Daily weather analysis? Check.
Hulls cleaned? Check.
Ditch-bag stuffed? Check.
Course charted? Check.
Crew orientation? Check.
All the rest of the boat chores? Check. Check. Check.
We have a weather window and we’re leaving TODAY!
Now, all there’s left to do is . . . make our way home.
In contrast to how I’ve felt about passages in the past, I’m actually really looking forward to this upcoming 4-7 days at sea. I’m excited about my star-filled, night-time watches. I can’t wait to watch the sun light dance in white-lighting streaks of the deep blue sea. I’ve got batter & cabbage ready for some awesome fish tacos made from a nice, big mahi we hope to land underway.
In short, I’m so ready – for the 700 nautical miles between here (Isla Mujeres, Q. Roo, MX) and there (Freeport, TX, USA).
In contrast to this well-charted course, there’s everything else which lies beyond.
Like re-entry. As ex-expats.
Which is mostly (thankfully?) uncharted.
What we do know – and are very much grateful for – is that we have (short-term) jobs and housing* lined up.*a friend even offered up her RV for us to stay in, which seems like such a more normal transition for us than a “house” – I mean, it’s small and it moves, feels like home to me.
We have an amazing bevy of family and life-long friends whom we can’t wait to see. We will have an “income” again (which we are so looking forward to!). And, there are all the “little things” I’m looking forward to, like eating *all* the spring rolls, swimming in the amazing, spring-fed, FRESH water springs that abound in Central Texas, and getting a new, actually well-made, cute, supportive bra (one without rust or mildew, bo-nus!).
A few days ago, a newly-arrived, on-a-two-week-sailing-vacay crew member/guest of the boat in the berth next to us swung by to say “I here you’re going back to Texas. I’m sorry.”
What? some people, eh?
I was 100% sincere when I replied “we’re not!”.
This is our third year “on the road” y’all. We’re ready for a change. And, by “change”, I mean familiarity. A home-base. “Normalcy”. (ok, so that might be a bit of a reach)
But, you get the picture.
Shortly after arriving here in Isla, we were fortunate enough to meet up with some awesome sailors from South Africa. They were a young-ish couple, and like us, they were burnt out. Even though they had significantly more miles under their hull (they’ve been out for 8 years), we noticed ourselves nodding along to each other’s sentiments of “we’re not appreciating it anymore; we went to town today and didn’t take 1 picture” and “we’re not retired; there’s still stuff we want to do – on land”, “boat life is hard – it’d be nice to not maintain all these systems for a while”.
Could it be true? Is So Many Beaches beached out!?! Not so fast.
We’re not ready to sell our boat, our home, our MJ. But, we are ready for a change – at least for a while.
As it stands, we’re grateful to have the opportunity and excited to “try on” living back on land for pinch. We figure we’ll take our time, likely sit out next season and just experience life back home for a while.
Speaking of “life back home”, just as we know what we’re excited to come back to, we also know there’s another side of the coin. I’ll miss having so much privacy (the Dr. Jekyll to loneliness’ Mr. Hyde). I’ll miss sleeping in a swaying bed with the stars as my ceiling. I’m not looking forward to the fast-pace of the (awesome) city we’re returning to and the consumer-culture of America in general (spring rolls & new bras being obvious exceptions). I know K will miss his daily salt water swims. And, as much as I can’t wait to catch up with everybody back home, I fear it’s inevitable that there’ll be mis-communications and other awkward adjustments as my fish-out-of-water path merges with others’ on land again.
These are just a few of the things I know to expect. But, what about what I don’t know that I don’t know?
These little – or big – surprises are coming. Ain’t that a peach!?! ummm . . . yes?
I got a little preview today: while in the middle of final prep for our passage, I got uncharacteristically confused, indecisive and overwhelmed. And, I was angry and snappy about that. So, I was angry and snappy with D.
I stormed off down the dock to take a break – and realized, while sitting on the beach, under the palm trees, with a clear view of my boat in the gin-clear Caribbean waters, that this was the last time I’ll have this spot in the sand, in the sun with a view of MJ on the water- at least for a while. Because, of course (reality is sinking in) I’m coming home. Or, at least making my way.
And, perhaps that’s just a bit stressful. For anyone. And, anyone includes me.
It hit me: I’m stressed. From turning my life upside-down. From going from everything I’ve known for the past couple of years to something else (familiar and un at the same time – weird, right?). Apparently, I have thoughts and feelings about that, lurking not so subtly beneath the surface. Who knew!?!
There I sat, in the sand, I literally bowled over with emotion: it came right out of the front of my face in thick, salty streams. Along with laughter.
I’m such a type-A dork, I thought. I’m totally adept at the practical, list-making side of things: if I can excel-it, I can do it! But, turns out my emotions don’t fit so well in those little cells – I don’t care how much you “wrap text”. (told you I was a dork)
After some deep breaths and a great call home to an old friend, I surrendered to the full circle of the choice I am making (for everything it is and everything it isn’t – including the stress of change). All of the sudden, the freedom to just own my stress was funny: I signed off “love ya, thanks so much for listening. but, I gotta go . . . cry on my boat some more!”. And, he, my amazingly wise friend, didn’t hesitate: “Good for you. You’re not gonna get to cry on your boat for very much longer. So, live it up.”
As we make our way home, across the Gulf in charted waters, you can follow along here: http://www.somanybeaches.com/where-in-the-world/where-we-are-now/. See y’all in the US!