July 30, 2009
We love to get emails from our friends and family. What you read on as these \”Ships Logs\” begins as a more raw email update to my closest supporters. They are not well edited & can be whiney at times. After reading such an email, I received this heartfelt reply from friend Clark, formerly from Oklahoma, then Los Angeles, now living in Paris. I appreciate all my cheer leaders and wanted to share his letter with you.
You know, for those of us sitting in our air-conditioned offices reading your emails on an iMac while eating take-out sushi, it is sometimes really hard to appreciate what a daring – and sometimes precarious – adventure you two have undertaken. We talk about you all the time, our friends who sold their house and their business and took off to sail around the world on a custom-made catamaran. Diving, taking pictures, swimming with manta rays. We only seem to think about the good stuff, the fun parts, the easy parts. The part where it is more of a vacation than a way of living, or even a way of surviving.
But after reading your last entry I am abruptly reminded of just how much of a sacrifice you guys are making. Nothing can be taken for granted. You can\’t just hop in the car and drive to Trader Joe\’s to stock up. Call a doctor in the middle of the night because someone has a fever. Or even ask a
neighbor to come help you raise up the anchor. Add to that, all the unknowns and the elements – wind, rain, etc. – and I realize that you guys really deserve a medal for bravery. If it\’s any consolation, I can tell you that everyone is envious and in awe of you. Sitting here in our sterilized little cubicles where the biggest decision of the day is \”do I go pick up a sandwich or get some take-out sushi for lunch\”. When I leave here I know I can either take a bus or a train or a metro or even a free bike to get home. I realize just how easy and simple our life is. I don\’t have to worry about freezing pain au chocolat (which, by the way, I am no longer supposed to eat…) or having someone I love diving down to un-snag the anchor in a 20-knot wind. I don\’t have to worry about whether or not I will get seasick in the Metro on the way home. I don\’t even really have to worry about what\’s for dinner because even if there is nothing in the refrigerator, I can run to the store or order in. But is this really living life, or just going through the motions?
If ever you doubt what you are doing, if ever you doubt the decisions you\’ve made that have brought you to this place, just remember: you and Scott have been planning this and looking forward to this adventure for years. You\’ve practiced, rehearsed and prepared. You are ready for this. You will learn
along the way. You will grow and experience and be a better and richer person for it. You will be admired. You will meet lovely, wonderful, giving people. You will share. You will see things you may not have otherwise ever seen. You will swim with Mantas (and be filmed). You will touch and eat and experience wonderful new sensations, smells, tastes, feelings and emotions. There will be good days. There will be bad days. There will even be so-so days. (Well, actually, I guess that applies whether
you are on land or on a boat!) There will be days where you say, \”this is all worth it\” and other where you say \”what in the hell am I doing here?\” Hell, I say that in Paris, too!
But know this: you are where you need to be right now, doing what you need to be doing, learning the life lessons you need to be learning. I once attended Zen Buddhist Guru lecture in Santa Monica years ago. A friend dragged me along. I don\’t remember who it was and I didn\’t really know what
I was doing there or getting into. It didn\’t change my life drastically (I\’m not wearing orange sarongs and have not yet shaved my head), but I did take something away from that experience that I still use today. It\’s the idea of \”living in the moment\” or \”living in the present\”. I\’m not talking about the
Dead Poet\’s Society idea of \”Carp Diem\” or \”Live for the Day\”, but more along the lines of cherishing every single moment when you are in it. Focusing on it and being present in it, present to your fullest extent. This is quite difficult for me, as I am often doing or saying one thing and thinking about another. But when I manage to really focus on the moment and be present in it, wonderful things usually happen.
The Buddhists say, \”don\’t dwell on the past, don\’t worry about the future, but concentrate on the present moment\”. I don\’t claim to fully understand, and I\’ve never really done any Buddhist studying, I don\’t know if you have either, but it seems to work for me and even be comforting to me at times.
It reassures me.
Yes, I suppose it is hard to think about living in the moment when you are standing on the stern in a 20-knot wind trying to understand what Scott is shouting back to you and keeping the boat from drifting. But I\’d also guess that at that very moment you instinctively can\’t do anything other THAN live in the moment. So I\’m not really sure how you will interpret this. But whatever you do with it, stay strong and continue to believe in what you are doing. You are L-I-V-I-N-G life! So many people are proud and envious of you both. You have both lost people very dear and close to you recently, do
it for them, in their memory and in their honor. LIVE!
It wasn\’t until several years after coming to France that I finally understood why so many people kept telling me, \”Oh you are sooo brave, doing what you are doing.\” I never saw it that way. It was just obvious to me that it was what I had to do and wanted to do. Now, in hindsight, I realize that
it was brave. That I was taking a chance. But I wouldn\’t change a thing and I would do it all over again in an instant. The good parts and the bad parts. The fun days, the not-so-fun days and even the so-so days. I am happy with who I am today because of this experience. I know I doubted myself at some points. I know I was scared and worried and stressed and confused and fed up and pissed off and wondered what the hell I was doing. But that still happens every day, just for other reasons. People only tell us we are \”soooo brave\” because they wouldn\’t dare do the same thing, take the same risks, dig deep within and ask themselves the tough personal questions needed to undertake such a challenge.
So, just the simple fact that you are there and you are doing what you are doing is in and of itself enough to be able to say, \”This is it. This is where I should be right now, doing what I am doing and being the person that I am.\”
I hope I haven\’t rambled on too long and wasted too much of your download time and I hope you\’ll find my thoughts comforting. I may be a big bore and not be making any sense, but on the outside hope that you\’ll get something out of all this gobbledygook, I just wanted to share my thoughts
All my love to you and Scott
Thank You Clark!
Cindy & Scott