Monday, December 02, 2013

A New Horizon: Thoughts on Change

So here we are.

Scott went off to work last week for the next five weeks - his last rotation with Island Windjammers for the foreseeable future (the door to return remains open) - and Isla and I are on the boat, prepping her for our impending departure, a date that is hurtling towards us despite my attempts to ignore it.

We leave on Friday.

We fly back home to Chicago and leave the tropics, our boat, our home for the next fifteen to twenty months, give or take.  That's right.  We're moving back to land.  We're going to become C.L.O.D's (cruisers living on dirt, though I really hate that acronym).  And oh yeah, and I'm going to give birth to twins in the next couple of months.  Our lives are about to do a major, major about face.

Ironically, it's the whole 'moving back to land' thing that's the biggest pill to swallow for me and I have been procrastinating writing about it because writing about it makes it real.  I don't want it to be real.  Don't get me wrong, I know that this is what we have to do and I know that this is what is best for our family right now.  I am excited to spend the holidays with loved ones, I am happy that I am going home to my amazing friends and I am beyond grateful to be welcomed with open arms into a home that is full of happiness, laughter, support and love.  Wonderful, amazing things are in store for us, and I should be counting my blessings that we have so much to look forward to and be thankful for all the options that are before us, but I just can't shake this feeling of melancholy that sits like a pit in my tummy.  I can't seem to get excited about moving back to land, even with all the benefits that doing so entails.  Each day I pack up more and more of our boat, I get a little more sad.  You see, I don't want things to change.  I am really, really sad to end this chapter.

I know, I know...Change is part of life.  Change is good and necessary for growth... But despite being a person who's life has more or less been defined by coming and going and living pretty unconventionally, I have never been one to take unplanned life changes in stride with my head held high.  Oh no, as much as I hate to admit this rather large character flaw (namely that I am a control freak), change that I have not been the master of has to pull me forward by the scruff of my neck while I kick and scream in protest: "But I LIKED the way things were!" "Leave me be! I was happy where I was!!!"  When my best friend got married - as thrilled as I was for her to have found an awesome life partner, father and husband - I grieved for the duo that we used to be (and let me tell you, we were - and still are - quite a pair!).  When I left Africa after three incredible life-altering years, I came home in a fog that took months to come out of.  When summer and sailing season ended each year in my former land life, I mourned and went into a funk.  When we part ways with buddy boats, I get weepy.  In other words, when my little world is rocked, it takes me a good, long while to get my bearings again.  Seems out of character, right?  Guess I am not as "go with the flow" as I might like to think I am.  I'm a walking, talking paradox at times.

Part of this current resistance, no doubt, is the fact that it is winter right now and (despite loving to ski), I never have and never will be a "winter" or cold weather person.  I will be going home to temperatures in the single and possibly negative digits.  Up north where I come from, is not unusual for the sun to remain in hiding for days at a time this time of year.  It's dark a lot and, obviously, really cold.  For a sun-loving, beach-going, warm-weather-lover like me, it's hard to get excited about those things.  For someone like me, weather like that is just a tad depressing.

The other part of this resistance and sorrow is that I kind of feel like we're breaking up, you and I.

Sharing this adventure with you all has been a pleasure, you have brought me tremendous support, joy, insight and, sometimes, even friendship.  You have challenged, inspired and pushed me.  And while we have no plans to sell this boat (unless we buy another one) and are prepping to resume cruising again in the 2015 season (we plan to be based in the BVI's where it will be easier to island hop and adjust to life aboard as five, more on this to come), this hiatus will be a long one.  I am still going to write during this land-based period, and when I feel inspired or have reason, it will be boat and cruising related... But for the most part - I'm going to be a landlubber embarking on a new adventure.  Namely one of the "three children under three" variety.  I have no doubt that being a mama to a toddler and twins (a situation likened to the 'decathlon of parenting' in a book I read) will provide me with plenty of fodder for amusing and insightful stories and blog posts, sporadic as they might be for a while.  But I also know that reading about adventures in twin rearing is not why many of you are here...

And while I welcome with open arms the new followers of this blog who are reading to follow exactly that stuff ,  I also know that I will be parting ways with some of you - and that is totally understandable and okay (this began, after all, as a cruising blog).  But do me a favor and refrain from actually telling me that you will be no longer be reading or that you are so sad we are moving back to land you can hardly stand it or that you just know we won't be happy ashore and that we should really reconsider our options (yes, emails in all three categories have been received).  Right now, I need to focus on the positive and hearing those things makes me sad.

