For as long as I can remember, fear has been my largest issue in life. Until recently, I was afraid to do anything outside of my comfort zone. And when making the decision to sell all our possessions, buy a 56’ yacht and sail around the world I had serious fear issues.
I worried about our ability to handle the boat, the costs involved with owning such a boat, whether or not I’d enjoy living on a boat and what life on the sea would be like. I worried about sinking or failing to get moorings and being stuck sailing all night. I feared running the boat aground or crashing into something.
Furthermore, I worried endlessly about whether we were doing the right thing for our, at the time, 3 year old daughter. Would she like living on a boat? Would she make sure to wear a life vest at all times? Would she lose out on sociability? What about her education – would I be able to homeschool her until we decided to return to a ‘normal’ life back on land?
I could write at least 10 pages of all the fears that surrounded me before and at the start of our adventure
When I look back it’s easy to see that my fears almost stopped me from living my dream. Thankfully, I used the word ‘almost’. I almost stayed in our safe home, living our safe lives not actually feeling safe at all.
Now that we’re over 2 months into our journey, and have visited 5 countries (staying in at least 15 marinas), and have run into a variety of issues (getting stuck in Algeria Africa, having our main sail jammed up, breaking our generator, and on) I feel quite relaxed.
I’m not sure if all my fears will totally disappear but overall my baseline fear level, that I’ve lived with for years, has drastically reduced
In such as short space of time, I’ve gone from a fear level of 10 down to a fear level of 2. In normal day-to-day life I probably lived around an 8 and never had much of an opportunity to quickly face my fears. I was afraid of living, afraid of dying and everything in-between.
When you think about it, I went from one lifestyle to another over night. By doing so I had no other choice but to face a vast majority of my fears. I put myself on a rollercoaster and I couldn’t get off. I had to go up the first hill – tick, tick, tick, tick (fear, fear, fear, fear) and then I had to experience the exhilarating hill and in the end realized that I not only survived, but I enjoyed a thrilling ride. Now that I’ve come out the other side, I feel like another person.
I feel relaxed, free and in possession of a knowing
The ‘knowing’ that I speak of is this overall state of being that I’ve found myself in. It’s as if anything can happen and I KNOW that we’ll figure it out. Things break and I think, ‘we’ll figure it out.’ At times, when we’ve faced a few serious issues, I simply thought, ‘let’s get on with it and see where this takes us.’ I didn’t dwell in fear – I just thought of the next logical step and moved forward. Now, when we enter marinas, no one speaks English and we have no idea where to go, I just look around and remind myself that something will happen sooner or later…and it always does.
A few days ago, while we were moored up on mainland Italy, we met two Dutch guys that had engine failure on their way to the marina. They were about 25 miles out. After calling the coast guard, they were told that since they weren’t sinking, they had to make their way under sail. The guys also contacted a fisherman and he offered to tow them for 350 euros. Not wanting to dish out the cash, the duo spent 22 hours going 1 knot an hour and eventually sailed their way into the marina.
Upon hearing the engine failure story, I wondered what we would do if it was us?
I thought, ‘heck, if our engine fails we’ve got loads of food and water. We’d be fine to float around for a while’. And if we were blown near the coast, we could just drop an anchor until conditions changed.
Now, the old Kim would have heard the engine failure story and added it to the list of ongoing fears. The new Kim thought, ‘shit happens…we can deal with whatever comes up.’
Ironically, while making our way along the Italian coastline, and after meeting the Dutch guys, we had quite a fright. My husband was sleeping, my cousin was making something to eat galley and I was in the cockpit keeping watch. I had autopilot on as we were motoring along in very light winds.
Suddenly the engine made a massively load vibration sound
I jumped behind the wheel and slowly reduced our engine revs . The noise reduced and then stopped. When increasing the revs the noise came back. Initially I thought, ‘Geez, the Dutch guys planted a possibility in my head and now it’s happened!’ I then reminded myself that it’s silly to jump to conclusions and I became quite calm.
Knowing that I needed to switch the engine off, I unfurled the front sail and started sailing. Worst case scenario was that we had to sail in very light winds so I thought I mind as well get the sails ready while we still have momentum.
I turned off the engine and in the meantime my husband started investigating the engine
The issue was easy to spot. The positioning bolt on the alternator sheered off. The alternator was fine, the belts were fine…but the positioning was reduced to a point where the belts couldn’t work, hence the vibrational sound.
When hubby told me the problem, I instantly smiled and thought, ‘well, we don’t need an alternator for the engine to work!’ That being said, we slowly sailed along and only turned our engine on to moor up at the marina.
At this point, the old Kim would have worried about whether or not we could get the part quickly or not. Then I’d worry about how much it would cost, whether or not we could fix it and on and on.
Instead, I just let go and thought, ‘whatever happens happens.’ Fortunately, my husband was able to take the part to a hardware store, the owner couldn’t help him, but decided to drive him to another hardware store (out of town) and drop him off at the boat. My husband offered his new friend money but he wouldn’t take it! That’s how the Italians are – the kindest people ever.
It was another example in my now long list of outcomes that I didn’t have to worry about…and thankfully, I didn’t worry about.
So, what about you?
What fears are stopping you from living your dream? Are you going to be able to say that you ‘almost’ didn’t live your dream or are you going to turn 80 and regret that you didn’t do what wanted to do?
I’m obviously high on life right now and I probably come across as annoying. I just think that so many people fail to live fulfilling lives because they’re too afraid. They’re too afraid, just like I was.
Well, I did it and so can you! Go for it…