Adjusting to Life Aboard

I won’t lie.   It took me about a full year to appreciate living on a sailboat.  When I moved in with Herby, I was accustomed to a life of walk-in closets and nick nacks, and while I still appreciate and admittedly sometimes dream about those things, I feel like I’ve solved some sort of life puzzle by letting go of the concept of “extra.”  I feel like I’ve figured something out and somehow cheated the system.  We grow up with one image of how our lives will play out.  We will go to school for thirteen years, enter straight into college where we will decide on a career, go to grad school for said career, and then immediately enter into that career before it’s too late because…..why?  Why would it ever be too late to start that job? Where is it going to go if I make it wait for a year? Why are we so tethered to society’s expectations of life as if it’s a straight line that never veers off in new directions before reaching its destination?  My life was on a straight trajectory towards the thing that I love; teaching art.  I was even offered a job, which was admittedly very difficult to turn down because everyone was saying I was crazy for doing so.  They would say things like, “That job will not be there in a year! What if that opportunity never comes back?”  I’m not worried, though.  I know that I’m still going to teach art because that is what I’ve been working towards for the past three years of education classes and student teaching.  But if living on a boat has taught me anything, it’s that life constantly offers you opportunities that don’t exactly fit into your plans, but taking them does not mean that those plans won’t happen.  It simply means you’re taking a more adventurous route. 

          When Herby mentioned his dream to sail across the Atlantic in our home, I thought he was crazy to ask me to put everything on hold for a year.  It wasn’t something I’d considered.  It was so off course if you’ll excuse the pun, and I’d been told all this time that I had to get a job as soon as I possibly could before someone else snatched it up.  But the longer I thought about it, the more I asked myself, “why don’t I want to do this?”  Why don’t I want to take advantage of this time before I have a serious job and kids?  The plan was to take the trip in 2018 and the longer I thought about it, the less that made sense.  One night we were lying in bed and I blurted out my feelings.  “Why are we waiting?  Let’s just go this year!” 

          Since making this decision, Herby and I have both faced opposition and questioning from collegues, family, friends, and complete strangers.  Most of them want to know if we’ll be safe and how we can possibly afford to take a year off from our lives here in Maryland.  The answer is simple.  Yes, we’ll be safe.  We wouldn’t just go do this without having done the proper research and attained all of the necessary equipment.  And as for how we can take a year off?  We’re just doing it.  There will never be a better time.  I was never destined for a normal life, and I sealed that deal when I married Herby. 

          When I first moved into the boat, I did so with the sure knowledge that this was a fun little phase.  Someday we would move into a house and have the normal life that everyone expected for us.  Life has thrown my straight path into a wavy uncertain squiggle and I’ve never been surer of anything before.  My life is an adventure.