Regardless, as sentimental as I am about this chapter ending, I am ready to embrace this new adventure (yes, even despite the cold weather).  It's time.  The past couple of months have been challenging for us in ways that I have not shared.  We need to re-charge our batteries and focus on what is the most important thing right now:  our family and healthy babies.  Scott and I were texting yesterday about this very subject and he reminded me that every major change in our life has lead us to something even better than before: from buying our first boat, to quitting our jobs to leaving Chicago, to sailing to Grenada, to Scott getting employed by Island Windjammers, to coming home for eight months to have Isla, to getting a bigger boat and resuming cruising again...all of these major shifts in our life were not without some yin and yang type emotions and growing pains...but every single time, and I mean every. single. time. we came out the other side better than before.  Each and every transformation cultivated us into something greater, whether or not we knew it at the time.  So, while I might be resistant to this big change upon us and lament the end of this amazing chapter, I know in my heart of hearts that this slash mark on the timeline of our lives will mark the beginning of something even greater than before...

And we'll be back on the boat, back in the islands, back to living our dream.  Of that I am certain.

We have committed ourselves to a life less ordinary, a life where adventure is the rule and not the exception.

But for now, we'll take pause.


Michael Matthews said...

There there. You're going to be just fine. How do I know? Because I have followed you enough to see your strength. You wouldn't be doing what you're doing if you weren't strong. So, you will adjust and the great news is that you have sooo much to look forward to. Two new crew members to love and cherish and cruising to go back to. That's cup runneth over stuff there. I do hope you get a bit of time to read Finding Annie before you go because I think you will be too busy once you get back to land. I really look forward to hearing your opinion. Best of luck, life and love for the future!! Michael Matthews

Anonymous said...

Great post. While what brought me to your blog was the cruising theme what has kept me is your writing style. Each post gives the impression of an unvarnished conversation you are having with each of us. We as a group appreciate the time you take to talk to us. If you wish to continue writing, rest assured there will be people here to read your posts. I'm probably not the first person to mention this to you, but I would bet you have a novel in your head somewhere just itching to get out. Let us know if it ever comes out and I'm sure you'll have a willing group of readers.
Safe Travels,

Unknown said...

Personally, I am looking forward to both! Hearing about the journey with twins, and land adaptation, and then back to sailing! If you end up with a "twin" blog....let us know :) I always wanted twins...but ended up with 3 wonderful singletons! Cheers, to your new adventures!

Colie's Kitchen said...

Awww you are not supposed to make me cry!! You are going to find a life beyond your dreams, and new adventures around every corner. Life has so much planned for you. Keep your head held high, and keep smiling because life is just beginning. I don't have a boat and probably never will but your adventures keep me interested and laughing or feeling your pain. You inspire the rest of us to take a second look at our dreams and realize that there is missed potential happening every day that we don’t do something to change our own mundane lives.

You never know where life will lead you or what you might find when your least expecting it. Life would probably be boring if it didn’t work so hard to keep us guessing all the time. Don’t be a stranger! There are still people out here on the sidelines cheering you on!

Cheers!! Here is to you, Scott, and your three little girls.

Corri said...

If you keep life as simple as possible and it doesn't feel right, you can move back on the water sooner than you are expecting. The thing about plans is that we can change course when the current one doesn't feel right. So enjoy the holidays, have those babies, take each day as it comes and if the right thing to do is get back on the water sooner, that is always an option.

Trisha Painter said...

Great words! I for one cannot *WAIT* to follow your next adventures! I love your posts on all topics (and I'm not even someone who has ever spent any amount of time, or desire, on water) I will follow you in whatever journey your life takes you guys as you make reading your blog so entertaining and appealing! Thank you for your words! Come for a visit to PC after the dust has settled (so like 18 years or so, ha!) and we will happily watch your 3 girls and you guys can go ski!! I'm serious (only sooner than 18 years, please!!!) take good care and, as always, I look forward to reading more !!!!

Anonymous said...

