September 20, 2011

Fiji without Baggage

Last week when we were cleaning our boat up in anticipation of our next set of guests (Jen, Peder, Anja and Cara) I felt pretty good about making enough sleeping space for four extra people—but when it came to their luggage I was a bit worried. “I guess we could stack it on Maia’s desk or your work bench,” I told Evan “But you’ld really have to clean your workbench off…”

When they arrived, I was impressed: four people, three backpacks. For a month in Fiji and Australia. And one of the bags had to be for us—they were bringing spectra rigging, a hard drive, power tools and Maia’s b-day gifts…

Then Jen explained the airline had lost their luggage. All of it. Jen was stressed—especially about our stuff. I, interestingly enough, was not. I wasn’t even concerned. As I double-checked my frame of mind (there was dark chocolate in that luggage) I realized that barring the odd day of excessive over-reaction (like, umm, last week when the boat was really messy and there was no place for luggage) I’m taking a lot of stuff in stride these days. Even stuff like the airline losing our very difficult to replace rigging, which we absolutely need before heading to Vanuatu.

Having guests without luggage meant we needed to change plans. Something we’re getting really good at and that I’ve learned isn’t worth fussing over (well, mostly learned). So rather than pulling out of Lautoka shortly after they arrived—we took them in to shop. Taking a jetlagged family of four shopping in a congested (and very foreign seeming) city is not as easy as you might think. Stores don’t have the combination of things you might expect in them—and we needed to go to several, just to find the basics.
kava while sailing
 Eventually we sort of had them outfitted and we were underway back to Musket Cove. Once we were out on the water Fiji began to work her magic. The islands came into view, the water turned turquoise and the reef showed up in the distance. Maia did an oral report for school for all of us—teaching our friends about Fijian customs and running a kava ceremony. Then we all went for a snorkel. As the stars rose and brightened, and the kids went limp from exhaustion, we called it a night.
Maia's b-day party--complete with cake and kids
 The next few days were a whirlwind of beach walks, pool time, play dates and Maia’s long awaited birthday party, the one that she simply trusted would someday occur--complete with games, cake and a bunch of kids (although the presents from home were with the lost luggage).

As the kids played hide and seek (adapting the game to fit the terrain—the best hiding place was up a palm tree…) I thought about all the lessons I’ve learned while cruising: Adapting to new food and new cultures; making do with what we have; letting go of expectations; figuring out how to fix just about anything; learning to count on family, friends and the occasional stranger for help and support. And I understood that in many ways travelling without baggage really is the ideal.

Most people we know seem to see the Pacific crossing as a great opportunity to engage in some sort of self-improvement and personal growth. Personally, I had a bit of a list: I wanted to confront my fears, learn to live in the moment, fully engage with my family, lose weight, get fit… You know—little stuff. The lessons I got though were different ones and every time I thought I had it figured out, it all slipped away—defying my expectations. Reminding me that being in complete control of your life is pretty much an illusion.

The luggage showed up—and with it everything we need to make the last leg of our trip (our new sail also arrived—more on that soon). And our dear friends—who we realized were not only our first guests on Ceilydh (helping us deliver her home after we bought her in 2004) but that Anja and Cara were Maia’s first sleepover guests when we first moved aboard)—flew on to the next leg of their adventure.

We’re now working hard to prepare the boat for the next six weeks of travel and I’m trying to prepare myself—to make sure I enjoy all of it without expectation and stress. Hopefully I’ll leave my baggage in Fiji.


Brodi said...

I've been reading your blog for a while now, and am finally getting around to leaving a comment. :-) Your family's journey is so inspiring! I hope your dark chocolate catches up with you soon! :-)

Diane, Evan and Maia said...

Thanks Brodi,
The dark chocolate has found us and is being enjoyed;)