We arrived back in Toronto in the wee hours of December 20. Freezing, and tired, we went back to the grind. Being close to Christmas, it wasn't exactly typical grind, but still a major adjustment from the life we just experienced. Returning to work that following Monday, I was committed to the promise to return to the Caribbean... someday. As the hours passed, that promise became cemented in my brain!
A few days later, another 'Values Check' moment.
A friend who I chummed with in high school, had passed away. Details were sketchy, but it was a shock just the same. This was a friend who was always the life of the party, and always the one who would find a new way to make every experience, one to remember. I reflected on how he would always comment "better to burn out, than to fade away'. It was a shock when I heard that he had been found with a note, including instructions of no funeral or memorial. I had lost contact with this friend, who I'll call him 'Sam', in college. I had tried to reconnect with him through Facebook, and mutual friends. But no one seem to know his whereabouts. When I discovered he lived close by, and then this, it causes you to wonder... "how does the stress in your life compare to the darkness that 'Sam' had in his. Now, more than ever, I was committed to finding a way to make my dream work, before such darkness could ever overcome me.
So now I had a Crazy Dream, another reason for pursuing it, and a family who still hadn't had me committed. Lord knows that the commitment part wouldn't be hard. Anyone who knows me, would vouch for the fact I belong there! But the streets I still roamed, and the idea of a life in the Caribbean still occupied by nearly every lucent thought! So off to the boat show we went!
My first trip to the boat show was with my son, Daeyten. It was an annual rite of passage that we would go there, board the big sail boats, and dream of the day when we would have our own. I always thought when the day came that I had my own, it would be different. It was like I wanted to be a part of the club, and owning my own BIG boat would make me a member. As we boarded the various new, shiny boats, I did notice a difference, but I didn't feel like a member. I felt freedom. It was like I suddenly no longer needed to belong. The club no longer mattered. I could do my own thing, my own way. In a way, I felt let down that standing on such nice boats was no longer the exhilarating experience it had been in the past.
Onward we went, with a shopping list in hand. Still in the shadow of the sailboat ally, we came across the "Class Afloat" booth. They were promoting their private school, which takes place on a tall ship, while at sea, travelling around the Atlantic. While such an experience would be amazing, in my opinion, I was elated to see how it inspired Daeyten! The boy who, at best, endures school, suddenly was passionate about it. On the drive home, he talked about various ways he could get into this program. Unfortunately, one semester was $35000, making it a little impractical for us. Still, he spoke of fund raising, and various other ideas, to make it work. It was during this process that we began to discuss, in real terms, the idea of going to the Caribbean. Until then, I was unsure if he had the desire to realise such an adventure with us. He was in. Over the next few days he began researching sailing schools, marine careers, and crewing opportunities. It was clear he was taking this seriously, and was excited!
The following weekend I was back to the boat show, with Leanne. We looked at a few sailboats, but even she agreed, the payoff for braving the lineups wasn't there. Instead, we started on our shopping list. The boat purchase agreement listed the major things included in the deal, but was shy on details. So our list was small, since we didn't know how many anchors, or charts would be left with it. So we picked up two dogie life jackets, some foul weather gear, and looked into getting the dingy fixed.
As we straggled around, killing time, before heading home, we came upon the booth "A Nautical Mind". Being an avid book collector, I was delving through the treasures, when I heard someone tell Leanne, that's a MUST READ book. Saying that to Leanne, normally, is like saying "that's a steak you MUST try", to a vegetarian! But in this moment, someone was giving us the nudge we needed, to stop TALKING about our dream, and start PLANNING!
The book was "A Sail of Two Idiots". If you're a sailor, who dreams of the Caribbean, you must read it, before you start planning. If you're a sailor who is sailing, or has sailed the Caribbean, you must read it, for the chuckle, and the memories. If you're anyone who has ever dreamt big, you too MUST read it!
It's a story of two "Idiots" (sorry Renee and Mike) who left Arizona, after selling everything. They had no sailing experience, but BIG dreams. They bought a boat, and headed for sunny skies. Their lack of experience shines through in their first 10 minutes at sea, when they run aground on their way out of harbour! Long story short, it gets better from there, and they end up spending more than 3 years roaming the seas! It was a great book, that suddenly lent legitimacy to our plan! I remember thinking "we can do this". When I was done the book I sought out the author, Renee Petrillo, on line. I sent her an email, with compliments, and a litany of questions. She responded with detailed answers to every question, and at the end, the most important advice I've received throughout this journey. She said "just set a date. You'll never have enough money."
The words seemed simple, and scary. But they were words of truth. In life we worry ourselves to death. We worry if we have enough. We worry if we have too much. We worry if we will screw up. And when we succeed, we worry how we'll better that success. Yet, when the chips are down, none of what we worry about, helps us. Somehow, we always find a way to make it work!
When your daughter informs you that she has a major project, and it's due tomorrow, you find a way to make it happen. When my wife calls to say she's bringing a client home for dinner, be there in ten minutes, I find a way to clean the house, and cook a roast in five! Ok I took it one too far, but the point is made. We have enough to make this plan work, sorta! With a little more planning, while staring a deadline in the face, we will make this work! So August first it is! Ok, since my baby sister turns 40 August 2, August 4 it is!
Next up, explaining the how. That will have to wait for the next chapter...