As someone has already mentioned, I found your blog and started reading for the love of cruising and trying to appease my appeitite for adventure through you until my husband and I can get out there in our own boat. However, through your writing, we have come to be friends, virtual friends, but friends never the less. I now read because I wonder what Ilsa and Brittney are up to today and I look forward to hearing what you are doing tomorrow - whether on land, water, saling, babies, etc. It's all good. Your blog is about life experiences and sharing and connecting with people. And you thought it was a cruising blog :) Love hearing about life and having you share your slice of life with us.
Rosemary & Mark

Melody s/v Vacilando said...

I love you guys. You inspired me through your blog to dive in headfirst on our "plunge". Then, having the damn luck to meet you and become friends, you inspire me in more ways than you know. You're one of the brightest, funniest, and inspirational women I've ever met and I'm sure you'll find even more ways to inspire others, no matter where you are. I look forward to your new chapter and can't WAIT to see you in Chicago when we make it up that way! :)

Unknown said...

This is simply the end of book 2 in your cruising series.
Book 1: Cruising; one couple, one boat, one ocean.
Book 2: Cruising with Baby: The genesis of raising crew.
Book 3: Crew Acquisition: How to double your available crew.

Who knows how many books in your series there will be, but I for one look forward to continuing to read about all these characters and the adventures they have, whether by land or sea.

HayUp said...

Even though i have not been following your blog for too long your blog has proven to be a favorite read. I love looking at your pictures and reading your stories. Your life is a true inspiration and you are a very talented writer! Of course i am going to continue reading and i cant wait to hear about your exciting new adventures with your twins! Happy Holidays

Steven Fink said...

Best wishes and fair winds in the Windy City. I'd love to meet up with you and Scott one day when I'm visiting my daughter in Chicago. Meanwhile, take care. The ocean will be waiting when you're ready to return.

Steven Fink

Felicia said...

I feel you, I live in Michigan and every time we put the sailboat on the hard for the winter I feel so sad. My husband and I really appreciate and enjoy your blog as we prepare to quit our jobs in May (house already sold and living in the in laws basement till May) and embark on a year long sailing venture. I get inspired and happy every time I read it. Best wishes in this new part of your journey!!

Anonymous said...

Although you consider this a "cruising blog", I'm sure most of us read this for way much more than the cruising aspect! I love reading about your little family on the seas, and I HOPE you continue to write just as much as you used to when you get to land. I would still love to see updates on the blog, even its it not related to cruising!!

Lisa Hanneman said...

This is the best post you have ever written, my dear. Ever.

And, need I remind you, your life here will not be anything "ordinary." My life isn't ordinary and I live on land with three kids and four bedroom colonial. If I don't feel ordinary, you won't either.

If you don't think having twins will be an adventure, you're nuts. You might just be embarking on the greatest adventure of your life.

Every day can be an adventure... It might not be on a sandy beach, but there is adventure in everything. I love you to bits and pieces and can't wait to be extraordinary with you.

Unknown said...

You 3+2 are pure inspiration. Don't forget that. Plus, you all are young. Many decades of love & fun ahead. You are and will be raising at least 3 future adventurers & inspiring their future generations like very few do. Most people settle. It's our family's history. I'm going to change that. At 45, I'm securing my Charter Captain's credentials & skills to take our little guys & grown girls on adventures in places that our guests fund. It's never too late to reinvent yourself. Your posts tells your family's tale like none other. You, my dear, have influenced our family's direction too. Again, you are wonderfully young, your family is beautiful, and I hope that we all become fast friends when we host all 5 of you @ the Bitter End Yacht Club in 2016 or so.

Cheers & Merry Christmas to you all...and may Isla have her most magical Christmas yet...

Brad Hill and fellow blogger @

Again, cheers!

JK said...

Brittany, you are a talented writer, and it has been fun to follow your life-as-a-cruiser blog. But I look forward to reading your perspectives and tales from your soon to be life-with-toddler-plus-twins blog. So keep the posts coming, and best of luck with the move and the new babies!


Catherine said...

I initially read your blog for the sailing adventure which allowed me to vicariously pursue the life I've always dreamed of but were unable for various reasons to follow. Now I've fallen in love with you and your family and I read to follow that adventure. So keep smiling and keep writing!! Cannot wait to hear what happens net. Much love, Catherine H.

Louise said...

Brittany, we read this blog because of you. Please keep us posted as we'll all be thinking of you and your lovely family.

