Thursday, April 11, 2019

Throwback Thursday - Strings and Things

For those of you who might be in the middle of your five-year plan to go cruising, I wrote this post about the things that are difficult to leave. Untangling yourself from land life is not for the faint of heart.

Strings and Things

The second day of our ASA 103 course we got to the marina early and we were sitting in the cockpit of the Catalina 31 in sweatshirts drinking coffee and enjoying the crisp fall morning. Even though I am credited for the plans to retire to a sailboat, it was Tim who said "we gotta find a way to do this" as he leaned back in the stern seat and closed his eyes to let the sun warm his face. It was the beginning of our Five Year Plan.

We've done pretty well so far, taking four ASA courses, buying a boat, living on her every weekend and learning about the systems and the new way of life in confined spaces. I've started the slow process of cleaning out closets and paying down bills. We've read everything we can get our hands on and talked to everyone who will put up with our questions. It appears that we've gotten to that place in our Five Year Plan where we're beginning to think about those things that will be last to deal with, the hardest to part with, the last string to cut.

In nearly every story, article, and interview we read, the question eventually comes up - what were the hardest things you had to say goodbye to when making the break from land? I pay close attention to these in preparation for my own cutting of the strings. There is a certain amount of trepidation involved in my ruminations, a fear that when the time comes I may not be able to follow through. This is also a feeling that every liveaboard cruiser has dealt with, so at least I do not go there alone.

This weekend was a weekend away from the boat, a trek to our annual sport bike rally in the north central portion of Arkansas. 

The 300 mile ride there gave me plenty of time to think about the situation, objectively removed from Nomad. Clearly, the ZX-14 is at the top of the list. Clipping along on fantastic Arkansas roads deep into triple digits is an adrenaline rush that would be difficult to match. On the other hand, as I sat around the bonfire later that evening, it occurred to me that I'm probably getting a little too old to be rip-snorting around Arkansas roads deep into triple digits. As if on cue, just moments later I remembered sitting on the Lavezzi 40 catamaran during our Memorial Day ASA 104 /113 course and thinking I could very easily call home and tell them to sell everything and send me a check. I could have walked away and not looked back.

It's an odd place to be, this in-between stage in our Five Year Plan. One foot on land, one foot on the boat...looking back...looking forward...but I find myself looking back less and forward more. It surely helps that our cruising will take us to visit family that we don't see now. A lot of cruisers are saying goodbye to family when they leave the land which makes it bittersweet. Our ventures, though, will be taking us to grandkids, nephews, friends. It also helps that I desperately want to simplify life. At the moment, every minute of every day is accounted for - laundry, bills, cooking, cleaning, helping our kids, and the miriad of daily errands that living on land requires. I want desperately to get up in the morning and have nothing better to do than drink my coffee in the cockpit while I plan the day's boat chores and watch the great blue heron scout his breakfast.

As much fun as I've had this weekend, I can see the strings holding me to land growing threadbare. When the time comes, I'll be ready.

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