10 signs it’s time to go back to the boat

On Tuesday we begin the two-day journey back to Totem. It’s time. It’s past time. Here’s how we’re sure:

  1. The socks are on, and we’re not talking about Boston
  2. Nobody needs this many potato chip options
  3. 60 is the new 80 (temperature at which teens put on pants/hoodies)
  4. No longer accidentally calling bathroom “the head”
  5. Now nostalgically referring to guest bedroom as “our cabin”
  6. Explained ourselves one too many times
  7. Swerving to avoid catastrophe on the road one too many times
  8. Bathroom scale is new nemesis (need to put a halt to the pound-per-week plan)
  9. Gone out for Mexican food twice in a week
  10. Confirmed: Niall is thriving in college
Teenagers smile for camera at pizzeria in Portland
Our girls with Niall and his classmates at dinner near Lewis & Clark College in Portland

We’ve all been homesick for Totem, but our desire to get back to this homespace has become sharply present this week. Three times in the last two days our family narrowly evaded catastrophic road accidents. First, an 18-wheeler tried to change lanes directly into our vehicle while barreling down the highway in dumping rain. ABS brakes for the win, because I’m pretty sure it’s the only reason we didn’t end up in the ditch. Second: a car that lost control careening down on a slick hillside toward us in Portland, stopping within a few feet of a head-on collision as the terrified face of the driver gripped the wheel while sliding towards us at speed. Third, the failur of a windshield wiper which jammed up both wipers and left us with severely limited visibility: we pressed in darkness and downpour and insufficient pulloff shoulder for three miles before a highway exit ramp to work out a fix.

Those left me breathless, but people say what WE do is dangerous! We’ll take our salty life, thank you. Jamie and I compared notes over a roadside diner dinner once the wipers were replaced, grimly noting we’d each tried not to be superstitious but had a modicum of relief after the third event was safely in hindsight. Things come in threes, right?

This list of signs it’s time for us to go home evolved from a punchy road trip brainstorm. In truth the real kicker for us was that trip to see Niall, and to see how well settled he is: a transition made, from sea to land, from homeschool to formal school, nomad kid to planted young man. We’ll still be counting down until his winter break visit! 

Last chance: personalized copies of Voyaging with Kids!

The response to last week’s offer for an inscribed copy of Voyaging with Kids was overwhelming: I actually ran out of books! I didn’t want to turn down this opportunity for personalized books, so publisher Lin Pardey made sure that another case was sent out. That means I could fulfill all the requests, and I have a few more! If you’d like one for yourself, or a special gift, let me know… but do it today, I’m shipping before we head south of the border. Cost including US shipping is $30.

I’m hoping for a last 

bigleaf maple tree leaves turning yellow and fluttering to a pathway backed by coniferous trees
Last gasp of a temperate fall before traveling to the desert


10 Responses to 10 signs it’s time to go back to the boat

  1. Keith & Nicki, s/v Sionna October 29, 2018 at 5:41 am #

    How often we cruisers hear how “dangerous” being on a boat is, ad nauseum, while the speaker prepares to (get in a car, cross the street, etc…) engage in this land life whose much greater risks they’ve become blind to. Even going to church can get you killed these days – I say that with a sick heart, not callously. Safety? I’ll take a day aboard, any day.
    Now if only I could. Sionna is on the hard in Florida, Nicki and I are trapped on land, at least for the winter, and I injured my shoulder on the stairs in our house-sit abode. Here’s hoping we survive land life long enough to get back to the boat!

  2. Terry October 29, 2018 at 6:18 am #

    I don’t consider myself very superstitious, but that said, my mother brought me on the rule of three! I always have a feeling of relief after the 3rd event. Glad you got that behind you. We are excited for you to get back to Totem!

  3. Jim (in Essex) October 29, 2018 at 6:22 am #

    Have a good trip down to Totem. Aside from the barrier coating project are there any other major projects / upgrades planned? Cheers!

  4. Saffy The Pook October 29, 2018 at 7:31 am #

    Early fall is the worst for the roads. The sun is low during commute hours. High winds and deluge rains coincide with leaves that are still dropping and clogging the drains. Old leaves on the road turn into slick pulp…

  5. Melissa White October 29, 2018 at 8:51 am #

    I’m hearing you about the safety on those roads. Here in Arizona 85 MPH is the new 60 and it’s so stressful! Why do we have to go this fast? Hey maybe we’ll be passing each other over the border.

  6. chao yoong October 29, 2018 at 10:24 am #

    I think Poseidon sent angels to keep you safe from the “near” accidents….transitions are always challenging and as you alluded to the fact that Niall is adapting to land since the Totem set sail more than 10 yrs ago. What you have given the three children are fabulous adventures, exposing to cultures, sampling exotic cuisine, taming the wild seas, surviving treacherous events on land & water and grounding them on land as well as on the Seven Seas…May all of you have protection and safety on your next journey. Wonder if you ever pass out candies to children on Halloween while at sea? Do you toss candies across the bow? haha..just curious.

  7. Laurence Phillips October 30, 2018 at 7:49 am #

    11. Plastic water bottles are everywhere and you’ve become inured to them

    • Behan November 16, 2018 at 7:06 pm #

      Sad but true. One of many shades of benignly thoughtless consumption that is everywhere.

  8. Chad French October 30, 2018 at 4:08 pm #

    Guys, I know the feeling of needing to get back to the boat. Baja Ha-Ha left yesterday and we leave next year, can’t wait-

    In the meantime we’re working on multiple large projects to upgrade an older boat (77) and prep us for our long term cruising hopes with our kids-


    • Behan November 16, 2018 at 7:05 pm #

      Next year, that’s great! It will fly by, Chad. See you in Mexico in 2019, then!

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