On August 27, 2019 Paul and I celebrated our Boat Life 2-Year Anniversary. In so many ways things still feel fresh and new and the learning curve only slightly shrunken. In other ways, we’ve learned a great deal and are certainly more comfortable with many aspects of the sailing life today than two years ago. By no means do we feel like “old salts” yet we’re not complete newbies. We couldn’t possibly be with 7000 nautical miles, 10 countries and about 15 islands under our keel.
We’ve made friends that are more like family, and have been lucky enough to maintain and strengthen relationships with loved ones that have supported us, and even shared in our endeavors, whether virtually or by joining us on the Rita Kathryn. A look back over the past two years, it’s been the experience of a lifetime.
Paul and I have fairly different perspectives on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but we have more in common than not, on foundational aspects of this lifestyle for sure. In retrospect, it’s clear to us both how incredibly stressful our lives were before. It’s completely transformative to take away those rat-racy stressors and live a lifestyle that allows you the time and space to move to the beat of your own internal drum. Unfortunately, Paul and I have experienced profound loss, tragedy, and even illness that made this leap of faith seem past due. Life is oh so very short, and having life in a healthy, vibrant fashion is much shorter than that.
The sailing life is not stress-free, nor perfect, nor ideal. It’s just very different. Ultimately, it gives what I see as perhaps the two most transformative gifts of all: time and perspective. It’s more of something that can be equated to an acute awareness and presence. Rather than rushing through motions that are often void of depth and meaning, rather than facing parameters and choices that others impose, you make your own plans and fulfill your desires as needed, and in your own time.
No, you don’t evade unpleasant ills of society, nor life. And there’s plenty of responsibility properly running and navigating a sailboat. Yet sailing life has allowed us to develop a gratitude for seeing it all very differently thanks to the freedom and time it permits, to truly imbibe life. It’s a gift to live simply yet fully, often transcendent.
There’s great gratification in doing things unconventionally and developing a self-sufficiency that you would not have had otherwise. It is easy to let life get complicated beyond our own control. Being able to step back and take in the beauty of humanity is a great gift we’ve found this life allows.
We are human, we are imperfect, there is often beauty in the imperfections that may go unseen and unappreciated. This is not to say that sailing is the only way to develop gratitude and be reflective, but it is certainly a very conducive way of life for allowing it. Maybe it suits us so well because we have the wanderlust and are adventurers at heart. Others may dream of spending their free time home, surrounded by their own ideas of the ideal.
It’s far from easy to put yourself out there, often I crave the comforts of not having to deal with the simplest of tasks being seemingly, unreasonably difficult. Then, you come to witness unspeakable beauty, magical moments in nature, find a kindred spirit in someone you would never have met otherwise, or you find yourself faced with a decision you never imagined you’d have the courage, or need, to make. We’ve found unbounded charms by embracing the journey and often humbled by taking the road less traveled.
Sound like life, no matter where you are, land or sea…? It often can be. And more often than not you find it’s your attitude that determines whether you’re going to make it an ordeal or an adventure.