This move, understandably, feels pretty momentous which is kind of hilarious considering our "cruising plans" are so un-adventurous they border on laughable. But what we are trading in nautical miles and passages, we are gaining in the unchartered waters of "three under three" on a boat. I don't know of many (any?) boats out there that have our configuration of little children aboard (if you know of any, please let us know! Would love any tips and tricks). Lots of boats have kids of course, and many have a baby on board, I've even heard of a few boats with twins - but three kids under three? This is certainly rare which inadvertently puts us on the front lines of this whole "boating with multiple babies" thing. And, based on blog stats, interview requests and emails, I think there are a lot of people out there that really want to see how - and if - this pans out. Some days - most days - I am hopelessly optimistic about what we are doing, totally adopting the "we got this" attitude. Other days I worry that we are getting in over our heads. Only time will tell.
So how does it feel? Surreal. For so long this move was just an arbitrary date in the distant future and now it's just over a week away. On the one hand, we're heading back to our home and a very familiar lifestyle. On the other, we have doubled our crew tipping the parent-to-child ratio in favor of the kids which ups the "challenge" quotient considerably. There's a lot to think about, and a ton to prepare. Lucky for us, I practically have a masters degree in preparation. As with anything - I am being very thorough about our return. Where will they bathe? How will we get in and out of the dinghy? How will they sit in the dinghy? Where will they sleep? Which toys will give us the most bang for the buck? How will boat projects ever get completed? Which craft supplies make the most sense? What will be the most versatile safety seat to use? How will we manage naps? Will one of us ever be able to handle all three alone on the boat so the other can rest? Every day I run through at least a dozen scenarios in my head like a professional athlete might visualize winning before ever setting foot on the field, court or track. Preparation. While we are definitely jumping into the water head first with this whole "three babies on a boat" thing, we are certainly not doing it blindly. We have the fortunate experience of having lived aboard and cruised over 5K nautical miles with *one* baby, which gives us a picture - albeit a very vague one - of what we might be in for.
These past few days have been a blur of organizing, selling and purging goods. I have an incredibly detailed packing list (I love my lists!) that continues to grow because with each item added, another item goes along with it. For example, if I need the camera, I must have the charger, the spare battery, the float strap, the DC battery charger...and oh! That reminds me, I need another DC USB plug...and, what about the DC computer chargers...and the hard drives for storage and...hmm...speaking of electronics, did we need more head lamps? Those things are notorious for disappearing...and do we need extra batteries for the white noise machines for the babies? You get the picture. The list grows, and grows and grows - no matter how thoughtful and discerning we are. For a lifestyle that is touted as "minimalist" - we sure 'need' a lot of stuff. Without realizing it and with very little effort, our list has grown Fibonacci sequence-style.
Friends of ours just left today on their maiden voyage, and in their blog post they shared this great quote by Tegan Phillips that so perfectly put this crazy packing whirlwind into perspective:
I wish I had known how easy adventuring can be so I could have avoided the ‘preparation panic’ people often face before trips of any sort, where you somehow convince yourself that if you don’t have this particular tool or type of tent or type of saddle or type of clothing even then your adventure will be a disaster and you will probably die. As I discovered, whatever you are going to do, the chances are somebody has done it with much less than you and somehow survived.Of course traveling with a toddler and twinfants makes our situation slightly more unique than most. While we do try to adhere to the "less is more" approach to kids stuff (the twins got their first "high chairs" last week, prior to this we ate on the floor!) we need to be very mindful of safety and security which requires a lot of forethought and, yes, gear. Harnesses, tethers, life jackets, additional webbing and buckles, new materials for lee cloths and a twin bunk, more netting to secure the bow and pushpit...etc. There is so much to consider - particularly because we have one twin (Haven) who is a bonafide "Dennis the Menace" and is walking now - that even though we are going to some of the most "developed" islands we've been to where we will be able to get most anything we could get here (at a premium, of course) - we are still pouring over our packing list as if we were going to the moon. Only this time it's not provisions and boat parts we're thinking about, but baby gear. Oh, how times have changed!
So...I'm not quite sure how it should feel when we are about to take a giant leap into a pool that many people think we are quite insane to jump into. All I know is that a) it doesn't really feel like were leaving and b) when I sit and really think about it, it feels a little sad, a little happy, a little nerve-wracking, a little uncertain and a lot exciting. T-minus eight days until this family is island-bound.