Thursday, May 9, 2013

If It Was Easy Everyone Would Do It.



The exclaim I hear most often from people when I tell them what we are doing is "What about storms?". The second most common comment is "What about pirates?". The truthful answer to the first is that modern weather tracking and careful itinerary planning means we are likely to be able to miss anything really hairy and if we do roll bad odds and get terrible weather, we have a stout little boat and we are putting together a contingency plan to make sailing in weather as safe as possible. As to *pirates, well we aren't planning a coastal cruise of Somalia or Malaysia  so the odds are far greater that we would get carjacked in our hometown than run afoul of pirates. My flippant answer is if we can survive the refit and getting ready to leave everything else will be easy.

Getting a boat ready is a tough gig.Seriously. If you have buckets of money, you can throw it at tradesmen and have it done for you but then you run the very real risk of not having the work done well despite the extraordinary expense. This is largely why Mark has been doing the work himself. While it slows down the departure date, we can rest easy knowing the work is done to perfection. Its not really a money saving scheme because when Mark is working on the boat, he isn't working for the nice people who give him a paycheck. Pick your poison I suppose.

Then there is the emotional cost. With such a ridiculous schedule (non-stop work/boat work for 3 years. 3. Years.) and with all of us feeling so transient- not really putting down roots, not really traveling, in this bizarre state of refit induced suspended animation- tempers can get short. It happens to each and everyone of us but thankfully, for the most part it seems we don't hit the lows at the same time. It has happened a couple of instances that both Mark and I have hit a low spot at the same time and it was NOT pretty. Fortunately, we tend to bounce back fairly quickly and come back to being best friends again. Even more fortunately for Mark I am a very forgiving person and can forgive him for the fact that all of his tools are stupid tools and his projects are stupid projects and I really don't like boats anymore because they are stupid too.

And then there is the budget. We are not fabulously wealthy trust fund kids. We are able to do this adventure by carefully watching the pennies. Mark can tell you where he has spent every single penny since he was 10 years old. (naturally) I on the other hand, am not the most organized and numerically savvy of people so you can imagine the difficulty that can pop up between Mark and I on this. Numbers are not my thing and I struggle to keep track of everything while running a house with kids in the suburbs. The good news is that I am a fairly frugal person anyway. The bad news is that getting the budget ready requires more than just being frugal, it means knowing where Every.Single. Penny. is going. A mistake in budget projections can have me feeling certain that we will run out of money somewhere between here and Kuala Lumpur, we will be forced to eat the salon cushions to stave off starvation and we will be forced to sell one of the kids for diesel and beans. We are really under the gun budget wise because Mark is planning on leaving work at the end of this year to work full time on the boat. So dinners out (which were already pretty darned rare) are off the list and while we know we desperately need a vacation, it pains us and worries us to spend the money on fun when what we really need is a completed front cabin, plumbing, rigging, sails and brand new deck hardware.

Its hard on the kids as well. Kitty is young enough to just go along with everything but Maura is having a rough time. She wants to make plans for the near future, but the fact that we are leaving hangs over her head. If you ever had to move when you were a teenager, you will understand. Now add in the fact that she has no idea what environment she will be living in and you can see why she might be a bit more than nervous. You remember being 13 don't you? I know that the rewards will far out weigh the sacrifices and I keep coming back to how HAPPY she is when sailing but sometimes, it can be hard for her to keep it all in perspective when all she sees right now are the things she has to give up.

And then there is trying to get a house ready to go on the market, and deciding do we home school this last year or let the kids have as much time in a typical school situation as they can, and we really need to get a handle on budget and oh did I mention the glacially slow pace of the refit and....and... and...

So why am I writing about all of this? I am writing this because this is reality. Getting a boat ready, getting your finances ready, preparing a house to be sold, working as much as you can before you pack it all in for a few years and working on boat projects every single day while trying to keep up with a job is definitely stressful stuff. It is not easy and when the reward for all of the sacrifices everyone has made seems so far away (and has slipped FARTHER away) it can feel down right craptacular.

