“Years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
This quote has been taped to my computer for many years and it has always been my mantra. Seeing new places, learning about other cultures, experiencing nature in its element, soaking up the beauty around us – these have always pushed me to get out into the world and explore. As we prepare to literally throw off the bowlines and sail away from safe harbor, it’s mind boggling to realize what an incredible adventure we are beginning!
One thing about adventures though, is that as you throw off the bowlines you must also release the bonds that hold you secure to the people and places that you know. Saying goodbye to those that we love and to the familiar places is hard and not a little scary. I find myself trying to look into the future to see if we’ll walk here again or hug that person again. I try to give an extra hug and be sure to say I love you before they drive off. But then I realize that every goodbye, whether it’s a quick trip to the grocery store, or a goodbye as we leave the dock for places unknown – they are one and the same. We are not the true masters of our fate and we don’t know what will happen in the next hour; so we need to live each day to the fullest.
The times in my life that I remember the most seem to be times of extreme emotion, extreme beauty, or extreme adventure. Getting married to Marty was a day of such huge emotion; I can place myself in that moment, reading the vows, looking into his eyes, wiping our tears; total joy. Walking along the cliffs of Normandy with a a dear friend in a wheelchair from Viet Nam; heart-wrenching sadness. Climbing high above Zermatt to view the Matterhorn across a steep valley, walking across a blinding snowfield in Norway hoping to catch a ride before nightfall, hearing whales blow and dolphins dance in the fog, seeing sunlight through the stained glass of ancient cathedrals; pure awe. Climbing Tallac in the full moon to watch the sunrise over Tahoe, watching the bow plow into a dark night while crossing the Gulf, picking our way through the fog with no instruments to guide us; major adrenalin rushes.
So, what am I trying to say? That we all have those moments that stick in our minds – the moments when life took our breath away. My moments are different than your moments, but when we live life to its fullest we share the same experience in those moments. So even though it can be argued that the path we’re choosing is a selfish one, it is also one that I believe honors life and one that we can share with everyone. We each choose the life we want and have to make the most of the moments we have.
Marty and I are so lucky to have each other and to have this adventure in front of us. Thanks for everyone’s support and love as we throw off the bowlines! We will keep in touch as best we can, and we’ll carry you all with us along the way.
3/28/2013 – Post Script..
We left the dock yesterday under sunny skies, motoring our way to Hunter Bay on Lopez Island. We have always begun and ended our sailing trips in Hunter Bay, so we thought it appropriate to start this grand adventure here! Dinner under the stars while floating on the hook, silence all around…ahhhhh. This morning we woke to fog, and enjoyed a hot cup of coffee while watching the world literally come into view…! Murphy seems to have joined us however, so we have a bit of a “situation” with the engine, to be addressed in our next writing…but for the moment, we are all smiles and sighs at our incredible good fortune.