The past several weeks have resembled a swirling slurry of activity: researching, procurement, preparation, packing, communicating, meeting, and trying to coordinate tasks that were usually intricately intertwined. Timing. Negotiating. Purchasing. Asking. Monitoring. Learning. Explaining. Managing. Occasionally arguing.
We made the decision to take a sailing sabbatical some time in September 2018, and from that point forward, I tried to do something related to the boat every day. Some days that might be as simple as filling out a form. Other days, activities would consume every waking moment until they spilled over to the next morning. Karen and I seemed to hit a good stride a few weeks in. We bring different strengths to the table, and when the Wonder-Twin powers activated, we checked things off lists at a dizzying pace. Sometimes I would go to sink my teeth into a task only to find that she had completed it. Ahhhh… that feeling when things go right!
One of the topics I became somewhat obsessed with (and not the only one, mind you) was what tools to bring on our journey. I enjoy tinkering with things, and I’m not as intimidated by repairs and maintenance as I probably should be, so this became a matter I approached with a zealot’s fervor. I raided my tool chest at home, watched hours of videos on this exact topic on YouTube (yes, they exist), read, asked friends, made lists, purchased some new items, and repurposed a few others.
All of this work culminated with our Bon Voyage party Saturday night. We took over a local watering hole, and friends, family, and coworkers came to see us off. It was an incredibly moving experience set to a backdrop of Buffet, Redding, Modest Mouse and others.
When we began planning for this back in September, we followed a path well trodden by project managers; using sticky notes and decomposing tasks into what became a multi-colored pyramid known as a work breakdown structure. It might have been overkill, but it gave us a way to organize (to say “tame” would be an exaggeration) the planning process. We took over a room upstairs in our house, filling it with boxes, books, clothing, personal effects, and provisions. It took time, but chaos gradually began to look like a little more like order.
Recently, over breakfast, a friend asked me, “What do you carry on a trip like this?” I could only blink and stammer, “A lot.” We had put hundreds of hours of thought, research, and action into that question, and that was on top of our ASA 114 training, which covers this topic in some detail.
Tomorrow we catch a flight to Gratitude and begin the task of muling all of our provisions from a brimming storage locker and what I anticipate will be several trips to Costco, Target, and Publix (plus one to Whole Foods if I get my way). I’m grateful that that this boat has a lot of storage and am simultaneously hyper-aware that storage is always at a premium on any boat. We have family coming down in the spring, and I already find myself wondering what we will beg or bribe them to bring that we forgot or cannot find in the Bahamas or Caribbean.
The countdown is almost complete. Here we come!