There's a saying out among sailors that "the happiest day in a sailor's life is when you buy the boat and when you sell the boat". It was not true for us. We were happy when we bought Roundabout but very relieved (financially) and disheartened (we weren't ready to stop cruising) when we sold her.
Since returning to land life a little over a year ago, I find myself looking back more often on our sailing photos aboard Roundabout. Missing that life. Missing cruising and hanging with our boat buddies, sundowners, and potlucks in new places. Missing the exploring of new countries and getting lost as we wandered around. Missing the long passages at sea, especially night sailing (which I was super afraid of at first but grew to favor). Missing the feeling of a calm anchorage and the gentle sounds of water meeting the hulls, and sunrises with the mist off the water and the deck glistening in the light. Missing the sound of the sails and the feeling of joy at watching dolphins play at the bows as they sliced through the sea. Just. missing. that. life. I swear, it's like a piece of my heart is still out there and there's a hole where it used to be. Overdramatic? Perhaps, but it's the only words that seem to work. If that makes sense?
Life on land is so...fast, for lack of a better word, and fellow cruisers will know what I mean. Sailing is slow and when you are cruising, you don't usually have a schedule. Don't have to be at any place at a given time, unless you are trying to get to a chandlery before they close or hit up happy hour with fellow cruisers. I think back to the stressful times during life afloat (whenever something broke and we were searching for boat parts to fix it) and how I thought that land life was so easy. On land, there isn't a thought to your home moving during the night, fear of storms, hitting something, something hitting you, leaks, and whatnot. Getting parts to keep up maintenance on a house is super simple, just drive over to your local hardware store and get what you need. I remember wanting to be back on land where things were easier and then telling myself to savor each moment because I will miss them when I am eventually back on land. So true. There are so many wonderful aspects of cruising: bonding as a family, adventures, exploring, problem-solving, experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, growing as a person, and living a sustainable life. We made our own water, our own power, our own rules, and we loved it. Maybe it's the freedom we are missing?
We are not completely cut off from sailing. In fact, we still have Soggy Dollar, our Olsen 911 monohull berthed in a slip in Monterey, that Jared goes out racing on and we take out day sailing as a family. The kids are on the yacht club Opti sailing team. We are at the beach most days, as we can walk to it from our house. So why am I feeling like I am still mourning a loss?
I think part of this relates to us not being able to finish our circumnavigation and explore the South Pacific islands that was our original goal. We see posts from our sailing friends who are there right now, photos that are so stunning, and tease us of a life we could have had if we had pointed Roundabout west instead of north. It's that whole unfinished business thing. We aren't done writing our story.
Our start to cruising was definitely a chaotic Caribbean adventure. Hurricanes Irma and Maria tossed us in a different direction, which we recovered from and started over out of the Mediterranean. It was that experience that taught us we were stronger than we ever imagined. Our kids learned that when things get hard you don't give up. Persevere. The blessings from this, if there can be blessings from two category five hurricanes tearing your life apart, is that we created some of our best memories sailing in Europe and met other sailors who are now some of our dearest friends.
Since selling Roundabout last year, we bought a house and started over. The kids transitioned into school and did a fantastic job of resuming their old life. I resumed teaching in my classroom and Jared's business boomed as his clients learned he was back on land. At first, I didn't even think about boats, boat life, or any of that. I was just happy to be transitioning and getting a full night's sleep without being on anchor watch. I slept through storms without a care in the world. I had a car and could grocery shop whenever and however much I wanted. It was all so easy! A year later and we are just about done with the remodel, adding onto the house and overall upgrading to make it a lovely home.
However, as the months creep by, I find myself looking at old photos and starting to miss our cruising life. I put off updating the blog for way too long, mostly because it reminded me of what we had and I really wanted it back. Yep, even the boat jobs part and fixing stuff. The kids say that they would rather be out cruising than on land now. I think covid19 plays a part in this, as we have not traveled anywhere at all. We all have the travel itch. I am currently working on our blog posts from Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, and returning to California. Those are coming soon, I promise! I just felt like I needed to post this one first. Sort of ripping off the bandaid...
This sailing adventure was THE BEST THING we did as a family. Seriously. According to our kids, we were the worst parents in the world for taking them away from family and friends to go cruising and then the worst parents in the world for stopping cruising. Jared and I talk about the future and if we can flip a few more houses, we just might be able to save up enough to go back out and continue our adventure. Most likely, that will be when all of our kids are off in college. For now, we will keep dreaming. He's already picked out the next boat, a larger catamaran with daggerboards, to sail faster and easily go into shallower waters. We will dream and plan as we did before, going Roundabout.