Monday 8th April. 6,280 Nautical Miles!!!!!!!!!!
I can't believe this is my last post; our adventure has come to an end so quickly. It seems like yesterday that we were packing up the house and about to embark on our trip of a lifetime. I remember the worry, the excitement and the general sense of trepidation clearly. It was so hard to say goodbye to family and friends not knowing what lay ahead of us and now here we are preparing to fly back home tomorrow.
In one way its a relief that our sailing has come to an end as we have been incident free and the longer we were away the more I feared something might happen. But I'm going to miss the simplicity of our new lifestyle so much.
We have little on the boat, few clothes, few possessions and little technology (excluding ipads, computer and phones that is!) and we have become accustomed to this uncomplicated way of living. Gone are the days where I spend choosing what clothes to wear and knowing what the latest designer jeans are; we have escaped the trappings that life in London can bring.
There are so many things I will miss but in particular it will be the freedom we have experienced. We have lived a life of no routine and I have to say its quite liberating! Although we make tentative plans, if we have liked somewhere we stay and if not we move on. But also Its the freedom the children have had - its been safe for them to run around by themselves and I haven't had to keep my on them all the time as is necessary at home. They have learnt so much from the different countries we have visited - from the culture to the people. They've become more confident, outgoing and its been so good to see them enjoy the simple pleasures of life such as swimming, playing cards to whiling away the day drawing.
We all have our different highlights from the trip. For Milly its been St Barths (she wants to live there when she's older - I hope she has a good job/wealthy husband). Thea and Harry loved the sun and beaches. For James its been the Caribbean and for me in the end I think it was the European leg of the trip. Our focus had been getting to the Caribbean, so much so we hadn't thought too much about sailing down to Spain, Portugal and the Canaries. But Galicia in particular was such a discovery and a time that I look back on with fond memories.
Our time away has brought some unforgettable memories such as crossing the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic crossing. I realise I haven't written about the crossing but can honestly say it was one of the most difficult and one of the best experiences of my life. Coming first in the multihull division was a proud moment and it brought two amazing people into our lives - Gaspar and Rocio - who we admire and respect.
We've met some inspirational people along the way who have bravely taken the step to take time out and realise their dream of sailing around the world. I wonder what they thought of us - a family with no experience who didn't share their lifelong dream but suddenly decided to embark on such a trip. We all have reasons for doing something like this and after the worst two years of my life I found no reason not to do this. We both wanted to escape the rat race, even for just a little time. It was lonely at times, I missed friends and family who know me, what we had been through and could sympathise when I felt emotional at times. But equally it was good to be away and gain new perspectives on life.
We have all learnt such a lot. I personally have learnt a lot about myself and its taken this trip for me to realise that I can often be quite scared by life - I too often think twice about doing something. Be it jumping off the boat or scaling down a rock my natural instinct is to question as to why I should it. But now I'm learning not to ask 'why' but to ask 'why not'.
We have also learnt a lot about sailing. Well James has and I try. I'm quite proud to say I've crossed the atlantic but still don't know how to do a reef knot. However I can do a bowline. I can confidently say I have mastered that knot - my nemesis for so long. Sailing has been a huge learning curve and every time we sail we learn something else. Had I known this reality I would never have done this trip - sometimes naivety is a blessing. We also came to realise sailing Is quite a testing ground for a couple - communication is key to a harmonious sailing relationship which is quite difficult to achieve at times. As such I have perfected my fisherwomen's wail and James has perfected his grimace.
Despite the trials sailing brings I do wish in some ways we were sailing Intrepid Bear back home. It doesn't feel right to be jumping onto a plane and leaving her here. But sailing back is quite a different prospect and perhaps not a challenge we would quite be ready for. I know I will cry when we leave her tomorrow as she has seen us through such a lot and not once let us down. At the risk of giving anthropomorphism a whole new meaning I feel that although admitedly she is just a boat she/it has been such a big part of our lives and do feel like we're letting her down by having her put onto a ship. But needs must and its time for us to return to life back home. To reality.
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