|Provisions waiting to be stowed. I didn't have a clue how we'd fit it all in.|
About 3 weeks ago, I posted on Life Afloat's facebook page a photo of the utter chaos that is our main cabin, with an insanity of provisions yet to be stowed. It didn't look much better yesterday, but we followed the advice of friend Debbie when we were leaving for our first cruise: "Get Off The Dock!." Pick a day and go. You'll never be 100% ready, she said, but if this is to be your new life, then live it. She advised us to just go around the corner to a nearby anchorage, drop the hook, and do all the stowing there. At least we would have begun the adventure.
So yesterday, that's what we did. We had already sold our cars and given up our marina slip, the last "things" that tied us to land. We motored away from our (former!) marina, in pretty weather, but no wind, hence the motor instead of sailing, and headed for the Rhode River. We would join the SSCA gam (sailors/boats gathering) and at the same time, just hang out and organize our stuff. Two other boats would join us, and after the gam, weather permitting, we'd start our southbound journey in earnest on Monday.
I'm really struggling with the idea of leaving, this time. Previous trips were just winter commutes; our cars and marina slip were waiting for us when we got back "home." But this time is different, as everything we own is with us, except for the sentimental heirlooms in long-term storage with friends in Pennsylvania. The good thing about this impending rootlessness is that travel is, after all, what boats are for. The bad thing is that I haven't found in our travels any place I'd rather be than Annapolis. Sure, Florida was fun and Aruba was beautiful, but culturally the Annapolis/Washington DC area is where I feel at home. Its weird that we don't have that many friends of the deep friendship kind here, though we have many friends of convenience, and many of our deep friends have moved on. But still, random people I meet are more likely to share my values than are random people I meet in, say, Wyoming.
As we went about our last days, we had been commenting to each other, "Wow, I sure won't miss THAT," while pointing to things like our neighbor the hoarder or the other neighbor with the stinky cigars, or town politics or our sketchy internet connection or the bad water quality in the creek. I don't like this negative attitude in myself. Partly I think this finding flaws in our living situation is our way of easing the ache of pulling up those roots, and intentionally self-serving "sour grapes" attitude that we're doing to ourselves just now, these things were only tiny annoyances before. I wonder, though, if its really the opposite: have we always had to have a protective Pollyanna shield to make life here pleasant, and are we now for the first time seeing our town having taken off the rose-colored glasses we've worn for the last 11 years?
More than anything, what I think I'll miss is what writer Mary LoVerde calls being known. But at the same time, I am also attracted to Suzanne's statement that she would never again lock herself into an annual marina contract, because it would prevent her from moving when she was ready to. My friend Stuart says that the best guarantee of successful cruising and living aboard is to own nothing -- NOTHING -- on land. That's the only way you can truly be mobile, no strings at all.
Its crazy, when people ask us our plans. They are so nebulous. We hope to return to St Augustine for the holidays. After that, well, it depends on how the winter weather shapes up. If its cold, we're going to head further south, maybe the Florida Keys or the Gulf Coast. If it's warm, we'll hang out, and maybe do the northern Bahamas in the spring. We have every intention of coming back to Annapolis, probably in about a year and a half. But first, I want to explore the southern Chesapeake Bay next summer, and North Carolina's Outer Banks. I want to try for a while to live in this un-anchored way.