Friday, June 21, 2013

Fantasy vs. Reality

When we tell people of our plan to sail away to the warm, clear waters of the Sea of Cortez the reaction is usually one of envy. You can see the fantasy of warm sun and sandy beaches flash before their eyes. The idea of not doing the 9-5 grind and exploring small coastal villages is more than some can handle. To learn a new language, listen to new music and discover new foods. To spend every day in a bikini or flowing dress. To swim with seals and fish and dolphins. To watch the sunset in the west while in the arms of my love and a cocktail in my hand. It sounds SOOO good, right!! RIGHT!? I mean, this is the stuff that dreams are made of and are part of the reason we have decided to not wait, to not procrastinate, but to GO! And GO NOW!

Every cruiser's blog you read is full of tales like these! Of amazing days spent on the water and in magical places. Some of the more honest blogs also include stories of the bad days. The stormy days and the trying days make for good stories too. What I haven't been prepared for is the reality of it all. A year ago when these plans went into motion the fantasy of the idea was a driving force, but with only 14 weeks till departure the reality is startling.

Physically, life is rough right now. Keegan and I are both still working our full time jobs and I am doing side work to earn extra money, but we also have a huge list of projects to complete. So every ounce of free time during the week and weekend is spent working on the boat. We're exhausted, but that's not really the shocking part. We knew that we were working on a very tight timeline, but I know that in 14 weeks all of the hard work will be worth it.

No, the harder part of this present reality is the emotional strain. We see the day drawing close when Keegan has to say goodbye to his students, many of which he has been teaching for five years. If you want to see heartbreak tell a little girl that you're leaving and try to explain to a 6 year old how you're chasing a dream, not abandoning her. It will tear your soul.

Saying goodbye for now or maybe forever to our amazing friends and family is rough, but even it has not been the hardest part. You see, for us this adventure is not about just stepping away from our lives for a year or two to have a 'once in a lifetime experience'. For us, this is an entire reinvention. We are not leaving our lives, but taking them with us. We have packed ourselves into our boat with the possessions most important or necessary to our survival and we will be off to foreign lands in search of better versions of ourselves. We want to grow and be brave. We want to write the books we've always talked about but always set aside. We want to love and grow and live while we are alive.

But all of these great goals and aspirations require pain and sadness now. To move forward is to leave something of yourself behind. And this is the hardest part. It is the part that make your uncomfortable and the part that stops many people in their tracks. I now understand why many people plan to leave and never do. It is not the money and it is not the projects. It is not even the fear of the unknown. It is the deep, self inflicted sadness that is required. The death of certain parts of you to create a new and more beautiful life.

And so we move forward each day because our desires for what lies ahead are greater than the many pains and sadness's in our hearts. We move forward. We creep towards our departure date as bravely as possible because we know that it will be worth it. It must be worth it. Living is always the right choice even when the reality of what that means sits heavy on your heart and the fantasy of tropical palm trees are only a fuzzy vision in your mind's eye.


  1. Don't be surprised if a satellite phone isn't provided as a going away present, or two or three. While we will be sad to see you go, since you've moved closer to us we've seen less of you.

    You'll still be Amanda and Keegan to us, long after the things we knew about you have been replaced with adventures yet to be shared and realizations we'll never be a part of.

    You aren't going away, you aren't leaving anything or anyone behind, you're simply going to be somewhere else. Know when you're lonely that you'll be in so many hearts and minds, in some people's prayers and stories we tell about you. We know, or rather, we hope you'll carry us with you as you go and that we'll be fortunate enough to participate in some way.

    I hope you'll be an example for others. I only recently sailed out of a massive harbor in France into the open Mediterranean and while I haven't verbalized it, my desire to "go out there" is stronger than ever. Strong enough perhaps to help me move towards my own "sail away date" with a better plan.

    Regardless, we may not see each other for a while, but you'll be fondly thought of regularly. You'll be missed but not forgotten, substituted but never replaced and you'll always have a berth with so many of your friends.

    I can't wait to see you go. It gives me no sadness, only hope. I hope you can find joy in leaving before you go, I hope this sadness is only a mild fear of separation. Trust in yourselves. Love to you both and praise to Malabar.

    1. Thank you, my friend! Your kind words renew my soul and spirit. Of all of the gifts I have received in my life the gift of true friends are the ones I hold in the deepest places in my heart.