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Cruising and Traveling and Dreaming of Traveling

Good morning from 150 miles northwest of Graciosa in the Canary Islands. This stream of consciousness post is brought to you by 5 hours of deep slumber and at least two very interesting dreams.

I've been up for only eleven minutes now but, as dreams will do, they are already getting a bit muddy. When EW woke me for my watch, my dream featured Portland, Maine (though it didn't look like Portland), a lion wandering around town, a festival, a yoga class, and me giving a real tourist an impromptu lesson in Maine Lingo. In my dream I was I was delighted with and proud of Maine, though we were no longer living there.

Since we are no longer living there I took that as a sign.

Here's the thing: I loved the Azores, and as much as I loved the Azores I loved who we were when we were at the Azores. We were filled with wonder. Every single day something delighted and amazed us. Generally, EW acted normally, but I smiled constantly. And I bounced. I bounced like Tigger.

We took the time to see everything we could see -- and I don't mean we spent time and money going to every part of the island, eat at every acclaimed restaurant, or participate in every hike or adventure. I mean that when we were in the Azores we fully appreciated where we were in the Azores. We walked; we observed; we interacted, we noticed everything; and we participated fully. Even when we got lost (and a bit testy about it) in Sao Miguel looking for the immigration office (for visas, people, we aren't moving there) we still noticed a one-way street we hadn't yet walked, a bell tower that was there for the climbing, a plaza with a tree whose branches were lovingly supported by strong posts. We marveled at the tree, and went back to walk that street and climb that bell tower. We embraced the Azores.

We participated. We ate their special foods and their cheap lunches. We tried their wines, their cheeses, their agua dente. We bought their produce, meat, snacks, and sauces for our provisions. We began to learn their language, noticed the ways things are done differently, and adapted our ways to theirs.

We opened our arms to the Azores and they hugged us back.

I love Maine. I love being a Mainah and am so blessed to know nearly all of my home state. I may not have traveled along her roads or sailed up her many bays and rivers cloaked in the same big-smile wonder that I've worn in the Azores, but I imagine the right travelers to Maine will find the same exultation there as I have done here. The recipe for successful travel must include an open mind and heart. I have enjoyed all of the countries and islands we've visited since we left Maine; I've come to realize that cruisers are travelers, not tourists; and I have to believe that while I may not adore the Canaries, Cape Verdes, Brazil, Uraguay, or Argentina as much as I adore the Azores, I might do so, and I certainly plan to enjoy and embrace the experience just as fully.

And that will make all the difference.

____________________________________

Oh, about that sailing thing we're currently doing. We had times in the past 24 hours when there was no wind. Also during the past 24 hours we have raised and lowered the whisker pole twice. Currently we are sailing right down our rhumb line to our goal, on a close reach in 5-7 knots of wind. We are moving along at 3-4 knots, comfortable and happy. I've promised EW a full breakfast with bacon when he gets up from his sleep.

Our location: North 30 54.402, West 015 47.831.

Embrace your day!

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