It was exactly one year ago that we motored out of San Diego Harbor and started what has been, for me, the most amazing year of my life.
I've been trying to put my thoughts together about it for a while and just keep shaking my head. Charlotte and I sat around for a few minutes tonight just going through the list and it feels like decades worth of experiences, crammed into a single calendar year.
Our youngest daughter was born following the reenactment of a Benny Hill skit with Cole Trickle. I singlehanded ~1300 miles from Ensenada to Bahia de Banderas. I did my job from a developing nation. I took a train across the United States, and got the flu in New Orleans. We've crossed the Sea of Cortez, myself twice. I've weathered half a dozen cyclones. We've eaten fish we've pulled from the sea. We've met incredibly interesting people.
We've swung into tropical springs with rope from a tree branch, nets up to keep the crocodiles out.
Charlotte and I sat in Puerto Escondido and found Lyra in the stars.
The hardest things to put into writing though are the transformative impacts of it all.
The problem with being an adventurer is that you'll never again belong in any one place.
This year has been like a surgical operation, pulling away pieces of us that we don't really need and buttressing areas that had grown soft from "real life".
I'm summarizing a bit, but a core aspect of Robert Pirsig's commentary on sailing is that is indeed more "real" than "real life". So much of modern living is about insulating a person. Insulating away from the environment, from fear, from discomfort, from challenge, and ultimately from themselves.
In Walden, Thoreau spoke of modern inventions:
Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end, an end which it was already but too easy to arrive at.
It's really hard to believe that we'll be leaving for the South Pacific in a few months. Sailing with the family is physically, emotionally, and financially tough but looking back on the first year I can say this: it was absolutely worth it and I can't wait to write the next installment from New Zealand.