What it takes to sail away for good

Every journey has to start somewhere. And though ours has yet to begin, it has been an adventure in itself just getting to the point of departure. (See future posts on fried electric systems and broken heads.)

For the past year, Ryan and I have been planning to sail away from New York Harbor on our 34′ Catalina sailboat, Hideaway, with our 2 cats Charlie and Celia, leaving behind our Manhattan lives, our businesses, our families and our friends to pursue something… else.

Actually, I say “we” have been planning. But, really, Ryan’s been planning. I, on the other hand, have mastered burying my head in the sand, taking up all-consuming projects that are completely not boat-related, half-hoping this crazy idea would either go away or miraculously start feeling like my plan, too.

We set the departure date of October 1, 2012 some time last year when Ryan was fed-up with our overly stressful Manhattan lives. The plan Ryan made, which I vaguely agreed to, was to get to the Bahamas on or around November 15th, his birthday.

In the year leading up to our departure, I’ve semi-successfully ignored the fact that we’re leaving, while occasionally reading books and blogs about sailing (Tania Aebi’s book Maiden Voyage was the most inspiring, so far) and also scrambled to cram in every last bit of land-based fun I could possibly have, just in case we did actually leave as discussed. (Possible future post: “How I came to be a downhill ski racer and roller derby player simultaneously.”) Nothing like a little roller-skating and skiing to remind you of the things you can’t do on a sailboat.

I know, I know, you seasoned sailors out there know that most of the fun in cruising is had by getting off the boat to explore, but I can’t help imagining that we’ll be living like Reid Stowe, that crazy guy who set a record by spending 1500-some-odd days at sea without ever touching land. Ever. Stowe’s voyage, as awe-inspiring as it is, sounds like the worst thing that could ever happen to me… a floating sea-prison where I’d be forced to do yoga, sit in sober silence, and kill my own food.

But, it turns out no one does that. Well, not no one. Obviously Reid Stowe did that. But Ryan has promised me that we will spend a larger portion of time on land than we do on the boat. He promised. Which is why I’m documenting it here for you all to see.

So this is where our story begins. In writing this, I am acknowledging that Ryan’s dream is about to become a reality, and it’s now time for me, too, to embrace this adventure 100%. There are some things about our future I feel uncertain about, but my life experiences so far have taught me that this would be true whether I were on a boat or firmly rooted to land. And the truth is, I am always up for an adventure. Especially one that involves traveling.

These last few weeks in New York City, as the weather has cooled off and our boat preparations/reparations have come to a close, I’ve started to inch closer to the feeling that it’s time to go. And if there’s another thing I’ve learned, it’s that it’s always better to leave a town while you still have some love left. I can see Ryan’s appreciation for my favorite city waning very quickly (evident whenever he indicates to change lanes and some crazy driver accelerates to prevent him from moving over…to which he screams, “I hate this city!” and I reply, “It’s not New York that’s bad; it’s the people in it.”). The truth is, I need to get him out of here if I ever want to see Manhattan again.

So there you have it. Who knows where this path will lead us? It doesn’t matter. For now, we start with the story of two travel-loving, over-tired Manhattanites in love (one from East London and one from upstate New York), who decided to take a leap of faith, set sail to the Bahamas…and just see what happens next.