It reminded me that even though EW and I aren’t exactly living the cruising life we desire this year – this really is our paradise – for now.
We are on our sailboat in the Caribbean. If we want, we could drop this mooring any time and sail off into the sunset -- or the sunrise. But by the time we actually choose to leave St. Thomas we’ll have been here for 18 months or so, and we’ll have had J.O.B.s for most of that time. This wasn’t what we dreamed about when we left Maine – but it’s what we have to do to be comfortable and safe on the next part of our journey.
Looking at things that way, right now my “paradise” is perhaps more like purgatory -- living aboard in St. Thomas, getting up to an alarm from EW’s iPad, seeing him only on evenings and occasional days off together, building up the cruising kitty and getting the boat ready for our next trip.
I laughed at myself after looking up “purgatory”. What elitist hyperbole. I am not suffering here. Although … if heaven is cruising and hell is living in a house in Maine … than living on the boat in the Caribbean is certainly between my two worlds.
CLARIFICATION: I loved our house in Maine and loved living aboard in Maine, but I have no desire to spend more winters on the dock under shrink wrap. It wasn’t hell then, but it would be hell now.
It’s helpful to remember that this life that we have right now – it’s someone’s paradise. Every day EW and I talk with tourists and cruise ship passengers who express delight and envy about our lifestyle. Most of them don’t mean it – really. For them it’s a dream, but it’s not their dream.
One person who did mean it had read my blog and book before taking a Caribbean Cruise Ship vacation. Here in St. Thomas they went on a day sailing adventure that included lunch on Honeymoon Beach where we were anchored. As they motored through the anchorage, Lynn recognized La Luna, and messaged me on Facebook from her phone.
We developed an on-line friendship, and I wrote three ridiculously long blog posts to provide her with answers to questions she didn’t even have – and some answers to those questions she did have. When Lynn and Keith said they envied our lifestyle – they meant it. They’ve bought a boat, moved aboard, and started a blog. They’re working out a few bugs, learning new skills, helping to get their young adult children settled, and adding safety and practical gear to the boat. Here’s a recent Facebook post from Keith:
Sitting on the "back porch" (our cockpit facing the Georgia Saw Grass swampland) and...Damn it's cold! You really notice the weather sitting on a boat. At least the 30kt/hr winds stopped. Last night we were rocking and rolling moaning and squeaking. We know exactly what time the wind began yesterday evening, and exactly what time the temperature dropped. No getting away from Mother Nature on a small craft sitting in 15 feet of salt water. Just 30 feet of small boat attached by a total of 120 feet of 1/2" three strand nylon in a world of wind and water. You watch for line chafe (wear due rubbing) I can tell you that! I can't describe what that is like. No hiding behind brick and insulation and drywall coated with paint. I love it!
He’s in paradise.
Though I may consider this time in St. Thomas to be purgatory, it’s helpful for me to remember that getting here was once our dream. Keith and Lynn will love it here. How fortunate we are – to sail to paradise.