For several years, John and I forewent exchanging Christmas gifts because we made an annual (and eventually bi-annual) trip to the British Virgin Islands for a dose of sun, sand and wind. Then, in December 2013 packages showed up under the tree. Ingrate that I am, my first thought was “Damn him, now I have to go shopping.”
By this time, he had already dropped several broad hints about buying a big boat and sailing the Caribbean (we already owned a boat, by the way, a cozy little Capri 26 for weekends at Lake Roosevelt in Arizona, our home state at the time). As with most couples who choose the cruising life, the female half of this pair was slow to come to the party. By December of 2013 though, several things had been rolling around in the female’s head – shock over a (young) professional colleague who died suddenly over a weekend, concerns about other colleagues and acquaintances with life-impacting medical conditions, a growing realization that the couple just wasn’t getting any younger and life can change in a moment.
So she was probably ripe for the picking, and these books were all the incentive required.
I read through these, and many more. Some stories were about experienced sailors who threw off the corporate shackles to pursue a life-long dream. Some were about complete beginners chasing a romantic notion. Some had modest sailing experience and had owned boats previously. Most had at least one moment of complete sailing idiocy. After a few months and a couple dozen books, my vision of who could do this changed to include people like us and it happened. The moment he was waiting for. That fateful spring day in 2014 when I said:
“If we’re going to do this, let’s just do it – and sooner rather than later.”
Next thing I know, we are both immersing ourselves in www.yachtworld.com dreams, discussing whether to keep or sell the house, what time of what year would good time for sailing off to the Caribbean in our yet-to-be-found-and-purchased big boat and what part of the country to relocate to in order to get it all started.
In other words, his plan worked. Except that the boat of our dreams was in San Diego, with a couple of big land masses separating it from the Caribbean. First lesson for the cruising life: adaptability is key. So we are off to Mexico.