I think it’s a fair question to ask. Why, why spend all the time, money, sacrifice, burden the family, etc to make this voyage? Why sail 2300 miles across an ocean when we could have just shipped or even sold the boat. It’s simple for me.
Because it’s there. Because I have to.
If you listen quietly, intently, you’ll hear a small voice inside telling you who you are. What you must do. The things that are most important. This is what I’m after.
I had to do this voyage, I’ve recently realized, because I needed to know who I am. This is a complex subject for anyone and not anything that can be surmised in a blog post. But, I think the why is important. What’s the motivation.
The past 15 years of my life I’ve lived by other people’s rules. Societal, relationship, jobs. They were very restrictive. I felt restrained. Confined. Never that it was possible to make such and epic journey such as this. That I was capable or worthy.
Ashley has encouraged me to live my life to the fullest. Not anyone else’s. I didn’t even know what that was until recently. We have kids now, bills, houses and cars. Mortgages. Surely it wouldn’t be possible to undertake something as massive as crossing an ocean in a 36′ sailboat. Her encouraging spirit has sparked my inner vision for who I am and what I want from life.
I can say with confidence; I am a sailor. Through and through. This is where I want to be. That’s not the only thing that defines me as I am a proud dad and husband. Of course, I love my family, home, etc but – out here I feel alive in a completely different way. It’s not better or worse than when I am with them, but it’s where I feel alive in a different way. It’s almost too much to put into words.
I had always thought I loved the sea, after so many deployments on submarines, summers spent at the coast, sailing around the Puget Sound. But I always wanted more. To test myself. To face up. Thoreau wrote “Men go back to the mountains and sailing ships at sea because on the mountains and the sea we must face up”.
I felt unsatisfied; as if I knew I wanted to be a swimmer but was only able to put my feet into the pool and kick around a bit. How could I test myself, see if this really was who I am.
This past week and a half at sea have solidified who I am and what I want, personally. I want to sail. Be on the sea. It’s so deep inside me it’s undeniable. It’s more than that though, seafaring will develop and uncover your deepest character strengths and flaws. That is where we find who we really are.
These revelations are the “why”. That’s what I’m after. I knew, instinctually, this voyage would define my sense of self and it had to happen for me to find satisfaction. Now, what’s the next challenge?