Has my return to land caused me to call it quits to sailing?

It will be three weeks since hubby, my daughter and I arrived at our USA base-camp for the summer/fall. Having to sail out of the Caribbean hurricane zone for safety and insurance purposes we chose America for a variety of reasons.

The most important of them was to visit family

Several years ago my brother and his family along with my mother and her husband moved down from Rochester New York to the state of North Carolina. Having family near the east coast, and above the hurricane zone, made our decision easy.

Furthermore, Britican was in need of a somewhat specialized antifoul treatment (special paint for the hull that keeps growth off of it) and we found a boatyard in North Carolina that could provide the service we needed.

Finally, I’ve been increasingly interested in getting our six-year-old daughter, Sienna, into a real school for a while now. I feel as if I’ve exhausted all my capabilities of being a homeschooling mom. Try as I might, it’s been very difficult for me to research, prepare and teach lessons – even for a six year old.

Call it quits to sailing

Britican in NC just before she was taken out of the water

The subject matter isn’t difficult – it’s the time it takes to find interesting ways to teach the same thing in different ways that I find problematic

Especially when I often can’t get an Internet connection!

On average, I must spend around one full day preparing for a week of schooling. And in the end I’m not certain if our daughter is on par with her peers or not. And I say that from an academic perspective. Hands down, her education about the beautiful world we live in would beat the pants off most of the population.

What I’m fretting about concerns math, history, science and reading. Getting Sienna to read is definitely not as easy as I thought it would be. She’s not just ‘getting it’ despite all my efforts.

Perhaps I’m just looking for reassurance OR maybe I just want my daughter to understand what a ‘normal’ school is like so she appreciates all the hard work I put in. And…truth be told, I want a break. I put so much pressure on myself to do a good job yet my benchmark is probably some perfect ideal that’s never achievable.

The fact that I don’t know what my benchmark is inherently says it all…

So, let me get back on my topic. After sailing the Mediterranean and Caribbean for two years, and living in England for 20 years, I was worried how I’d feel about sailing to my home country of America. My worry was that I’d enjoy being ‘home’ so much that I might not want to get back on the boat and keep going around the world. Read Conflict! What happens when you take your sailboat home to your homeland?.

It’s been three weeks and my worries are still present. I feel like I want to call it quits to sailing.

My husband and I have Sienna in a YMCA summer camp and I’m loving my free time. I can start writing an article or work on my business plan without hearing: ‘Mom…I’m hungry,’ or ‘Mom…I’m bored.’

Over the course of two years I must say, however, that I’ve had loads of free time

Almost everywhere we went I found friends for Sienna – whether they played on our boat or another boat, free time was abundant. Free time, however, wasn’t scheduled. In other words, I never knew when I was going to get free time. That meant that I always had to be ready to work if I could. And by work, I mean build my SailingBritican.com website and business or write an article for a magazine/newspaper.

I knew that when we left land that I was going to effectively become a ‘stay-at-home’ mom and a homeschooler…something that wouldn’t normally be my first choice. On one hand I desired the opportunity to watch my child grow and truly spend time with her yet on the other hand I also wanted to keep my creative outlet going, not to mention the need to make an income.

Taking care of a child full time (including teaching), trying to create a business AND sail around the world was, perhaps, a bit too ambitious?!

Needless to say, I’m happy to be in America. I’m happy to be home

At this exact moment, as I write from the comfort of my mom’s house with air-conditioning, unlimited hot water (hot showers), next-day delivery of anything I want and an abundance of summer camps for my daughter I feel very removed from my live-aboard lifestyle.

In fact, I’m surprised at how quickly I seem to have gone from being a full-time live aboard boatie to feeling completely at home with all the comforts of a typical American land based lifestyle.

Despite my original desire to get away from processed food, I’m loving McDonalds. Despite my longing to spend quality time with my daughter 24 hours a day every day, I’m loving the 8am to 5pm summer camp experience. Despite my need to have a proper work/life balance I’m totally enjoying spending most of my time working.

Furthermore, I can’t tell you how nice it is to live in a home that doesn’t have a list of 20 broken things all screaming for attention.

Does this mean I’m actually going to call it quits to sailing?!

A reader put the following comment on my website:

“Although the undercurrent of commercialized society may be repulsive, it is easy, easy, easy to get lulled back into the comfort zone. Family members will be “worried” and “just want the best for you.” Decades ago, I failed to listen to my grandfather (submariner) who told me to get back underway ASAP because others are “unable to comprehend…. have never tasted real freedom….”
(can’t remember his exact words). 1996 was the last time I weighed anchor, I pray this does not happen to you.”

When I read this reader comment I felt my heart sink. I could feel the truth in what he had to say

I spent a couple days thinking…is this it? Are we done? Am I going to call it quits to sailing?

And then I heard a very quiet voice inside me saying, ‘Kim – all you need is a break. This isn’t the end of your sailing journey…this is an opportunity for you to collect yourself, get balanced, regroup and prepare for the next leg.’

So…some people balance their lives in a daily fashion. They get everything they need every day. Some people, like me, get their balance by going to extremes. I might need to spend months with my family non-stop eating wholesome foods balancing my family time with my work time and then for months, I need to have lots of me time, pig out on McDonalds and work, work, work.

As always, there are no rules. There’s only what works for you. And more and more, I’ve realized I just have to follow my joy and not look ahead. Everything always works out.

Interestingly, however, I must say that the last two years have drastically changed me

Before we left I was against commercialism, processed food, broken systems (politics, education, health service) and so forth. I felt as if the world was broken and I needed to get away from it – find a new world.

I certainly found a new world.

The sailing community is amazing. Commercialism isn’t a factor – even if a boatie wanted to buy something there’s no room so it just doesn’t affect you. Finding a pre-made sandwich or ready meals in the Med or Caribbean isn’t common…and if you did you wouldn’t want to eat it. Politics/Education/Health systems aren’t really discussed because in our world, the sailing world, there’s usually something more pressing to talk about like how to repair a busted pump or where to find a bakery.

Now that I’m back in the ‘real’ world or on land…I still feel as if many systems are broken (heck, just look at the current race for the American presidency) but I don’t feel affected by them. I now realize I have a choice to just not focus on them – I can focus on what’s in my world…what’s important to me…and how I can contribute to making the world a better place.

We often spend so much time distracted by problems grater than us that we essentially stay distracted rather than doing something positive. Being on the sea has really taught me that if you’re not careful you can become so distracted by external things that you’re just permanently focused on stuff that 1. Doesn’t make you fulfilled and 2. Keeps you from being the best you that you can be…being a positive contributor to the world.

But who knows…give me another month on land and perhaps I’ll find myself caught up or distracted about something.

I just keep reminding myself to, ‘follow my joy…follow my joy…follow my joy…’