official, we're now acrobats!
And speaking of IT, since we couldn't find IT, we now have to go to the store and hope to buy IT. If we need an item or something breaks we can't just jump in the car and go to the store that we are used to being open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and find IT in the seventh aisle of similarly related items where you can feel the stress mount as you want to ensure you get the best product at the best price, bring it back only to find out there's a part or screw or two missing.
Now-a-days, we clamber into dinghy, and if we're lucky we remember to put on our shoes and close the hatches (always close the hatches !!), then try and find the store, sweating the uphill walk in blaring sun and heat, only to find out it's Siesta time. So we grab a beer at the nearest bar, lime with the locals as we wait, and then head back and although the sign says open at 3:00, it's 4:00 and the door is still closed. So you go back and have another beer. That's island time. Then you go home and try again tomorrow.
Living life on Island Time. What a concept. In our land-lubbing life we were driven to get ten things done, at once no less, to make room for ten more that needed doing and all the while multitasking at twenty other things, and somehow missing the point to it all.
"Today was a good day" I say.
"Why?" says he.
"We got our laundry done?!"
"Does that imply that we're getting kind of lazy?"
Getting provisions, doing laundry, shopping for IT, all have become major events where one task can easily (if all goes well) take all day, and usually requires celebratory drinks at the end of it all. Oh my, I feel we may be getting close to becoming alcoholics?
And ah, sipping sundowners, what a novel idea. The whole world should stop and sip on sundowners with fellow friends and neighbours as a way to end the day. Most times it involves meeting people from all anchors of life, forging friendships while watching sunsets, sharing adventures and opinions and munching on appetizers.... only to leapfrog away as soon as the weather changes and the winds blow everyone to new and different destinations. But somehow knowing deep down that the next time you meet it will be some other place and time and it will be just as much fun as if you've never parted ways.
But it's also about NOT being there for birthday cake or Sunday dinners with family and friends "back home" that somehow even if you had a stable WiFi connection as your boat swings in the blowing winds, Skype wouldn't help to give you the hug you so desperately want and need.
We used to be motivated by schedules, a watch and deadlines. Now we walk and talk and breathe the weather and the wind shifts rule our lives. Analyzing five different weather reports at once might help us determine what time of day or night we need to leave, how far we might get, and the compass rose provides direction on how land can best shelter us for the night. Sailing can be romantic and breath-taking as we spot the whales or play at the bow with the dolphins, but scary as we watch for weather and water spouts and sudden squalls and hope never to experience a man overboard.
Coming back to land-lubbing life this past week, we've felt overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the Abundance that surrounds all of us, do you see it?
It's made us feel a little bit lost and somewhat in limbo. This life of (some) unfriendly stress-filled frowns, sterile pre-packaged life-in-a-box while waiting endlessly in lines. Do you really NEED more so you can DO more so you can HAVE more so you can BE more?
Would you believe that we miss waking with the roosters and walking the streets with the goats and cows. We miss opening a carton of fresh-from-the field eggs that are mis-matched in size and colour and buying fresh fruits and veggies involves receiving them with the Earth they grew in. We love the busses that honk as they round a corner and cram "just one more person" beyond 18 in an 8 person van and stop whenever and wherever.
This week we find ourselves turning off the water in the shower while we soap and shampoo in our habit of conserving. We're remembering to wear our shoes, but already feel the call to buy one or two more pairs, until we look at each other and say "Really? We'll be barefoot again before long".
We find ourselves sitting close and side by side, elbows touching, in this three floor house as we watch half an hour of T.V. on the 50 inch flat screen and look at each other bug eyed and say "What? Was? That?" as the mind-numbing show draws to a close and the negative news is on repeat. And what's with Reality TV?
But oh the hugs from friends and family which are nearby and constant and that's a side effect that's beyond measure, oh-so-priceless and VERY REAL.
The Zen of Life guides the Self to Living in the Moment. For the moment we're living life on a boat, exploring our World and enjoying the wonderful people along the way. The many amazing moments we have lived have carried us very far and we've certainly changed because of it.
We appreciate more, and require less. We've slowed down more and rush less. We play more, laugh more, smile more... we OWN less but truly HAVE more.
Living the cruising life is about a shift, a change in one's perspective, an acceptance of what is. There are side effects and they will be different for everyone. It's not harder, nor is it easier, than landlubbing life. We love our journey most days and some moments we don't. But always we've grown, and been challenged, and awed from it and by it.
And at the end of the day, as we watch the sun set, and sip our sundowners, we look at each other and gratefully acknowledge that "Life. Is. Grand". We've seen things that made us go Yee-Ha, WOW and OMG... and that is what we were aiming for.
Sun and Sand and Salt in all. Yee-ha, WOW
!! Happy One Year cruising Anniversary to Banyan
Looking forward to Serious Side-Effects from Season 2.
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