We used to do what most people of the world do; live in a home in a community enjoying the infrastructure and accoutrements of being closely connected to ‘normal’ society. However, since we took up sailing and decided to live full-time onboard a sailboat our view of what ‘normal’ is has changed a bit.
Normal now is waking up to a beautiful view of an anchorage off a beach in the Pacific somewhere. Our home now is a sailboat that travels from anchorage to anchorage and country to country. We spend a number of months in each place getting to learn about the people, local culture, food and lifestyle before moving on.
We also have a family of fellow-sailors we meet up with all over the Pacific during the past couple of years and, when we come across them in some far-flung anchorage, we share a beer and some quiet time together appreciating the privilege of being in such amazing places that so few people get to visit. Every one of them has earned our respect simply by the fact they are also so far from home and we know what we all went through to get here.
In addition to dealing with the occasional challenging weather and sea conditions most people don’t realize what other sacrifices have to be made for a life-style like this. Purging yourself of almost all of your life-long possessions, giving up easy access to family, friends and infrastructure such as unlimited water from a tap, electricity from the power grid and reliable internet access. A lot of times we are in remote places with limited to no medical aid and depend on our on-board medical kit and training to handle emergencies as they occur.
The time in such remote locations also translates into time we miss being with the ones we love. However, we are fortunate to have the health, stamina and fortitude to live this life as we believe our appreciation for what we are doing far outweighs the sacrifices. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime situation that we would hate to look back on and say ‘we should have done that when we could’. We want no regrets when we finally return to a ‘normal’ life someday.
This past season we started with a big passage from New Zealand to Fiji and spent almost four months cruising all over the country exploring, diving, meeting local people, visiting schools and enjoying their day-to-day life. However, four months was too short. Fiji is a fantastic place filled with lovely, caring people and stupendous diving and water-sport activities. We last visited Fiji in 2004 for a diving trip and have always wanted to come back. These past months have confirmed how much we love this country. It’s definitely on our list for a return at some point.
However, the cyclone season has arrived and it’s prudent to get ourselves out of harms way (having a sailboat is better than having a house in this regard!). From Fiji, we did a passage to the country of Vanuatu for a week or so, then New Caledonia for a taste of life there and have been at safe harbor in Brisbane since late October.
We’ll spend a number of months here doing repairs, catching up on the ‘normal’ lifestyle and wishing we could be back out in some wild and remote place anchored off an island ready to go diving or snorkeling tomorrow. Yes, we’ll visit with our friends and family, while back home, but undoubtably will be constantly thinking about being back out there. Next sailing season can’t come soon enough for us!
When guests come to visit they need a while to ‘get their sea legs’ and be able to handle the constant movement of the boat as it sits at anchor or is on passage. For us, it’s the opposite, we need to get our ‘land legs’ back. Constant motion is a comfort to a sailor, we feel the ebb and flow of the ocean and sleep like a baby.
We’ve given up the rush-rush-facebook-twitter-whatsup-always-connected life for being able to sit on the bow and watch Pacific sea turtles surface around us. To enjoy a sunset and hope for a ‘green flash’. To awake at 5:00 to hear sea birds singing and the surf pounding a nearby reef. This is ‘normal’ to us and it’s been simply wonderful. We don’t want to give it up. The trade-off is too high to move back to ‘the normal’ way of life. There's too much of the world to see yet and we are in no hurry.
Watching from 12 time-zones away the disintegration of the world financial markets, the loss of privacy and democracy in the USA and Europe along with the with soap-opera elections, terrorist attacks in Europe, constant war in the Middle East and millions of displaced refugees trying to get to somewhere safe… we are happy and extremely grateful to be where we are.
When you get tired of the ‘normal life’ come visit… there’s always room onboard Feelin’ Good for our family and friends. We love our life-style and hope this post helps you understand a bit more about why we are here instead of there.
Un grande abbraccio a voi da Tracy e me