There are so many different ways I’ve heard this expressed…What are you willing to give up to have what you want in your life? What sacrifices are you willing to make to have what you want? What do you need to let go of to have what you want? It all boils down to the same idea. If we do what we’ve always done then we’ll have what we’ve always had. Change, growth, living our dreams, requires us to constantly let go and move forward.
Moving into the cruising life has required lots of letting go… I’ve left my family and friends. We’ve closed down the clinic, my passion for the past 20 years. And I’ve given up the “comforts” of home to live within the confines of a 35 ft. boat.
My parents haven’t lived near me in my adult life so I’m used to not seeing them but once or twice a year but the kids and grandkids all live relatively close by. Covid-19 necessitated some distance anyway AND learning how to have a relationship via text, zoom and phone calls is a new experience for us all. As I was writing this blog, I got a video clip of my youngest grandson’s first steps! We’re so lucky to have technology to keep us connected wherever we are!
Letting go of the clinic and selling all our “stuff’ was impossible for me to even think about. 40 years worth of therapy materials, books, toys, furniture, electronics….Wow! It was emotionally hard to let go of the clinic and I was so happy that our friend/estate sale expert Amy was able to handle all the details like the pro that she is. It would have been hard for me to be there. I let go of being an autism consultant/SLP and declared myself a self – employed sailor but the reality is that I don’t think the therapist is going anywhere anytime in the near future.
I must admit, I love my comforts! That’s something I was NOT willing to give up to have this dream. This week, the weather turned cold so we had lots of opportunities to try out all our “comfy” solutions.
When considering what “upgrades” to make on the boat to make it as comfortable as possible, we looked at the spaces we used most frequently in our home. The bed was a high priority. There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep and this body of mine likes a comfy mattress. So, a 3 inch memory foam topper was the first to be added. Next, we love to relax in our recliners, so, we got 2 reclining cockpit chairs. We made the saloon area into a big, cozy snuggly, day bed with a thick mattress topper, foam inserts, and, filled with soft snuggly blankets. Besides being comfy, it holds memories of friends and family with a tray made at my friend Joan’s, a quilt made by Cindy and my special “Jeff pillow”. It’s a great place to relax, read, work or watch TV. We also added a full enclosure to the cockpit which keeps us nice and warm on those chilly passages and acts as a greenhouse to help warm the boat. To take the chill off, we have a propane heater and an electric blanket keeps us toasty when we have shore power. When the weather is warm, we have Breeze Boosters and lots of fans to keep us cool. A mosquito net makes sure we keep the bugs where they belong.
Some comforts I’ve had no problem giving up so far such as dishwashers, a full and well equipped kitchen and fancy bathrooms. Washing, rinsing, and drying dishes by hand reminds me of being at my Grandma Holler’s house on the farm. Whomever was eating was expected to participate in clean up in some fashion and I remember standing on a chair at the sink doing dishes. So far, we’ve had whatever we need to make meals. The shower on the boat has delightful pressure and the composting head is easy.
Other things I’ve had to give up are being “right” about who I am and who Robert is. We’ve both grown in who we are as individuals and who we are becoming, and I get to keep reminding myself that together we are unstoppable. We can handle whatever comes our way. We are capable of so much more than either of us ever imagined and we get to figure it out as we go.
We’ve passed through beautiful places in North and South Carolina, many of which I’d love to visit again when it’s safer to mill around in shops, eat in restaurants and meet up with friends. We’ve been anchoring out most of the time and have only stayed in a marina once in the two weeks we’ve been traveling. There are many beautiful and peaceful places to tuck in along the ICW and sleeping on a gently rocking boat is one of my favorite experiences in the world. Getting to see glorious sunrises and beautiful sunsets and enjoy all the natural beauty our planet holds is a gift. Our goal is to get to the clean water and white beaches of the Bahamas as quickly and safely as possible. As we travel, we let go of one beautiful place and move toward the next. Sometimes we're even lucky enough to have dolphins escort us on our travels!
So we will keep on keeping on…Letting go of what we have in the moment to move toward what we want in the future… So far I've found that every single thing we've chosen to let go of, to sacrifice, to give up, is worth it! So we sail on!