I Went Up the Backstay. Way Up
Georgetown Net – VHF on Steroids

Changing Your Life - Together


Change happens. It can creeps up on us, or slap us in the face, or we can make decisions that will take us in a new direction in big giant steps. A lot of books have been written by individuals who’ve made great changes in their lives, sometimes after a divorce or sometimes while conducting business and lives as usual. As adults, we deal with the joys and challenges of children, parents, careers, and moves that are expected in a “normal” life. When a couple chooses to sell their home and go to sea, or take off in an RV, or move off the grid – they make a joint decision to live an unusual life together. This is largely an uncharted path as we learn new skills,  leave family and friends behind, and in the case of an RV or sailboat experience being together 24/7 in a small space.  Life still happens, marriages still need work, and the spouse we married is still that same spouse. What does it take to stay happy together and when you’ve chosen to change your lives?

Since I’ve become active on Twitter, Facebook, and with this blog, EW has frequently called himself “the Topic”. Calling him EW was one way to provide him with a teeny bit of privacy, and I generally avoid any discussion that would embarrass him.  Recently, he’s agreed to accept that I will share some of the good and bad about our relationship and some of the challenges we’ve encountered (or created). I’ve agreed not to tell our secrets and I will focus more on my quirks than his -- though certainly some of his will be mentioned. This is our story, told from my point of view, but he’s always welcome to provide a guest post with and his side of things.

So on Tuesdays and Saturdays, this blog will discuss change and our relationship.  I welcome input from other cruisers, RV’ers and couples who are undertaking great changes together and hope that we can help each other – and I hope that something I write (or confess) here will help you.

As I’m writing this, EW is working on a difficult splice in our anchor line. He’s grunting and groaning and exclaiming and saying bad words. It’s hard for me to concentrate and I’ve no quiet place for escape. On another day, I might be struggling with the computer or a sewing project and I’ll be grunting and groaning and talking to myself and saying bad words and he’ll have no quiet place to go for escape.

I’ve found out that we both talk to ourselves when working on a project – so a frequent conversation goes like the one yesterday.

Me, in the forward head. “Darn it! I just cleaned that mirror and it’s cloudy.” (This was for my benefit only)

EW: “I told you that it was rusting and I’d get to it.”

Me:  “Not that mirror, I wasn’t talking to you – I was talking to myself .”

EW: “What mirror?”

Me: “Never mind. This is a ridiculous conversation.”

And I will do the same thing to him. He’ll be working on something, and start mumbling and I will interject and offer to help, when all he really wants is to be able to think out loud and work it through.

We even have a phrase for that. One day EW said something (evidently for his ears only) and I said, “Sorry, I didn’t hear that.” and he said, “Never mind, I was just talking out loud.” I laughed and asked him if any thinking was going on. So, “Sorry, just talking out loud” is a phrase to let the other know that the current conversation does not require a reply – or even that the other pay attention.

Neither of us are going to stop “talking out loud” (though I’m working on curbing my bad language). in this small space at sea, we’ll both have to learn when to listen and when to let it go.


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Love it. Wifey and I always talk to each other from another room and our "code response" is "blah, blah, blah?" Living an unusual life is a state of mind as much as something you do. I bet you and "the Topic" are great at it. Best to you both.


This reminds me of a great excerpt from M. Wylie Blanchet book, "The Curve of Time," when she's trying to fix her engine, "Engines were invented and reared by men. They are used to being sworn at, and just take advantage of you; if you are polite to them - you get absolutely nowhere...I sat on my heels, cursing softly when the wrench slipped and took a chunk off my knuckle."
I haven't been married that long, and it's taken a while, but I have certainly learned to have more patience for my husband's cursing while working on the boat or other similar projects.
Looking forward to more posts about The Topic (great name btw)!

Barbara Hart

Thank you for this terrific comment. That is exactly how it feels. Life is good -- and interesting.

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