A boat we met during our Pacific crossing recently finished their circumnavigation. That happens more frequently now as we have gone slowly, and those with fewer diversions or specific goals to complete a loop continue their march to the west. I’m reminded of what Alex Rust posted in his final update to the blog of Bubbles after completing his circumnavigation last year:
This trip was about simple discovery, venturing out to see the world and the people in it. Along the way we faced obstacles and challenges that only a trip like this could produce, and with no alternative but success we overcame. What we found was that the world is indeed a beautiful place filled with beautiful people. And like nearly everything in life, it is the people that make the experience and Bubbles was blessed with the best characters this world has to offer. It was a dream come true for me and If I learned anything on this trip it was that with a little luck and a lot of determination (or maybe it’s the other way around) you can make anything happen… just go for it!!
It’s impossible not to think about our own plans while reading the inspirational words of Alex. His bias to live life to the fullest captured the hearts of many, both along the way and in the wake of his untimely passing earlier this year.
Alex’s words ring especially clearly to me today, like a tonic for the soul. I needed the lift after the days we’ve logged in marinas this last month. Tying up to docks in Malaysia has provided some great rewards: the chance to meet up with old friends, the opportunity for Jamie to work, and some epic provisioning trips with my friend Karen. For the most part, though, being parked a marina isn’t our first choice. On the east coast of Malaysia, marinas are generally isolated developments. Disconnected from local communities, they remove us from the experiences that bring wonder to our floating life- from those characters, those adventures, those interactions that great memories are made of. My joy in the journey ebbs a bit with each day tied to a dock.
But here’s the thing: the characters, the experiences, the adventures… they are not exclusive of marinas. I just need to get out and not dwell on the fact that it’s stinking hot, there’s precious little breeze, that we have a literal boatload of laundry, and we are stuck out in a dusty artificial island. That’s just window dressing.
Alex’s words also nudge me into thoughts about our own bigger plan. To be clear: we have specifically not set out a goal to circumnavigate. Our goal, if I had to encapsulate one, is to live a joyful life afloat as a family: learning, loving, sharing, exploring- as long as it’s fun, and we haven’t run out of money. Lately, it’s seemed more and more like one facet of that life afloat together could be circumnavigating. I’ve started building out folders on the computer with titles like “Morocco,” and asking friends in the Med to pass along the secret handshake for anchorages in Croatia that don’t charge $40/night.
It’s still not a goal. It’s not even a promise- not yet. Just a possibility that feels more tangible, a gift we can give each other, and in the nearer term- an inspiration to get a few more dollars into that cruising kitty.