Hannah Lieder said...

I just ordered your book Brittany. It's a beautiful book and so inspirational. I've been working for almost four years to save the only public indoor swimming pool in the city of Minneapolis and once it's up and running I'm going to have your book in the lobby. I hope it will help inspire the children of Minneapolis to follow their dreams.

Diving Into Cruising said...

I only found your blog recently, but was hooked very quickly! I can already tell you that I can't wait to watch you open new doors!

Island Quercus said...

Hey, you're still living the life less ordinary! Twins aren't ordinary and so what if you're land-based for a bit. Adventure is a mindset. You'll be back out there before you know it. In the meantime, I am so looking forward to following along on this new journey. All the best!

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

End of chapter? Won't be back on the boat for a long time .. until 2015?! I don't have negative words, but positive ones ... 2015 will be here in the blink of an eye and this part of your life isn't closed, just on intermission!

I have no doubt that you'll be back on that boat before you know it. Time truly does fly ... especially with three little ones!

David said...

Is it ok to leave a comment to let you know that I will continue reading your blog? :)

I'm sure you'll have new adventures, but as someone who has so far had to live the cruising lifestyle only vicariously, it will also be interesting for me to see how you plan and execute getting back into it after life on land (I started reading your blog after you'd started living on your boat). Plus, you'll be stuck in Chicago with me.

Neophyte Cruiser said...

Scott, Brittany, Isla and new babies to be...You've demonstrated through your writing, adventure is in embracing life each day, independent of your chosen life-style. I'm looking forward to your continuing adventures.

Louise said...

Well, I'm going to stick around and read about your next chapter. And I'll look forward to meeting you out on the water in 2015 or so, growing family and all!

Sail Plans said...

Brittany, We initially started following your blog as a resource for a round the world cruise we're about to embark on, but it quickly became so much more than that. You are an extremely talented writer and have given us so much inspiration for what awaits us out there. We will certainly continue to follow your blog and keep an eye out for you in the Caribbean in 2015.

My favourite post so far is "Types of Cruisers: The Stereotypes." Appealed to my sense of humour. Here's wondering which one we're going to fall into!

Good luck with the new chapter life brings.

Karen & Will

Mandy said...

I started reading your blog a few months ago as a cruising blog, but now read it because I love the way you write, your sense of humour, your honesty and because I find you inspirational! So I hope that you keep blogging because all those things are "you" wherever you live and whatever you do!!
Best wishes for the next chapter!!

Matt said...

My mom knows about what you are going to experience.... I was born early May '62, my twin bro and sis born late May '63... I try to picture that madness of a 13 month old and newborn twins. The women's a saint :-)

Dani said...

I bet this must be so hard for you! What a change to leave it all behind, and relatively soon after you bought the new boat and finished the refit. I've enjoyed reading your blog and your adventures and all of the good times are made special by the reality that they are precious and fleeting at times.

I laughed out loud when I heard that some people actually took the time to write you and tell you how unhappy you would be and how they weren't going to follow you anymore because your blog was going to change. LOL. Oh well Gee, thanks guys.

"I know moving home to have two beautiful baby girls and grow my family with my loving husband and 3 kids is just SOO terrible, how unlucky am I?"

I hope you have safe travels and a safe pregnancy. We should be in the Caribbean for the year of 2015 into early 2016. Hopefully we'll get to meet! (We are good childless baby sitters).

Take care,

Tamara said...

Honey, I'll follow your adventures wherever they may go!

I have a life that is very different from yours and have never had a desire to sail, YET, I came across your blog a LONG time ago and it's been my favorite ever since. I love your writing, your life, your dreams, you inspire me!

I will happily follow you, wherever this road leads you!

Anonymous said...

And so, the adventure continues. My wife, Lisa and I have been following your blog since early on. It is almost as if you have become a part of our world. Many an evening Lisa will say to me "did you read Brittany's post today?" or, "did you see what Scott and Brittany did today?". The three of you have been an inspiration to so many of us! I am certain that will continue as you open the door to your world and write about it for us. I'll admit, I will miss the photo's and writings about the sunny warm places that you called home, as we hunker down for another cold, gray northern Michigan winter! Best wishes to you and your family. And, thank you for all that you have shared with us so far.

Traverse City, Michigan

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