Sunday, 2 October 2011

shifting gears

Voyaging is a way of life. It changes everything from your interactions with other people to how you think about time to the value you place on convenience and comfort.1

Choosing the voyaging life is not just one choice. It is many choices. And the more choices you make in a certain direction, therein lies your philosophy of living. But first, you have to buy into it. Or better yet, live into it.

I am only one month into the voyaging life. I am aware I’m just beginning to experience the uncertainties, occasional isolation, and out-of-my-comfort zone moments that involve being a sea gypsy. I was expecting that. Ironically, slowing down, is the most challenging. Before we left, all I could think about was when we’ll be gone, when we finally leave, then, it really begins. But first I had to go, go, go. Get everything ready. While on passage, it was, when we get to San Francisco, well then we will get into the groove, you know that flexible, go-with-the-flow sailor groove. Yet one recent morning, I was thinking, we have to “catch up”. (Whatever that means.) I’ll chill out, but just let’s get there first okay?

We were discussing the weather forecast. Our plan was to head south to Monterey the following Monday at the latest. Once we checked the forecast, all we saw were southerly winds, fluky and strong… Not the forecast we had hoped for. But, here I was, pushing to go forth. I was “done” with San Francisco, we needed to catch up to other voyagers, we were dragging behind! We could do it, why couldn’t Rick see it my way. Rick just looked at me, disbelieving. "I can’t believe you want to go with this kind of forecast, there’s lots more to see here, and we can wait for more favourable weather."

And that’s when it hit me. I got off the “hamster wheel” but I’m still spinning.

Honestly, choosing this life is an easy choice for me. I want it. I love so much what it represents, what it heralds. I cherish a life of simplicity. I want to feel more connected to my environment. I want to learn about other cultures in a deeper way. Yet, the choice to be a voyager challenges me daily. Don’t get me wrong, so far on this journey I have appreciated and celebrated many special moments, moments when I was present and grateful. Yet, I often seem to get caught up on "what will be" instead of "what is".

In The Voyager’s Handbook, Beth Leonard writes that it can sometimes take a year or more, to learn to slow down. I realize that wanting to fast-forward to that place where it comes naturally, simply defeats the purpose of the lesson. It hasn’t stopped me from trying though.

Leonard, is one of my inspirations for the journey we're on. In the preface of The Voyager’s Handbook, she writes about returning to homeport, after a 3-year absence. She and her partner had circumnavigated the world on their sailboat. She was reflecting on the changes within her, after that life-altering experience. You know when you read something and your heart hums with recognition? That happened when I read this:

The person who left had viewed time as something to be constantly filled or lost forever; the person who returned understood that time is the only space within which the soul can expand.2

I am willing myself to slow down. Take the time to breathe. Take things as they come. To realize that no matter how I think things must happen, I only have control over how I react to the events. It will take time, but time, I have.
1 Beth A. Leonard, The Voyager’s Handbook: The Essential Guide to Bluewater Cruising.(New York:    International Marine – McGraw-Hill Companies, 2007), xv
2 Ibid, xiv


  1. Great post. I struggle with itchy feet (um, not literally) as well. I think Carol and I will always be working on that balance.

  2. What a great post! I love the quotes, and look forward to "slowing down" myself. In fact, we can't wait! I've always been called "laid back", so I think it will be a lot easier for me than my Type A husband. As they say, "Stop and smell the roses"!



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