Countdown... how ready do we feel to leave our land based home for 18 months or more?
Not at all really... my shoulders are stiff with tension and my stomach is doing summersaults as I type this post, as all the many months of preparation and push too get to this point feels like a hazy blur and all I can sense is that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach just before you reach the very top of a roller coaster and you start questioning your own sanity for getting on in the first place. It all feels a little anxious and out of control, as I look at the very long list of 'must dos' that we have to still tick off before we can set sail early September 2021 from Monaco towards Palma to officially start our long standing dream of sailing and circumnavigation around our beautiful world as a family on our own sailing yacht Makara (SeaDragon) as part of the ARC + and then finally the amazing Oyster World Rally 2022. Of course we are beyond excited, but right now my survival brain is in overdrive and even with all the inner work and tools I have accumulated over the years, I can still feel the natural anxiousness rising... and for me it lies more in my own concerns about what's happening in the world and how to keep my loved ones safe, healthy, happy and growing from the experience, and what challenges it might hold for our two teenage children, daughter aged 14 and son 16. It's an adventure and opportunity of a lifetime, but it's also the biggest challenge we have ever tackled, and the world is still in the thick of the COVID pandemic and fast becoming a very complex and unpredictable place to navigate freely through.
Everyone in the family is feeling the tension in their own ways and we are all full of nerves and excitement that see saw up and down, making us bump and spark up against each other in unusual ways as we all deal with our own emotions and fears around what's ahead. And for a family who have become quite accustomed to living with change and uncertainty the last 1.5 years, this is definitely taking things up a notch or two.
We moved our family away from the UK in March earlier this year to be able to get closer to our boat and be able to do the essential preparations she needed to be really ready and sailing fit to carry us safely around the world and through the Oyster World Rally 2022. This also meant we have had to leave family members, especially elderly family members, our very much loved cocker spaniel and two elderly cats, while waving dear friends goodbye and this was all hard, especially for the kids. And with a pandemic worldwide, it's not making things any easier. Of course we are also very excited, we love the idea of the freedom and nature ahead, and we are pretty resourceful for sure, but the reality of what we are about to embark on is suddenly upon us and feels like a much bigger wave than the one we initially thought we'd be surfing.
We are by no means seasoned sailors and the task ahead is suddenly scary and exciting in VERY equal measures and its hard not to start questioning yourself, so right now it takes all my inner strength and resolve to stay focused on that BIG dream and outcome we have spent so much focus, energy and dedication moulding and shaping into reality. But a family of four, of which two are teenagers, plus two full time crew members makes it a total of 6 people living in tight boat courters on our floating home, is always going to present some interesting challenges.
But by acknowledging my many fears and concerns, and honouring them honestly and vulnerably, I can feel their tight hold loosening, and as I shift through them, some of the heaviness starts to lift and I remember to breath, and slowly my focus shifts back to gratitude, awe and the incredible opportunity ahead. I start to feel like myself again and sense the the excitement stirring anew. Until the next wave of uncertainty and overwhelm catch me unaware... Are we ready... I think so, and I guess in many ways not at all, but now is now is not the time for doubting or questioning our resolve, it is the time to dance with our fears and even though I am fully feeling the weight of it all, but we'll be doing it anyway... perfectly imperfectly... learning to thrive in uncertainty.