Leaving the rat race to sail around the world
It’s 5:54 am and I’m sat in the cockpit of my sailboat. The roosters are crowing and there are a few dogs barking. There’s a low murmur of the crickets. I can hear waves hit the shore and the boat rattle slightly as the calm waters cause tiny movements. The halyards slightly caress the mast and a passing ferry can be heard in the far distance. Soft snores come from two of the bedrooms below.
The smells of the Mediterranean permeate the boat
The scents of local trees, the herb, sage, and last nights grill at the taverna lace the air. Although the temperature is mild, the smell and feel of the air indicate that it’s going to be another hot day.
My family and our guests are anchored off a wonderful Greek island near Turkey
There’s a castle high on the hill with an adjacent hill lined with very old windmills. Lower down the hills is a village with more windmills. Around ten sail and motorboats are near us all lined up with an anchor in the sea and a landline tying them to the shore. There are boats anchored and islands further out dotting the sea.
We are slowly swinging on our anchor
I’m getting a 60-degree view without turning my head waiting for the sun’s rays to hit a hillside or for the sun to make an appearance. Early mornings are so precious. They’re so special and I’m not sure why I’ve spent all these years sleeping through them? As I look around, I think to myself, ‘Perhaps it’s time to start a routine of waking early and going to bed early?’
As I ponder this new sleep and waking routine my thoughts open up to all sorts of options
Heck, I can do anything I want to do. If I want to wake at 5am, take 5 naps a day and sleep for 3 hours a night I could give it a go. And if and when that no longer suits me, I can change again. I suppose that I’ve always had the freedom to choose my sleep habits, or anything for that matter, but the pressure of working, general life and exhaustion seemed to require a daily 12-hour respite.
I then expanded my thoughts even more
Changing my sleeping hours is something I can alter allowing me to enjoy the peacefulness and serenity of the mornings…and what else? What else can I choose to change? Hmmmmm?
Selling up and sailing away has not only taking me out of the rat race but it’s also removed me from what is considered ‘normal’ living distractions. I no longer have access to the news nor am I able to get caught up in my previous social-circle dramas. My mind isn’t flooded with advertisements or over stimulating television programs and movies. I no longer experience traffic jams, road-rage or people failing to cope with life. And for the most part, the weather can’t give me cause to complain; the daily forecast is usually warm and sunny. From a work perspective, I’m so far removed from office politics and what a relief that is!
I no longer feel as if I need to fit into ‘normal’ life
I have this newfound freedom that has cleared my mind and allowed me to choose different ways to think and live. It’s as if I’ve cleared some space where I can be free of day-to-day stimulus and think about the more meaningful things in my life. Waking up to a magical dawn and sleeping routines is just one example.
Just yesterday we were sailing from one island to another. The waves were a bit rough and I knew that if I went below decks or tried to read I wouldn’t cope for very long. I’ve gotten much better with managing my seasickness but I don’t ever push my luck!
I sat on one of the very back seats on the boat and simply looked out at the water
My thoughts didn’t stop but they slowed way down and seemed to be very simple. On further reflection, my thoughts don’t seem to spiral as much anymore. A thought comes in, I look at it and then it goes. Another thought comes in, I look at it and it goes.
Previously, I’d think a charged thought like, ‘I wonder if the article I wrote for XYZ magazine was good enough,’ ‘or, I wonder if I am a good enough mom right now,’ or ‘I can’t believe the crisis in X country – why isn’t anyone doing anything?’ and then I’d be off thinking of past failures and possible future disappointments or even world destruction.
My past and future thinking mechanism seems to be working correctly for the first time ever
Of course I think of my past. Often, I reflect on summer holidays with my family. I compare where I was to where I am now. Reminders of past events pop in all the time, however, instead of getting stuck into a thought they seem to pass through me. Same with thinking of my future. I’ll consider what we’re going to do for, lets say, Christmas, ponder a few options and then let the thought go. I don’t spiral into a thought and get caught up in it. There’s very little worry or fear present. I don’t worry about where we’re going or when we’ll get there. My fears and worries about life are not completely gone, but they’re not the way the used to be. Heck, I was afraid of everything.
I wonder if this all makes sense?
I seem to be in the present and when past and future thoughts come, they simply come and go. When I lived in my old life, I spent most of my energy thinking of my past or worrying about my future. I’m not sure if I knew what the present was!
I used to be so caught up with being successful, looking pretty and being a ‘good’ mom/wife/friend/employer/etc.
Now, none of those thoughts entertain my mind. None of those things apply to who I am anymore. Now, I look out at the blue water and feel gratitude, think about what I’ll make for lunch or what activity Sienna, hubby and I can do when we moor up. We never know where we’ll be in a couple days. Things change often and we all just go with the flow.
Wise people often suggest that silent meditation is used to quiet the mind and find enlightenment
I’ve tried for years, to both meditate and find enlightenment, and sitting alone with my thoughts caused me to think even more…and to get sucked more into whatever was bothering me.
I suppose, however, I’ve now found my form of meditation. It’s not by sitting cross-legged, chanting OMMMM and watching my thoughts bubble to the surface. It’s by sailing on the seas and living the lifestyle of a somewhat simple traveller – it’s by living the life of my dreams. I feel so removed from the things I didn’t like (gossip, news, politics, broken systems – banks, healthcare, education, bad food, depressing weather, etc.) and so close to the things I love (family, friends, local fresh non-processed foods, days spent sailing, nights spent star-gazing, new people, new sights and amazing memories).
Some people might say I’m escaping or hiding from life yet I feel like I’m, for the first time, really living life
By removing myself from what most people call ‘normalcy’ I can look back at it and realize how caught up I was by things that didn’t make me happy.
Success no longer equates to making loads of money – rather, the word ‘success’ means that I’m fulfilled
And for me to be fulfilled, I don’t need a car, loads of designer clothes, expensive haircuts or the largest TV screen. I don’t even need a 6-bedroom house! For me to be successful, I actually don’t need much money at all.
What I do need is room to think my own thoughts, time to contemplate what I really enjoy and don’t and then the balls to say, ‘I’m going to go after what makes my heart sing.’ With this attitude it makes both my journey and destination remarkable.
One final remark: I’m not advocating that everyone sells their house, buys a boat and sails around the world. I am however, suggesting that if you’re not currently fulfilled with life, you don’t have to keep living the life you’re living. It’s possible that the ‘normal’ life doesn’t necessarily suit you and it’s time to find out what does. I’ve made massive changes in my life and yes it scared the crap out of me…but WOW, it was worth it.
Enough said. Time to pull up the anchor and head for our next destination. I wonder what new experiences will greet us today?