In a few days we’ll be untying the dock lines again and heading south across the border. I’ve dreamed of this moment for many years, and now that it is actually about to happen there are plenty of emotions swirling around in my head!
If you look up “dream” in the dictionary you’ll find meanings such as “an illusion”, “a vision”, or as a verb; “to conjure up a scenario”. Go a little further and you’ll see that the antonym of “dream” is “reality”! So….how do I describe the feelings of living in the reality of a dream?
Gratitude…I’m thankful to be enjoying this freedom to live life without restraints. I’m thankful to my Mom who was such a fearless traveler and taught me that I could do anything I set my mind to. I’m thankful to our families who support us and continually tell us to go for it! Sometimes I feel as if we’ve paid our dues to be in this place, but all I know is that when I look back at the times in my life when I struggled, I know that my life now is a total privilege.
Trepidation….Every now and then when we’re sailing along and I look around to see a vast ocean stretching to the horizon, I am reminded of what a little speck we are out there. And now that we’re leaving the country for a very long time; leaving everything familiar, it reminds us of how self-sufficient we will need to be. With so many “what if’s” to be prepared for when leaving the dock to go cruising it can be a bit intimidating to say the least. And when I look at us, a couple of 50-something, learn as we go sailors, I wonder if we’re just a little insane to think we can manage all this. So in those moments when I start going down those “what if” roads in my mind I just have to remind myself of what we’ve done so far, that our boat is built to last, and that we are as prepared as we can be. We will continue to be cautious in all that we do and we will continue to learn and work together as a team to solve whatever comes our way.
Excitement….We’re living our dream! How can I not be excited at that. When I was a kid I was very lucky to live by the water. My brother and sister and I played in boats, built rafts, and swam constantly; in Lake Washington and even in chilly Puget Sound. Then when I was about 11 or so, my Mom arranged for me to take sailing classes on Portage Bay, given by the Seattle Yacht Club. I remember having tons of fun in sailing dinghies, doing all kinds of crazy things; backwards races, tiller-less races, and capsizing our boats just for fun (plus that meant that Rory the cute high school boy would come out to help us!). Fast forward a few years, and here I am, living on a 43′ sailboat with my hubby, having the time of my life! Hopefully there won’t be any sailing backwards without a rudder or capsizing in our future, but I know there will be lots of laughter and fun!
All that being said, living any dream is a choice. It doesn’t just happen, it requires years of hard work and lots of tough decisions. How did we get here? Marty and I met in 2007 and got married in 2010. We both retired from 20-plus years in the corporate world; Marty was with Boeing, and I was with American Airlines. We retired a second time in 2012, when we sold our Victorian Bed and Breakfast, The Blue Goose Inn. Our fledglings (goslings?) have flown (or been pushed) from the nest, so we’re now in that carefree mode of doing whatever strikes our fancy! When we sold the Inn we had to decide whether to keep one foot on shore or to chuck it all and go against everyone’s advice that we should retain a land base. Since you know the end of the story by now, you know that we sold everything in order to move onto our 43′ floating mansion! As we were packing up the few items that made the “save” pile, it was hard to walk away from so many things that meant something to one of us (mostly me). But once done, there are no regrets. We now have everything we need onboard Happy Dance, and those items that we didn’t want to part with are safely stored in an 8’x10′ shed on a friend’s lot. Being free from the clutter of belongings and the stress of monthly bills is huge, not to mention having the ability to point our home in any direction we choose as we explore new places.
And in a few hours we’ll be pointing the boat toward Mexico! In two weeks and 750 miles we’ll be making the turn around Land’s End and the Arch / “El Arco”, a natural stone arch at the southernmost tip of the Baja peninsula in Cabo San Lucas. We’ve been to Cabo a number of times, and have watched the Baja HaHa fleet sail in, so we’re doubly excited that this year we’ll be right in the midst of it all! After we recoup for a bit, we’ll be spending a couple of months in the Gulf of California before starting to sail toward Panama and the Canal. We are looking forward to exploring new places, slowing down and letting the wind decide where we’re going.
I always return to the quotation from Mark Twain that was posted on my office wall for many years; “Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”