And it is bliss.
I know I am sort of beating a dead horse when I say that living on a boat in the tropics is hard work. But it is. The extremely close quarters, the eternal race to stay ahead of the ever-growing project list, the mind-numbing frustration that can result from dealing with government agencies, the fact that our neighbors are never the same for very long, the sometimes-oppressive heat, the constant attention to the weather, the rough passages, the periodic loneliness and - (gulp) - the bouts of tedium that can sometimes punctuate a life afloat can all build up and lead to a case of boat fever.
Yep, people can actually get a little burned out from living aboard in paradise.
There it is.
[Ducks the virtual tomatoes being thrown at head].
Don't get me wrong; the beaches, the water, the sunsets, the bars, the community, the camaraderie, the pace, the "vibe" and island life, in general, are all incredible. I mean, we wouldn't have signed up for this life if it wasn't - but no matter where you live, be it the beach or the 'burbs, sometimes change is good. Especially if you are like us and "cruise" very slowly, and predominately in one area, for an entire season at a time. Just because we live in what many would consider a vacation-worthy paradise, doesn't mean that we, too, don't need little breaks and a change of scenery from time to time.
Land breaks, for us, mean a time to soak up the beauty that is friends and family. Having three small children makes this even more of a priority to us. We want our girls to have relationships with their cousins, to have visceral memories of playing with them and growing with them. We want our daughters to know and love their aunts and uncles, and we want them to adore their grandparents just as we adored ours. We, too, want to see our nieces, nephews, brothers', sisters, parents and friends. These relationships with friends and family are very important to us. The pursuit of a life less ordinary doesn't mean we don't value these things, and this is the very reason why we are setting up our life in such a way that we can return a few months every summer. Coming home and spending quality time with the people we love most is the most refreshing kind of re-charge.
Shore leave also gives us a little time to indulge in all the modern day conveniences that we do without on the boat; laundry machines (though I do love doing laundry by hand), dishwashers, large refrigerator/freezer combos, great restaurants, customer service with a smile, amazingly stocked grocery stores, sidewalks, super fast internet (yay!), television (love/hate here), movies, play parks up the whazoo, and no shortage of fun places to take our girls, from splash water parks to children's museums (to name a few). We also have the luxury of a three bedroom guest house at our disposal and the use of a (borrowed) car. We're catching up with friends, indulging in new restaurants, taking in a few movies (we've not watched a single film in 6 months!) and enjoying the presence of babysitters. It's a nice change of pace.
For a spell.
Because as much as I appreciate the land breaks that we are fortunate enough to take, I always miss the boat and island life. Living in a house with all the extra space is fantastic, but it means more to clean, more areas for the kids to get into, more places for things to get lost and more stuff in general. In some ways, living in a house is harder than living on our (relatively) tiny boat where our girls are never more than ten feet from us. Furthermore, land life truly is more hectic and busy; there's so much to do, people to see and places to go. We get pulled in so many directions and end up feeling more frenzied than we do on the boat. It's exciting for now, but long-term I think we'd want to slow down. The simple fact of the matter is that the pace of life on the boat is rather unhurried, and while that aspect of boat life (aka "island time") certainly wouldn't appeal to everyone, it works for us.
For now, however, we are relishing in all things land-lubber. It's giving us the factory reset that we so badly needed. Our batteries are getting recharged, we're topping up our "love" tanks with friends and family, and we'll go back to the boat - and our 'rock' in the BVI's - appreciating them more than ever.
|This woman is incredible. She is my grandma. She had 12 children, has 30-something grandchildren, and 23 GREAT-grandchildren. A visit with her is always a top priority. 91 and still going strong.|
|Dr. Haven checking x-rays in the natal until of the Children's Museum.|
|We have this awesome swing. In our backyard!! Our little adrenaline junkies LOVE it.|
|Grandpa doesn't much care for rules, and took Isla on a spin round the block so she could "drive".|
|Lucky for us, we are never far from Lake Michigan and beaches. Our girls will always be at home on a beach near the water!|
|Beach babies back in action. They were happy campers.|
|Three Generations. I love it.|