This is my new favourite place. I’m not sure if everyone has that special place, but I certainly need it. It’s that place you go to be alone and gather your thoughts. All through university, that place was my grandma’s. She lived in a small town in the North woods in the middle of nowhere with no mobile phone coverage. I always felt loved and comforted by her and the happy childhood memories made there.
When it all got too much I would retreat there for the weekend and after her warnings of how I shouldn’t walk the trails alone because if I wasn’t eaten by a bear, a man would rape me, I would tell her I loved her and leave. To my knowledge, neither had ever happened, so I would make the beautiful drive and walk to the river where I would sit on a rock and dangle my feet in the rapids (while being very weary of lone men). I would spend however long I needed thinking about life, crying and/or talking to my grandpa and aunt who I knew were always looking over me when I was there. They are two of the people who made that place so special and even though they weren’t physically there, I could feel their presence so strongly as if they were. I would leave feeling refreshed and ready to fight.
I always missed that place when I moved to England. I never found one in England. On the sea, I don’t really feel like I need one, but I like having a thinking place. I like even more my bow seat when we have passengers and I need a rest from demands. When we’re sailing, I sit on that metal part and rest my back on the genoa. I can’t hear or see anyone. I just hear the soft murmur of the engine if it’s on and the bow bouncing through the waves. It’s a great retreat!
This morning there was no wind, the sea was very gentle and the water was that incredible shade of blue only the sea can give. I sat on my perch with a big smile on my face. I noticed how over some of the bigger waves, my stomach had butterflies like when you’re in a car and go fast over a hill. I wrapped my legs around the bars and lifted my hands. It felt like I was flying and I giggled like a child. How incredible life is!! The most simplest of things always gives me such great joy.
A couple of the passengers lived in London so we had been talking about London life. As I was hovering above the deep blue on my favourite post, I couldn’t help but think how things are so different now.
Fifteen months ago, I was working 70-80 hours a week in four different jobs. I was working my full time job which I hated with a passion and then doing three other jobs that I actually liked to try and block out the horribleness of my full time job.
I trained to be a yoga teacher and was trying to build up my business so that I could do that full time. The competition in London is fierce and it takes a while to get a client base. That meant I had to teach classes weekly and more than one. Then I needed to work more to pay the studio rental because I wasn’t breaking even teaching. That’s how the 37 hour work week gradually increased more and more.
I started cycling everywhere because it’s just a nicer way to travel in London. Often times it took the same amount of time, but I didn’t have to sit squished next to someone on the tube and start worrying I was going to be late if there was a delay. With my schedule, every minute really did count.
I treasured these times on my bike. No one could contact me and I felt carefree like a child riding their bike through the neighbourhood. London is such a great place to people watch, which I enjoyed doing in between dodging the cars. I had to keep buying bigger backpacks because as my hours increased, the time at home was less and I often ate all three meals away from home.
On the nights I wasn’t working late, I would squeeze in time with my friends and boyfriend. Time that was anything but quality because I was always thinking about the next day or more commonly, my bed and how I wanted to sleep.
I remember walking into work one day and one of the gemstones in my life asking me how I was. “I hoped the whole way here a bus would knock me off my bike and run over me.” I replied. She said she felt sad I felt that way because I was such a lovely person and deserved to be happy. All I could muster was “thanks.”
At this point, I had already decided to travel because I knew I was driving myself into insanity. I checked my diary to see how many days until I left for Mexico. It was over a hundred. If I had the time, I would’ve contemplated what would be better. Waiting or being hit by that bus. But I had horrific files to read, groups to run where I heard traumatic stories that were increasingly torturing my soul and reports about awful things that I had to write. No time to dwell on the future.
Life hadn’t always been this way. I used to enjoy my job and treasured my nights out with friends. I became more and more empty and numb as I continued to choose to live this life. I didn’t really know any other way.
Needless to say, when I stepped on that plane to Mexico City, I was too tired to feel anything. All I knew was that it felt like a tremendous weight had been lifted and I fell into a deep sleep on the plane.
The sail to Panama and CC were my life saviours. That is no exaggeration. Colombia was the last lag of my trip and I knew in five weeks I would go back, work my notice and then work temporary jobs until I became a licensed masseuse and found a job. That didn’t excite me either, but it was better then what my life had been when I left.
I remember contemplating asking CC if I could stay and learn how to sail. My conclusion was that the worst he would say is no and nothing would change. That one question changed my life completely. Now I wake up every day smiling because I am on the water, which I have always loved. I go to bed with a smile because I can see the stars and the moon and wow are they so much more stunning outside of a city! Sometimes I ‘work’ from 6.30 am to 11.30 pm or later, but I love so much of my day. The things I don’t like, I barely even notice because there is so much beauty and so much peace, it doesn’t even matter. I feel so connected to the earth. After all, I’m surrounded by water and I swim with the fish almost every day!
So this morning as I was sat on my perch on the bow, I thanked the universe for this opportunity and for my life. I watched the birds flying just above the surface of the ocean as they hunted for their breakfast and the flying fish literally flying over the water. Thank goodness that bus never hit me because I feel just as free as they are.