Well, I’ve done a lot of top 10’s lately. So, keeping with that, I have another.
Maybe it’s the sunshine we’ve had lately. Or the fact that there are less than 120 days left until we launch. Or it could be the CD’s I’ve been listening to in the car. (Or my Pandora station at work, playing Enja. One day, it was “We can reach, we can reach! Sail away; sail away; sail away!”) Or the fact that I’m greeted by that picture of Moonraker at F-dock every time I write a blog post.
Anyway, here are the top 10 things I miss about my “other” life:
10. Striking up conversations with strangers. Our first full day on land, we went to the mall. Rob saw some people at the food court, wearing t-shirts from a sailing race. When he asked them about it, they looked at us funny. That would NEVER happen in a marina.
9. The *manageable* adventure. I’ve seen a lot of adventures, both on the water and on land. When a car hit us head-on while I was pregnant, I felt completely helpless (even though, in hindsight, I probably saved everyone’s lives by swerving, so our impact was offset). But, at the time, I cried, hoped and prayed for the baby, and left in an ambulance. On the boat, I’ve never felt helpless or desperate in the same way. Yes, I know it can happen, but it happens at a much later stage than in a car. We’ve not conquered nature, but we’ve worked with it. Our worst day so far has turned into our best story–probably the best story we’ll ever have.
8. Boat people are so darned fun! That’s probably why we talk to strangers. And why strangers have invited us onto their boats for drinks. We’ve got the fun crowd at the end of A-dock, the live aboards (and other hard-cores) by the campfire on our end of A-dock, the sailors on B-dock (who randomly show up with drinks, sailing equipment, or just want to race), the fun crowd on F-dock, the preacher who skipped church with us in Tawas, the couple of the Zephyr (a great old boat), the bloggers on the Zephyrus, the sailors near us in Alpena (who showed us charts of the North Channel), and Moonraker’s biggest fan at the hot dog stand in Tawas.
7. Seeing all the towns from that water. The places you can easily awas!walk are set up for boaters. Every town is hip, with lots of local businesses to check out! Yes, this probably isn’t what the entire town is like, but the “boaters’ version” is totally delightful.
6. That park grill. It’s waiting, and it wants to be used (while Beanie visits the playground).
5. Competition is put in its rightful place. The world on land is cut-throat. You don’t know who is deliberately trying the harm you and who is just so concerned about their own “survival” that they hurt you in the process. This is so wrong. There is enough good to go around, enough resources for everyone. We need to support others more than we need to compete. Yes, there is also competition in sailing–we were quite proud of ourselves the day we overtook the Catalina 38…However, we didn’t try to sink it in our efforts to prove ourselves. That is the difference.
4. Mindfulness. I am not, by nature, a mindful person. I’m so focused on the task at hand that I miss everything going on around me. But while sailing, everyone around us is the task at hand. I need to be acutely aware of the waves, the clouds, and, most importantly, the wind. Who, is their daily life, pays attention to the wind? It’s such a minute detail that, for 1/4 of the year, suddenly becomes everything.
3. Conversation. How little time we spend getting to know the people we love! There is always stuff to do, people to see, and technology getting in the way. On the boat, there is time. There are hours to spend, talking, while watching the compass and the horizon. Technology will run down the battery, so what we have is each other.
2. Breathtaking beauty. We live in the woods. It’s pretty. But that is nothing compared to the vast blue-and-green striped (yes, striped!) water ahead of us, with the crashing white caps. Or Thunder Bay Light guiding us to safety through the thickest fog I’ve ever seen. And those sunrises at the dock…Yeah, it’s awesome.
1. Freedom. Where will we go tomorrow? We made a float plan, but it changed the second day out. We never know until the next morning, what adventure was in store for us. And we knew that, although we wouldn’t do it (yet), the Lakes ultimately lead into the ocean. The world was ours for the taking.