Quite a few of my fellow cruisers are in the same boat as Simon, Sienna and me. We all had plans to go somewhere – to island-hop or progress through a series of countries. To head east or west or north or south. Some of us had specific end destinations and others of us had a general idea of where we wanted to end up. None of us thought we’d be looking for a COVID-19 silver lining – that’s for sure!
Our aim was to travel, see the sights, meet old and new cruiser friends and feel the freedom that sailing offers.
Even as we now offer our Britican Experience, a liveaboard cruiser charter offer, we had plans to sail north from Grenada to St Martin and back down again. We had guests booked for our passage from Grenada to St Lucia, St Lucia to Antigua, Antigua Sailing Week, Antigua to St Martin and then the same passages in reverse order back to Grenada. We even scheduled in a free month to spend time with many of our cruiser friends in St Martin.
Our plan was to go north and then head back south in time to hunker down for hurricane season.
That was the plan.
All cruisers know that plans change. Usually, however, the plan is to go from A to B but you either can’t yet leave A or you end up in C! Or, everything is looking good for the passage but the boat decides it’s not going. It often seems as if more plans are broken than kept but regardless of the outcome all ends in a positive manner one way or another.
What do I mean by that? Well, if you didn’t travel because of bad weather you might have made a new friend that wouldn’t have met if you left. Or perhaps you end up in destination C when you were heading for B only to have one of the best sails/meals/experiences you’ve ever had in your life.
The one thing that cruising life will teach you is that it’s best to go with the flow. At first new cruisers fight it but ultimately they realize that resistance is futile. You’re going to have to listen to Mother Nature and you’re going to have to deal with boat issues ALL THE TIME.
The upside of going with the flow, however, is that there’s almost always a silver lining if you look for it.
And that brings me my topic about a COVID-19 silver lining. If anyone can adjust to the restrictions that the CoronaVirus has put on humans, it’s the cruiser.
This past week has been trying. None of us ever thought we’d be worried about leaving a country not knowing if we could get back in OR heading for another country wondering if we’d be allowed to enter. None of us thought that we’d be ‘stuck’ somewhere or that we’d even have to consider where’s best to get ‘stuck’.
Do we head for a French Island as they have better facilities, food supplies, and medical support? Or shall we head south because this might last long enough to go into hurricane season (starts in June) and we need to be in a safe spot for that?!
And the rabbit hole of questions carries on. What island might get food more than the others? Where will we be more protected by police or armed services if all hell does break out? What if we need medical attention ourselves? What if we run out of money? How about we run out of food? What if we really just want to go home but we can’t? What if our parents, back home, need us?
It’s normal to freak out a bit.
Heck – we haven’t seen this kind of scenario ever. And with all the media and real and fake news being pushed out in every direction it’s easy to let our thoughts become dark and messy.
But those dark thoughts get tiresome and as cruisers, it’s just not in our nature to think in these terms (for too long).
If you’re still in the dark and messy stage, may I offer an alternative? May I offer my COVID-19 silver lining perspective?
Perhaps if we asked ourselves different questions or run through more powerful what-if scenarios, we’d get more powerful and positive answers. Instead of asking what if we run out of food, let’s ask, ‘How can we make use of this unexpected solitary and stationary time?’ ‘How can we make the most of having to stay put for a bit?’
When I ask these questions I actually feel my dark energy transform into something more light.
I can feel butterflies of excitement in my belly rather than the pull of dread I was feeling with my dark and messy thoughts and questions. So many of us often say, ‘if I only had more time’ or ‘if we weren’t always on the go…’ or ‘If our life wasn’t so social, I would…’
I’ve made a big list of all the things I can do with my time. Would you like to read it?
Here are some of the things that I’d like to do to discover a COVID-19 silver lining:
- Taking a graphic design course (always wanted to do this. I have the course, but never had the time to take it).
- Read a fiction book. To read for the pure pleasure of just reading!
- To make curtains for the saloon (the last ones I washed and they fell apart. Now we have to circle around the saloon table when we swing on the anchor to avoid the sun).
- Finish my book on Safety & Security Checklists For A Boat and publish it on Amazon.
- Play boardgames with Simon and Sienna (I know – are you surprised to see that?! Simon, Sienna and I do not spend that much time together. Yes, we are with each other 24/7 but we either have guests or are out with other cruisers. We almost never do anything just the three of us! It’s kind of exciting to think about us just being a ‘normal’ family!)
- Spring cleaning the boat and coming up with better organizational systems.
- Becoming a coach (I’m 20% through my course now, after a couple of months, but with all this time it won’t take me long to finish it! Yep – be ready to call me Coach Kim. Woo Woo!).
- Taxes. Okay – that does not sound fun at all and I procrastinate every year to get them done. Mine as well just do them now. That way I can see what it’s like to not leave it to the very last minute.
- Yoga! Do more yoga! If we’re not going anywhere I can walk or do yoga or swim every day. There will be nothing to disrupt a routine. When does that ever happen?! When you’re cruising you sail when you can and no matter how hard you try to keep a routine it just doesn’t work.
- Focus on some key learning areas that I want to get through to our daughter Sienna. We usually spend a little bit of time doing a wide range of subjects. I’d like to really hone in on fractions (adding/subtracting/dividing/multiplying) in Math and break the back of Sienna’s reading/writing work.
Of course, I also have a list like this, but longer, for Simon. His free time can be used to FINALLY FINISH OUR TEAK DECK REPAIRS. And then perhaps he can do something a bit more enjoyable like taking a course on how to do Indian Head Massages. Hehehehehe.
When else in our lives have we ever been told to stop what we’re doing, stay ‘home’ and chill out for a while?
The only time it’s happened to me is when I’m sick. And when I’m sick I don’t want to do anything. This is different. We all have an opportunity to learn a new skill, spend quality time with our partner/family, write a book, start painting or even start a business.
And yes…I know that there are real fears and worries…but thinking about them isn’t going to do much good. You’ve thought about them. In fact, you’ve probably been reading/watching the news when you normally don’t do it at all. Move on.
There’s a silver lining if you look for it.
If you have any good ideas on how to spend your time at anchor leave them below. Sometimes we need to see what others are doing to discover what we might want to do too so share your COVID-19 silver lining ideas 🙂
Also, make sure to check out our video that Simon and I created entitled, Sailing Britican Update – Life With The COVID-19 Pandemic