Monday, 10 March 2014

pulling over to the side of the ocean

Late afternoon view from our mooring ball in Opua
That’s what I read. Switching gears from-full time cruising to settling in a community for an extended period of time can be difficult. “Not me, I’m going to love it”, I thought, “I can use a break, recharge my batteries, find steadiness in a more stable community.”  Well.

Yes, we are still sailing!
We haven’t returned to our home country, we are still living on our boat after 7 years, and we plan to continue exploring this big, wide world. Yet we feel like a chapter has ended. We cruised full time for 2 ½ years and we have sailed the largest body of water on the planet. Now, we are here. New Zealand is a lot like Canada, but it is also very different.  We’re used to different:  we like variety, we love discovering the quirks of other cultures, and we like pushing the boundaries of our comfort zones, but this stop is... more involved. We are now officially expats. We are still on the fringes of our new community but we have work visas! We have IRD tax numbers! Rick already has a job in the marine industry. I’m working on projects and looking for work. Most days, all this newness is exciting, other days, it’s overwhelming. Sometimes, I just feel a little bit lost. My purpose was clearly defined as a voyager. Keep the boat afloat, plan journeys, and discover foreign lands. I’m busy shifting those gears to a more constant environment and different types of responsibilities. The strangest part is that sailing is something I once again do on weekends. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word transition as a: “passage from one state, subject, or place to another.” It also defines it as “a musical passage leading from one section of a piece to another.” The latter speaks more to my state of mind. I’m still figuring out the notes, but I can hear a new melody.

A sleepy Opua (to the left is Ashby's Boatyard)
Melody aside, if I am to be perfectly honest I’m still finding my footing. Why should a more stable environment cause me so much unrest? I feel like my compass is spinning. This morning, while drinking my coffee, I paused mid-sip. I realized how much I have learned about myself since I left Canadian shores in 2011. I realized that loneliness won’t kill me. I worked through my fears of storms or hitting containers out on the big blue. I climbed mountains I thought my body couldn’t climb because of my Ankylosing Spondylitis. I befriended people I may never have crossed paths with in my past life. I am a little less afraid of sharks and I feel a strong affinity with the rhythms of the ocean, the moon, and the sun. I now recognize my strength and resourcefulness. I also truly understand what it means to say “this too shall pass”. 

Rejoicing in our new backyard:
The beautiful Urupukapuka
in the Bay of Islands
The uneasiness I’m feeling right now is obviously part of being in transition. When we were sailing through one of the worst storms we’d faced offshore and I cried in frustration and fatigue, I hit a low. But after weathering the storm, and dropping the hook in turquoise waters, the exhilaration I felt erased the anxiety. It comes down to this, whatever is happening, it’s only happening now. It will pass. Something else will take its place. A wonderful anchorage can become a dangerous lee shore. A stormy night can see the sun rise with a light breeze. Slowing down after sailing 15000 nautical miles can give us a well earned rest. Nothing is static. Nothing is permanent. The sooner I accept that, the easier it is to open myself up to what I am experiencing right now, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I know that eventually, I will feel part of this community. I will enjoy the stability, at least for a while. And I will feel more grounded. For now, I shall sit with my spinning compass, breathe deep, and peruse the classifieds.


  1. I really, really, really love this post. Beautifully written & such a good description!

    The quote I repeat to myself whenever I'm questioning life's current state of affairs is "Everything will be alright in the end; if it's not alright, it's not the end" (from "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel", one of my fav movies).

    Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Beautifully put Kyra! I can relate 100%. I'll let you know when it passes.

  3. Sweet Kyra, playing with you the melody, it seems we all go through these phases, and hit our own lows, they come and go and with it we just learn to ride the wave. Sending you one of those magical ((hug)) xxo Valerie

  4. Hugs to you too Valerie! You are right, riding the wave is essential! Thanks all for the comments!

  5. This is great. Thanks for being so open and honest about the highs and lows you encounter while cruising. I bet it's like trying to find where you fit in, in this new place. I can sort of relate to where we are right now. All we do is work and save money...with little bits of fun stuff in between. We are working towards our goal but I feel like I don't fit here right now. I'm am happy out exploring, camping and searching the unknown. This is like a waiting room for me. I can go around looking at all of the magazines, playing on my phone, looking out the window but I'm still here in this room. Anyways Take care and I hope you find some rest soon. I don't comment often but I do read your stuff so thanks for sharing! Dani

    1. Thanks Dani, I like to keep it real. I remember the months leading up to leaving... They're a different but similar kind of challenge. It's all about transition and learning to be okay with it! :)



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