There was a moment last week, when Lewa slipped a salusalu around my neck then led us to the lovo feast, that I looked around and suddenly saw myself as a character in one of those cruising books I first started reading as a teenager. Those books always had a photo section, and somewhere amongst the pictures there was always a fuzzy, black and white image of the smiling author at a South Seas feast. I never realized it, but somewhere inside me I’ve been hoping for that feast all along.
Even cruising can get mundane—there is the day-to-day stuff that everyone, everywhere has to do, then there’s this boatload of other stresses that never crops up in most people’s lives (seriously—when was the last time you had to fend off your neighbour’s house when it dragged into you during a sudden wind shift? Like we had to last night…). But then something happens that reminds me that despite the fact this is sometimes hard (really hard…)—it’s all worth it.
We’ve just celebrated Thanksgiving. Actually, it was thanks to Maia that we celebrated Thanksgiving. Somehow, despite the fact it’s one of my favourite holidays I’ve managed to forget it until the very last minute for two out of the past three years. I think when you don’t have seasonal cues and the buzz of excitement building around you—it’s easy to mess up the timing on these things.
But thanks to a terrible weather system (which means we didn’t leave for Vanuatu as planned, but did manage to fill our tanks with rainwater…) we found ourselves near grocery stores. Within a few hours we had dinner guests arranged, decorations up and a menu planned. With those out of the way we were able to focus on the other part of Thanksgiving—the things we are grateful for.
The list is endless really: We are blessed with a supporting cast of family, and new and old friends who offer us help when needed, ears and hugs as required, chocolate when they can, and who seem to keep showing up on our boat even as we sail further away. And we have each other—I think I started cruising as a way to fulfill my own dreams, but as we’ve worked together and learned more about what makes each of us tick, I’ve discovered the true adventure is when we work to discover our shared goals.
And I’m grateful that Ev and I have employers who don’t seem to find our odd lifestyle and ever changing time zones a barrier to employment. And I’m thankful that Maia is thriving both as a nomad and as a boat schooler. And I’m grateful for a fast, comfortable boat that is easy to repair. And so much more…
But this Thanksgiving my thoughts keep coming back to that lovo feast—and to the welcoming warmth we discovered in Gunu Village. And I realize that this year—as I sail across an ocean and to places I’ve been fantasizing about since I was small child—I’m grateful to those who went first, and to all those authors and sailors who inspired me to dream.