While you are sitting in your cubicle farm dreaming of spending the weekend raking leaves and shuttering the house for winter, Julia is sitting in her catamaran SnowFlake getting ready to cross the Atlantic. I asked her to send me some guest posts about her voyage to post here on the Fritter. Here is the first one:
Can you imagine being in the middle of nowhere with a thousand of miles of water surrounding you and your small home? Maybe you become bored and you decide it’s time to haul ass towards the closest pub or hangout — anywhere you can find civilization. Only, those places are several hundred miles away… and you can’t travel any faster than around four miles per hour under your thirty-year-old engine. Oh yeah, and there’s also that one minor fact that you don’t have nearly enough fuel to get you that far, because there wasn’t enough room in your tiny home to store it. So, you have to wait for the wind to propel your home forward… because your home is a sailboat… and you are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean… and sailing is what you do.
For more than four years, I have dreamt of an ocean crossing. Now, I find myself preparing for that very voyage.
In December of this year, my partner and I will weigh anchor from Mindelo in the Cape Verdes Islands and start our Atlantic crossing, aiming for Barbados. Some people have been known to complete this voyage in as little as fifteen days, while others have taken twenty-eight days or longer. There is no set timeframe for a voyage of this scale, because so much is literally riding on the wind.
While great chaps like Jimmy Cornell provide us with forecast predictions based on historical information, no one can really predict what Mother Nature will do. What was a great, wind-filled passage for some in December of last year, could be a passage filled with calms this year.
But if we knew exactly what to expect, it wouldn’t be an adventure, would it?
Adventure is why we are doing this — chasing the dream, climbing the next mountain, writing the next chapter… whatever you want to call it — it’s all for the adventure. Or at least, that’s what we’ve been telling ourselves through a long and tedious year of continuous boat projects. That’s what’s gotten us through the fiberglass and gelcoat repairs, bulkhead repairs, sanding, painting, varnishing, and more sanding… It’s been the one motivator that has gotten us through the difficult projects. Because while we like to lead people to believe that this life is filled with boat drinks and beautiful sunsets, it’s not always fun times onboard Snowflake. We’ve worked extremely hard to get our thirty-year-old Richard Woods catamaran blue water ready and now we are finally here, ready to embark on this great adventure!
I won’t lie — I’m nervous. Not a scared kind of nervous, more of an excited nervous. We’ve done the research, talked to the old salt’s, practiced and prepared for the worst (but always expected the best). We’ve got plans for steering failure, M.O.B. (Man Over Board), treating injuries and sickness, deploying storm sails and storm anchors, heaving-to in unruly seas, and abandoning ship. While we don’t expect that we will have to put these plans into motion, we also know that it’s always best to be prepared for anything. Because, as Captain Ron said… “If anything’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen out there!”
I think that perhaps the biggest fear I’ve had is that I might run out of food. Man, can you imagine it? Running out of food in the middle of the ocean with no supermarkets within reach for days on end? Seriously, this fear has plagued my dreams. I sometimes wake up in a frenzied sweat at night, truly believing that the crew aboard Snowflake is starving, but it doesn’t take me long to come back down to earth.
Looking at our provisioning stores, I realize how ridiculous that is. Snowflake is hauling enough food to feed us for about six months… maybe more. I meticulously keep track of every single item we have stored in each and every locker aboard this boat. From salt to flour, beans to canned chicken, canned corn to canned pineapple, tabasco to soy sauce — there’s nothing on this vessel that isn’t accounted for in my red provisioning book. There’s not a chance we will go hungry on this voyage!
Ok, so we just nipped that fear in the bud!
On a more realistic note, we take this voyage very seriously. Our lives are in our hands, after all. So of course we have planned and thought through every possible scenario. This is not a voyage to be taken lightly. But it’s also a voyage to be viewed as an adventure — an exploration.
We will be following the path of many explorers we learned about in school. Famous explorers like Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan have sailed the very territory we find ourselves in. To follow in the same footsteps as these legendary adventurers is a dream come true and I am so excited to experience it and share it with others.
I’m not sharing my story for personal gain or fame; I’m sharing it with the hopes that it will inspire you to step outside of your comfort zone, put in the hard work, and chase your dreams. Because that’s what life is all about, and we only get one life. Isn’t it time we started living it to the fullest? That’s my plan.
See you on the other side of “the pond”.
If you’re interested in following along with my sailing journey check out my facebook page, Sailing Snowflake.
Want to know how you can change your life and chase your dreams? Check out my site, Prepare to Tack for career and life coaching tips.
Of all the people who I have encountered since I launched the Fritter, Julia has been the most inspirational. She went from depressed worker bee stuck in debt to world traveler and explorer in just a few short years. Look at her now. Ready to do something very few have the guts to to do. If you are looking for a real life role model, not this broken down old pirate wannabe, but a true adventurer who understands what life is about, look no further than Julia.
I mean, just damn. When I was her age I was stuck in retail hell thinking a house, car, and debt were what life was all about. But, it took a long time to get out of the hive and see the light like she did.
There are no do over’s in life so if you find some inspiration from Julia’s adventures, then get off your fat ass and do something about it. Take a chance, risk something, dare to be different…do, ANYTHING, to get yourself out of the rut you put yourself in.
It’s never too late to run away and be a pirate.
What are you waiting for?