Sunday, July 08, 2018

Indecision and The Question that Drove it Away: How I Made up my Mind to Sail South

If action is the basis for success, indecision is the birthplace of failure. And dear god, have I been indecisive this last month...To be fair, I have always considered myself a pretty resolute person; I typically know what I want and go for it. I follow my gut - which usually leads me in the right, or at the very least, an interesting, direction - and I've never been one to hem and haw and change my mind, which is why this past month has been...well...driving me batty.

***

Ever since our last boat and most of all our worldly possessions were taken by Hurricane Irma last summer, we knew that our next boat would not be left in the path of harm (aka: hurricane alley, which is where we happen to live). The storms of last season took away a whole lot from a whole lot of people, but one good thing they swept away in their wake: complacency. No one wants to be caught with their pants down this year (and probably for the next few following) and neither do we. So our plan: sail ourselves south for the peak hurricane months of August and September and haul our boat in Grenada, where storms are "statistically" less likely to strike (knocks on wood). This way, we can enjoy time back with friends and family with relatively little stress (watching hurricane Irma on her death march to our home was pure agony) and our boat will not be a sitting duck in the water. For months this has been our plan; re-visit our former island-hopping cruising days for a short while. The girls are older, they are all great swimmers, and our boat - a Hallberg Rassy 46 - is a legitimate thoroughbred on the water. She loves to sail. This was our plan since we returned in January and I was all about it.

Until the time to leave grew closer and indecision set up shop in my brain.

My first guest was doubt... I turned over a million scenarios in my head and came up with as many excuses why sailing south wasn't really a good idea: "Is our boat really ready?" "Are the girls really ready?" "Would it cut too much into our time back home with friends and family?" "What if the twins get sick and don't sleep well?" "We really need more fans...." "Our dinghy leaks air..." "We don't have solar power or a water maker, we should have those to cruise..." "What if we get into shit weather and I have to help Scott, what will the girls do?" and (shameful to admit) "What will I do without regular wifi!?"  these questions, along with a myriad of others plagued me day and night and opened the door for indecision. Do we stay or do we go? Ultimately (hindsight being the best magnifier) - it was fear that caused me to make the "chicken out" decision to flying home from here - though I didn't think it at the time. I had made up my mind, we were opting out of the sail.

But for some reason the decision was not sitting right.

If I was honest, it did feel very much like a cop-out, the idea of flying home. Sure I had all the excuses and everything sounded hunky dory, but I knew the truth. Scott and I would have a chat, he'd convince me that all would be fine and it would be fun, he'd beg me to come with the girls, and then I'd say, "Okay! We are in!" Two days later, doubt would creep back in and I'd back out again. This flip-flopping happened no fewer than 15 times people! It was driving me (and Scott) crazy. WHY COULD I NOT MAKE UP MY MIND!? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GIRL WHO KNEW EXACTLY WHAT SHE WANTED?! WHY ON EARTH WAS I HOLDING BACK ON THIS?!

I still don't exactly know what my indecisiveness was about or where it was coming from. I suspect a nice chat with a therapist could uncover that, but ultimately, after talking on the phone with my sister and best friend no fewer than thirty times combined, and going over ideas and scenarios with Scott, I - at Scott's urging - looked at my options and thought to myself: what will I regret not doing? Would I regret not flying home a little early to see friends and family while Scott sailed our home south, or would I regret not taking this opportunity to show our girls an adventure, do some traveling, and spend some time at sea? Once I posed the question to myself in that way, the answer came clear as a bell: adventure.

I chose adventure.

And until making this final decision (and, yep, it's final now!) I had no idea how badly I've been craving a little adventure. Call it wanderlust, call it fernweh, call it whatever you want - but that insatiable urge for change, travel and life experience, I have it. It went a *tiny* bit dormant while the kids were small and I had barely any time to come up for air, let alone dream and scheme, but that fire that once was inside and drove me toward the unknown is beginning to flicker again. And I am so excited.

The plan right now is to head to St. Croix on Tuesday to drop off a bunch of stuff we had in storage for friends, and from there we're going to make the 35/40 hour hop to either Guadaloupe (my absolute favorite!) or Dominica. We'll spend a few days in that area and then continue island hopping down the chain, stopping where we feel, finally ending in Grenada where we will haul our boat and fly back to Chicago for fun with friends and family.

This decision feels good. It feels right.

***

If I've learned anything - particularly in the wake of Irma - it's that life and circumstances can change very, very quickly.  My grandfather - a true hedonist and man who lived a life of travel and adventure - always said: if there's an opportunity, take it. And for most of my life that little snippet of advice has carried me to some pretty amazing people, experiences and places. Sometimes it's scary and vulnerable to take a leap into the unknown, but we all know the little venn diagram about comfort zones and where the magic happens (hint: it's outside of it). So we are going to take this opportunity and we are SO excited. I'll be keeping our Facebook and Instagram pages updated where we can, so follow us over there if you want to keep up with us, though my posts will likely be sporadic.

Time to get back to our cruising roots, for a little while at least...

28 comments:

Arizona_Bob said...

Looking at the track, a sail to the north would have been much better. Hope you didn't run into weather.

Barbara Adams said...

An inner struggle that speeds up as we get older, and I think it comes with experience and all that we discover that can happen, but rarely does. I'm pleased that you fought the safe route and jumped in to test the waters again, literally. You are making memories and building the strength and character of your family. Supporting your mate is super important too, he is your rock and in the face of the unknown, he must need you there at his side. Fair winds and following seas, you have the prayers of thousands following your journey. We all wish we could be there too. Namaste

Sue Dressler said...

So glad you took the adventurous route but totally understand the indecisive part...you’re a mom now and when we become moms we no longer think of just ourselves. I’m so excited for the girls to have this experience. I was around Isla’s age when I first started on adventures like this and it made me who I am today. Remember things never go perfectly but what comes out of those imperfect moments is where the experience and memories come from. And I know you already know this but you don’t need a water maker or solar to cross oceans. Believe it or not we had a 25 gallon water tank and no refrigeration (just an icebox) and although it sucked at times and I had to once take a bath off the boat in the Bermuda Triangle, we made it across oceans and I had lots of great essay topics for high school and college!

Jen @ Drinking the Whole Bottle said...

how dry exciting and scary and awesome and terrifying and allllll the things. But I think all big decisions come with all the feelings. I love you, friend.

Shawn Baird said...

Sent you guys an email, about Dominica. Its from one of the business accounts (info@...) so it may have gone to your junk folder, but please look for it.

Safe travels!

Anonymous said...

Brittany~ I love your thinking, your writing and the choice you made!! Be SAFE dear friends~
Life is truly beautiful and having an adventure with Scott and the girls will be awesome out on the deep blue Sea~ I love the Ocean, Islands and Adventure as well~ Grenada is a great choice~
Safe Travels Always~

Cally & John Rivett said...

Indecision is the worst! I am so glad you choose adventure - we did too! We leave on our sailing journey in less than a month for a couple of years sailing across the world! :)

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