Table of Contents
In Project Slocum Part 3 of 5, we provide updates on a few different topics since they all seem to interplay this week leading up to our trip to Ft. Lauderdale.
The Voyager’s Handbook
A few days ago, we began to read this 500+ page book by Beth Leonard. Ryan & Sophie Sailing recommended the book, saying that it can be found in almost every blue-water cruiser’s bookshelf. Based on this, we decided to purchase the second edition.
So far, I have read through 4 chapters, and the book has lived up to its endorsement. Here are some highlights that resonated with me:
- the person who left vs the person who returned
- never-ending series of extreme highs and intense lows
- process of growth and change in relationships
I will try to elaborate on each point in turn below.
The person who left
- viewed time as something to be constantly filled or lost forever
- too busy earning money to do simple tasks such as cleaning the house or baking bread
- never spent more than 48 hours alone with her partner over the course of their 4-year relationship
The person who returned
- time is the only space within which the soul can expand
- learned that no amount of money can compare with the value of self-sufficiency
- trusted her partner with her life and had been trusted with his
Roughly 30-years later, I find myself in the same position as Beth when she wrote this passage. It is also encouraging to see her journey as I have put faith in launching myself into a new life with no guarantees. I am putting faith in our future sailing vessel, in Andrew and in myself.
Extreme highs and lows
The essence of voyaging lies in trading the comforts of shore life for a wide range of vivid experiences. Voyaging is a life of extreme highs and lows - from admiring the sun setting behind the twin peaks of Bora-Bora to being hove-to in a gale off Durban while seawater drips into your bunk. Distilling these extremes into words like “fun” or “pleasant” misses the essence of life.
Emotional extremes are the antithesis of what we strive for ashore. The average American equates success with security, stability, comfort and convenience. Extremes are kept to manageable and predictable levels. But when you cut out the lows, you also truncate the highs.
A few weeks ago as I was having lunch with a close friend and telling her my decision to quit my job, I described this to her in so many words. Once again, I take solace in the fact that we all are experiencing the same human condition. Some have the ability to act upon it now. Some have accepted their lot in life. Still others may embark on a transition soon.
A process of growth
One of the features of this new lifestyle that I look forward to the most is to spend more time with my best friend. Facing adversity, exposing our vulnerabilities, and quite frankly learning more about each other.
When we first met, Andrew was a fairly open book. He felt comfortable relaying his thoughts in an unfiltered, raw way so that I could understand him. On the other hand, I am quite edited in how I communicate. It’s a habit formed and refined over many years.
How liberating would it be to finally strip away the layers and show our true selves?
To fly or not to fly
The day before our scheduled departure for Ft. Lauderdale, we had a final call with the owner.
He and his wife had arrived from the Caribbean a couple days earlier. They experienced wall-to-wall, 24/7 news coverage about the coronavirus pandemic. Residents and visitors in Florida had not yet experienced the restrictions that were already introduced in California, Washington and New York.
We talked about where we both stood and our comfort level about meeting despite social distancing guidelines. The owner is an older gentleman, and quite frankly we did not want to put him at risk. He was confident and in good health, as were we.
Call it providence, but when I had quit my job, both Andrew and I got a full medical work-up to make sure we were healthy enough to embark on a cruising life. The timing could not have been more appropriate to assess any underlying or undiagnosed condition that would haunt us if we were to travel, now with the threat of contracting coronavirus. We were both issued a clean bill of health, with Vitamin D being the only deficiency we were experiencing.
With full confidence on both sides of the coast, we agreed to meet at our hotel lobby in a couple days.
What are we not paying attention to?
The entire world is hyper-focused on COVID-19. While that has everyone’s attention, one begins to wonder: where are our blindspots? What are we not paying attention to that might come back to bite us? With those thoughts now issued into the universe, no doubt answers will play out.
At the same time, the pandemic we all face today brings to stark relief the same considerations Andrew and I made over 2 years ago when we first put up the whiteboard. We considered all the stressors that we could face in the future. While pandemic was not listed, our answer to this is no different than our answer to all the other stressors.
We have faith in ourselves and in each other to figure it out. Unlike the majority of our peers, we decided to focus inward for the solutions. Rather than stockpile, close the doors and hunker down, we are venturing forth into the world without fear and accepting fate. If anything, COVID-19 is a reminder that life is too short. We only have one shot at it. Why piss it away on the daily grind?
Why not make it count?
Thanks for reading!
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