“Now that the trip has started you must be ecstatic?” a phrase heard a lot once we arrived in Marina Del Rey. That’s not the feeling I have. Relief is the greatest feeling, followed by pressure to remember what needs to be done between now and leaving the U.S. for Mexico. But not far from the surface creeps anticipation of wonderful adventures to come.
During these past few years of preparation, I couldn’t allow myself the ‘distraction’ of imagining the future fun. It would have pulled limited time away from preparation, for knowing me, I would have started researching the possibilities and basking in glorious anticipation of experiences to come. With too much to do to prepare the boat and learn about social media and video production, I couldn’t afford any diversion—vegetables before dessert. It’s only in the past couple of days that I have begun to allow myself the pleasure of envisioning some future experiences: seeing calving grey whales close up, catching pelagic fish during passages, snorkeling in the bountiful aquarium that is the Galapagos, hiking the ridge of an equatorial volcanic crater, collecting water samples and Secchi disc reports, watching and recording the boys surfing, touching the Moai of Easter Island, enveloping the people we meet and immersing in their culture, meeting the descendants of the HMS Bounty Mutineers, seeing long-time Marquesan friends, and placing the boys in a French school. For two years I’ve been in a chrysalis of preparation, shielded from exposure to future joy and excitement. That makes for a grumpy dad, but it was what I felt I needed to do in order to stay on task, getting the boat ready for lengthy open-ocean voyaging and extensive stays at some of the planet’s most remote islands. Self-sufficiency and safety were at the top of the list. With just a few loose ends to tie, I allow joy to get a little closer, but not quite enter my psyche: still much to do during this period of transition from boat preparation to international travel. But Tuesday night, Leslie’s birthday, for the first time in 18 months, having safely and comfortably motor-sailed 8 hours from Ventura, lounging in Kandu’s cockpit with a glass of nigori sake while securely moored at the guest dock of a yacht club that is not located in Ventura, I felt I could afford to feel some sensation of the satisfaction that begged to be experienced. Significant relief, the absence of stress, was truly the only sensation that I felt I could reasonably allow. Not complete relief, but great relief, about 75% less. We had made the first tangible step toward the benefit side of what, until now, had been the exceedingly high financial and emotional weight of our journey’s scale. Leslie and Bryce had big smiles. Trent was immensely pleased he had not gotten the least bit seasick. Seeing their happy faces was my greatest reward.