Recently we sailed to Catalina Island for the weekend with several of my husband's family members. Relaxing after a meal, I was discussing our upcoming Central American and South Pacific voyage plans with my brother-in-law Michael. After a few minutes of conversation, Michael turned to me and said:
"You know, you don't seem very excited about this trip."
I laughed. I knew exactly what he meant. The question is, what is the proper attitude one should have as the departure date looms larger and larger for a 2 1/2 year sailing trip? Excitement? Yes. Anticipation of the potential problems? I would hope so. Gratitude? Of course. Concern for all of the unknowns, including homesickness, weather at sea, will our money last? Yep. Over-the-top childlike giddiness at the thought that My God, we are actually going to DO this thing? Oh yeah. Wondering if we aree truly prepared, are we up to the task...I mean really, who do we think we ARE to even attempt such a voyage? Check.
Of course my emotions are all over the map as 11/1/11 looms closer and closer. I have no illusions that it will be nothing but days and days of lounging in the sun reading dog-eared paperbacks gleaned from the cruisers book exchange at whatever corner of paradise we find ourselves. We will have these days, yes...but I don't spend time thinking about them. I spend my time pondering, well, everything else. We can talk to other sailors, read books and cruising guides, but the bottom line is we won't know what it is like until we experience it. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13: "We see through a glass, darkly..." This says it all for me. We can't know what it is like until we push through the envelope.
That afternoon in Avalon, I took a deep sigh, thought for a moment, then explained to Michael that while of course when I let myself ponder afternoons climbing cool mossy mountain trails in Tahiti in search of hidden waterfalls leading to crystalline pools filled with warm water in which to swim -- YES, the excitement and anticipation threatens to overwhelm.
But I stop myself before indulging much in such daydreaming. Because for Chris and I to have that Tahiti waterfall experience, we must first sail there. In a word, we must EARN that experience. We must work for it. And work it will take. Work, smarts, sacrifice, patience, teamwork, and not a little bit of good old fashioned luck.
I explained to Michael that in my mind this is so much more than a trip or a vacation, or even a sail. It is a sojourn. A passage. It is an oddysey. It is that big.
So there is no single word to describe my jumble of emotions as we count down the days (63!). Well, maybe there is: