About a year and a half ago Tammy and I decided to try something different. I'm not sure how the conversation began but we eventually settled on a goal: to live aboard a sailboat, travel and explore the world first-hand by the wind and in doing so circumnavigate the globe. This might seem like a tall order for a couple with relatively little sailing experience but we have taken to this notion like few others and we are dedicated to making the dream a reality. Before we get to dealing with the particulars of this endeavour (such topics are for future articles) I would like to examine the reasons why we've set our sights on this goal. I do this for our own clarification and also to help you, dear reader, understand our motive for undertaking this departure from the norm.
To get ourselves into the proper frame of mind I find it helps to think back to when we were young and had dreams and goals unfettered by the banal restrictions that can only come with indoctrination into adulthood. I'm not speaking of the fantasies that we had when we were very young; surely at one point we all wanted to "become" something that isn't possible and you can probably think of a time when you imagined yourself as a crocodile or cat (if it helps you can think of some other child who you know of who is afflicted by such ideas but in truth we were all this child at one point or another). Instead, I am referring to the moment in our lives when we began to dream of things that are attainable or at least in the realm of the possible though perhaps not likely: I wanted to be an astronaut and my wife a marine biologist.
Tammy tells me that she didn't know what a marine biologist was at the time but she was fairly certain that she wanted to be the woman playing in tidal pools and hanging out with the starfish!
Sometimes these dreams are passing notions and in other cases they stick around for a while, perhaps long enough to be realized. These kinds of schemes last into adulthood but they occur less frequently as time passes and sadly we think of them as mere daydreams or worse yet, we reach a point where we are incapable of having them at all. There are many reasons for failing to have these ideas: we get weighed down by responsibilities placed upon us by others and buried by self-induced commitments. We spend our time, borrowed and short as it is, living to work and in doing so trade the very thing that cannot be replaced or renewed for little pieces of paper. We in turn exchange these little pieces of paper for possessions that, although many of which have purpose and some of which we derive pleasure from, cannot return to us the same time that we sacrificed to obtain them. Lin and Larry Pardey, renowned sailors who built their own boats and sailed around the world several times over often referred to currency as "freedom chips." In some ways this is true: they enable us to do certain things that we would otherwise be unable to and are economic realities of our existence but on the same hand we had to spend our freedom to get the chips in the first place. If we aren't spending our chips in such a way as to reclaim some of our freedom then we might as well be taking them out with the trash for all the good they do us.
This isn't to say that there is anything wrong with pursuing the usual things that a lot of us want: a career, relationships, a place to live and perhaps children. We'll pursue much more besides but the problem lies when we do so at the expense of our unrealized dreams. For Tammy and I the act of circumnavigation by sail is a part of bringing to life our dreams of exploration and conquering an idea hand-in-hand. We are blessed to have each other and lucky to have rewarding careers that we both enjoy but we are also fortunate to realize that our employment is a means to a journey of dreams and what's more, that we possess the will and freedom to pursue them.
We promise you, dear reader, that not every article from here on out will be nearly as introspective. Some of them will be pragmatic with a dose of honest-to-goodness fun but as we begin our journey perhaps take a minute to remember your own attainable dreams and find it within yourself to follow them through.