the journey

february 2007: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

February 11, 2007

Current Location: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Current Position: Approx. N 20° 39', W 105° 15'

Now I understand why there is scheduled siesta time in Mexico. It is not as many people think because Mexicans are lazy or don't like to work hard. It is because they are smart.

It is our designated "work week" and it's 86 degrees in the shade. After 3 days of working all day from 8 or I admit as late as 9am until 5 with a few water breaks and lunch, Gar and I have lost at least 10 pounds in water weight, fall into bed exhausted at 8:30 p.m. and I wake up with sore muscles. We have finally taken our cue from the locals-start early, take a break from one until three when the sun is debilitating and work slowly.

So what have we been doing? We left Sausalito with a to do list of all of things we didn't quite get to and we've made a few additions since leaving:

1. Clean and wax all fiberglass on deck- check
2. Take apart the pooper and install new gaskets and seals-check
3. Whip all unfinished lines (ropes on deck)- work in progress
4. Take off the boom and re-grease connections- check
5. Install a fan by the nav desk- check
6. Install hydro fins on our outboard to help it plane faster- check
7. Modify dingy wheels (hacksaw and hand drilling required)- check
8. Splice new carabiner-style hooks on chain snubbers- check
9. Splice spare boomvang line
10. Install locks for stove on all tacks
11. Wax spreaders and radar
12. Varnish some interior and at least the cockpit table
13. Evaluate supplies and provision for the crossing
14. Work on the website
15. Go aloft and inspect rigging to clean spreaders
16. Organize and practice with our storm sailing gear

We may be accomplishing our tasks a little more slowly now that we're following local practice but we will be smarter, happier, and healthier for it.

February 11, 2007

Current Location: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Current Position: Approx. N 20° 39', W 105° 15'

It had been 67 days 4 hours and I don't know how many minutes since we left my parents watching our wake disappear under the Golden Gate Bridge.

It is the first of February and Gar and I navigate through the busy Puerto Vallarta airport to meet my parents. My mom walks quickly through arrivals and for an instant I have butterflies in my stomach and my heart beats a little faster. My dad is somewhere behind her. He is so focused on finding us, he doesn't look up to see me standing in front of him. Instead, he asks our ride for a cell phone. "You don't need that," I tell him, a smile across my face. We are again in one another's worlds.

They bring with them, a duffle bag and a half full of supplies and things we ordered in the States, hearts overflowing with love, a nervous excitement to connect with us and see our world, perhaps a pang of regret and a bundle of pride for what we are choosing, and my dad, a heavy heart when saying goodbye. We have 6 days.

I unpack my small backpack full of skirts I haven't been able to wear since last summer, a heart full of love, hope that we will be able to enjoy each other without too many old patterns weaving their way into our days, and as always a deep desire for their support.

Leaving my family was not easy. I felt guilty for leaving my dad and the family business, my mom, one of my best friends, and my grandma who remembers me on good days. I felt conflicted with my choice to follow my heart and my dreams without my family's approval. This is nothing new. I have been choosing things that wouldn't be what my dad and sometimes my mom would choose since I was 13. Yet, somehow I still want their approval. It's time to grow up.

In a recent conversation, mom said, "If it's some one else's kid, I think their idea to live in India or travel the world is fantastic. If it's you… well, you won't understand until you have children of your own." I cannot pretend to understand what it must be like to have your only child, your love, live close, 7 miles away, able to answer a phone call in an instant, involved with the family business, available for a walk with a day’s notice, able to share a last minute meal within 15 minutes of offering the invitation and have it all disappear in a simple moment of casting off the bow lines. And my dad fears pirates and storms, they both miss me.

I know we are not living what might be their dream for us: successful professionals with stable jobs in the Bay area, maybe a kid or two, living "normal" lives, close and invested in family and the community. Instead, we have chosen a voyager's life, following our hearts, living with the wind, sea, and stars. We are exploring our selves, our relationship with each other, and other cultures and environments throughout the world through one of the most challenging adventures we can think of.

It is my hope to become a stronger, more compassionate, communicative, playful, grounded, giving and wiser person. Along the way, I want to free myself of my guilt and embrace my choices without taking on my family’s energy, fear, or challenges. I want to find clearer purpose in our journey and be completely content with our choice, the opportunity of a lifetime. I want to be touched by the beautiful things in this world, renewed with hope for the planet and humans as a species. I want to weather the storms, stripped raw, exposed for who I am in the darkest places and the light, emerging with a deeper respect for the elements as a more resilient woman and skilled sailor. I want to give back to the places and people we are blessed to visit. I want to continue to delight in the beauty around me and share it with others with the hopes that you too will be invested in making the world a better place. I want to be open to serendipity and have the world offer me opportunities and lessons I never knew existed. I want to be free.

My parents left five days ago and I am so grateful for our time together. Having packed away our new supplies, I squeezed in the extra love my parents gave us. Memories of holding my mom’s hand, laughing about nothing, sharing delight in breaching whales, and watching my dad completely relax on the boat are all stored in my heart. Being able to share a day on DreamKeeper in Banderas Bay was so important for Gar and me. Thank you mom and dad for loving me, us so much, for hauling our supplies, coming to visit, and supporting us as best as you know how. We are blessed in so many ways.