Thursday, June 04, 2009

Last Blog Entry

And here’s why. . .

Today is our fourth anniversary of cruising. And what a long strange trip it’s been! From Chicago to Grenada we’ve covered thousands of miles (plus several hundred with tacking and Scott's steering). From the Great Lakes to the Erie Canal to the Hudson River down the ICW, on the Atlantic Ocean across to the Bahamas eventually to the Dominican Republic then onward to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and finally to the Caribbean Islands - indeed what a long-strange-wonderful trip it’s been.

What have we discovered as a result? Living the cruising life is a very freeing experience. Probably more than we may have realized early on. We rarely look at a calendar. We lose track of the days. We get up when we want. We eat when we’re hungry. We have TIME to think about things. Time to read. Time to watch Gracie and then Mismo chatter at the gulls. Time to look at the stars. Time to plan what our next trip might be. Time to be in the moment and relish where we are and what we’ve done so far.

After some reflection we’ve realized that the freedom that we feel doesn’t have anything to do with sailing per se. It’s more like the sailing and living aboard has flipped a switch in our heads. Real freedom is more than just physically being able to go where you want when you want. Real freedom is a state of mind where you can think anything is possible. We think anything is possible (although Scott’s chances of playing in the NBA are dwindling).

Many times in our past lives we may have put ourselves in a box or a situation thinking that that was the only way things could be. This trip has brought to the forefront the idea that, as Sue is fond of saying, ‘Lots of things are possible’. Indeed. This trip should have been impossible. Little money. Little sailing experience. Lots of curiosity. Lots of time spent thinking of the ‘other’ solution.

Now on this fourth anniversary of being ‘cruisers’ we don’t feel like we necessarily are cruisers. We feel that the freedom we’ve learned via cruising allows us to think ANYTHING. . . And then maybe try it!

Here’s what we’ve thought most recently.

We are going to become grandparents in November and we had already planned to be home September - December and be around for that happy arrival. Then we thought, why not stay for the child’s first year? We both know all about various versions of child care. Sue is a professional in that field and Scott went through a lot of driving around and making deadlines with day cares etc. It’s stressful. More importantly, the best child care in the business is a few notches below family. So we think we can arrange our schedules at Columbia College where we will be teaching so that
at least one of us can be with the little tyke while the kids save money and pursue their careers. We are very excited about this next adventure. We love sailing. We love the kids! We want to do everything. We’ll try!

As to the picture above, it's ultrasound of course which makes Scott wonder if bats can see fetuses?

We are scheduled to leave Grenada on August 6th. So for the coming two months we are cleaning out Enee and re-varnishing all the bright work below. Big job but we’ve broken it up into one day projects and we’re always done in time for happy hour! This is actually kind of fun too. We’re afraid that redoing all the varnish is going to make the rather worn teak and holly decking look tired but that’s a worry for another day. Enee will be strapped down in the Spice Island Marine yard for the 16 months we’ll be in Chicago. Good people there and she’ll be well looked after. We hope to return in January of 2011 and if we can get wind vane steering rigged by then maybe head west to Bonaire. We’ll see. Plans are always etched in jello. Many things are possible!

Since we won’t be cruising for a year and a half we won’t have any new boat stories or sailing adventures to report. There might be a grand-baby blog or even a Chicago Marathon blog since Scott and Leah and Jason will be training for and running in that race in October 2010. Talk about an adventure! And Hey - how come these dates sound so big?

To our regular readers: Thanks for reading. We hope you enjoyed our travels. We sure enjoyed writing about them. We know that some of you are reading and planning your own escape from the grid in the future. Feel free to e-mail us anytime (posted in the side bar) if you have questions and we’ll make something up! The blog will stay up and there’s a search box at the top so you can search for things like 'Erie Canal'. Stuff like that.

Special thanks to my daughter, Leah and her husband Jason for visiting, for taking our mail, making calls for us, putting us up when we visit, writing Chris Parker when we are late arriving at a port, buying us a new iPod. . . I could go on and on. Leaving family was hard. Getting that kind of support was awesome.

So as we often toast - Life is good! . . . . GOOD AND SHORT!

And Enee Marie is clear.