I am comforted by the fact that every single one of my cruising friends who have had to spend a few years getting ready will tell you that getting ready to leave SUCKS. No two ways about it. The thing that keeps me going is their assurances that they did manage to get through it all without divorce attorneys, the kids refusing to speak to them ever again and without going completely insane. They also, without exception assure me that every bit of stress and upheaval has been worth it 10 times over.

I keep reminding myself, this too shall pass. While things are definitely difficult right now, we are so, so fortunate. Fortunate to have each other and to be able to plan a dream together. Lucky to be able to cobble together a little team that will get to discover the world together. Like the titles says, if it were easy everyone would do it. Its not easy, but I have absolute, unshakable faith that it will all be worth it in the end. Mark has never, ever in his life not done what he said he was going to do. I have always been one to do completely audacious things and for them to all come out in the end. We will get there but to say its an easy trip would be an absolute falsehood.

Pirates and storms? Not what frightens me. What frightens me is the strain all of this puts on our relationships but we have looked that fear in the eye and we are still here, still friends, still moving forward, still dreaming and still on the same team.. Now bring me that horizon...

And hurry please.


9 comments:

  1. I don't know about the insanity part. I think we are all insane now, but everything else I agree, and sympathize with :)

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    1. Insanity loves company...or so I have heard.

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  2. Great post! We don't even have the boat yet, much less are we doing the refit, and I read your blog and the Tate/Dani blog with more than a little trepidation. Some days it seems so far in the future that I just think it won't happen at all. Then I remember that like Mark, Mike has always done what he said he would do. And, like you, I've done a lot of crazy things and they have all turned out fine, if not great! So I remain hopeful. I really do hope you guys get your vacation though. You need it. And have you considered, for Maura, having one or two of her friends join her on occasion, while you are in some spectacular anchorage somewhere?

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    1. Your turn will come soon enough my dear. Never lose faith that you too can have your life taken over by a stupid boat.
      Having a friend aboard is a great idea, but I can not imagine any of her friends parents letting their kid fly anywhere to meet us when half of them won't let them walk home the 1/2 mile from school alone. :) Hopefully she will meet new friends and we are purposefully altering our plans to follow the typical kid boat routes.

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  3. Good news: this is like any post I could have written from 2008 to 2011, and it is all worth it, hang in there.
    Bad news: we're still working on the boat, even two years in (but you're doing your refit before you leave--smart)

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    1. Thank you for yet another reassurance that this -as bizarre as it is- is par for the course.

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  4. Well said my dear. Truthful and hopeful all at once. We are right there with ya on the long haul wait. We'll get there soon....

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  5. I can TOTALLY relate to this. We just keep slugging away. I kind of view this work like I view working out a ton. When I start a workout regimen I'm all excited and full of energy, but as the months go by it's easy to not want to go, to not have the energy to go, and definitely not be excited to go. But I go anyways because I've set a goal for what I want to accomplish.

    So many nights when I get off work I'd rather go home and cook dinner, get more sleep or clean our neglected floors but instead I force myself to go to the boat, like a soldier, marching on whether I like it or not. I feel myself becoming robotic with the work and the motions. I throw emotion out of the window, it doesn't matter, put some music on and tackle the goal I set for myself that day.

    The days like this are spent almost in a fog, day in and day out until one day, like this weekend I go to the boat and finally see all that i've accomplished and feel a wave of excitement and accomplishment sweep over me. It is these moments of utter fulfillment, vindication and contentment that makes all the foggy days worth it. These days reenergize me for the next set of project I must march foward on.

    I can see clearly one day in the future when I finish most of my projects and call it good. The feeling there I know will be unmatched by most i've ever done in my life, similar to the feelings I'll have while out sailing each time we reach a new port.

    I can't imagine doing all of this with kids like you are trying to do.

    Goodluck to you and Mark, keep soldiering on and meet us out on some tropical blue waters where we can have a sundowner and discuss those days of old when our life was filled with refit.

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    1. I wish I could go robotic! I care too much and am too ready to go NOW but all good things come to those who wait, right?

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