How we ended up in our boat packed with everything we own, including a dehydrated and stressed out tomato plant named Herbenito, is a story of trust, transition, and trying.
In the summer of 2016, Ryan purchased a 1999 Catana Catamaran and announced he wanted to live aboard. This thrust us into a year of complicated boat repairs, selling a home, renting out a condo, registering for sailing lessons, ridding ourselves of everything we had been hoarding, and moving onto a boat that we now call home.
How do you do that? How do you uproot your entire life to build a new one? How do you wave adieu to land dwelling habits, mentalities and philosophies and embrace nautical history, trends and proverbs?
1. Embrace - and remember - who you are. We all have different backgrounds and experiences which imprinted within us different skillsets, likes and dislikes. When you're making a big transition, it can feel like you're losing yourself but remembering who you are and what you bring to the table is critical to the success of any transition. When Ryan and I decided to take on this journey, he came to the table with: sailing experience, skills as a DIY handyman, boat knowledge, water knowledge, optimism. I came to the table with: classical dance experience, a yoga and life-coaching certification, journalism degree, social media savvy, realism. Together, this gave us options and challenges. Some days our passions and our skillsets aligned nicely and played well together. What he lacked in disorganization, I made up for with my OCD. What he dreamed about, I brought to it realistic groundwork. And some days, our differences worked against each other; his optimism would sometimes crash headfirst with my realism. His confidence in this dream would sometimes lose patience with my overwhelming worries about it. But embracing and remembering who we both are (both for ourselves and for each other) pulled us through the transition.
2. Decide what your goals are and decide on a plan to make them happen. In order to make a big move in Chess, you have to move the right pieces. This is how we approached our transition. We sat down and listed all of the variables and all details associated with those variables. He owned a home. I own a beach condo. Finances had to be shifted in order to secure the boat and pay off the boat. One of us had to focus solely on working on the boat while the other maintained a full-time job. He set a maintenance/re-fitting schedule for the boat while I brought extra hands and woman-power to the track progress, clean up, assess goals. Big moves were made when he sold his home, moved into my condo, then, with thoughtful planning, rented out my condo in order to carefully move all pieces to their places: finances, property, paperwork. All pieces were approached strategically.
3. Communicate every step of the way. A sailing-couple, once strangers, now dear friends, told us a story about their adventures to Key West. She said she was captured by a piece of art she stumbled across there of two waves. The artist said, “We call this two waves because it represents two different forces, like two different people, traveling their own unique paths but headed in the same direction.” We remind each other of this story often. As individuals, we both experience life at different paces, at different comfort levels, with different anxieties. While we may not always be perfectly in sync, we are traveling in the same direction. Communication is what helps us know where we each are currently and where we’re headed.
4. Be prepared for the naysayers. Choosing to live a different way than the default way of life is shocking to both the people planning the change but also to friends and family. It isn't easy. Well-established systems aren't set up to empower you to make unique changes, so there is fear associated with alternate living. People told us we were “walking away from everything” (instead of being curious of what we were walking toward). People assumed I was “giving up dancing. And how could I do such a thing?” I was even asked, “Why did I even go to graduate school?” Naysayers are powerful and can be extremely influential, especially those naysayers inside of your own head telling you things like: “You aren’t capable of doing this,” “What if this is a huge mistake?” “You don’t know what you’re doing.” If you let the naysayers, both external and internal, get to you, you will definitely fold, walk away, quit. But if you’re prepared for them and understand their agenda (which isn’t always bad; sometimes, they’re trying to protect you), then you can move forward with the naysayings
5. Be kind to yourself, to others, to ideas. My mantras for meditations lately have been three simple words that I repeat over and over again: open, love, acceptance. When you're going through huge transitions such as giving up your home, your possessions, your comforts like reliable wifi and being able to flush toilet paper in the actual toilet, you start to feel it in your body. The stress levels rise, the anxieties spread throughout your mind and body, and your communication blurs, emotions flare, and now you’re a tight knot of unhappiness and queasiness. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself time to adjust. Be kind to your friends and families. Give them time to adjust to your new way of living. Be kind to yourself and each other when introducing new ideas or processes. Everything takes an adjustment period and that is OK.
So, here we are. The beginning of a life-changing adventure and living on Seas Life full time: a sailing realtor & an in-training sailing ballerina. Our stories here won’t always be pretty or calming, but we love to share our growth as sailors, as a couple, as human beings. Thank you for being here with us!