A few days ago I was told that my dorades were dusty. The next day another person mentioned how dirty my decks were. And yet another person asked me why I had so much crap in my cockpit. All of these criticisms hit me deeply and personally and brought back every single boat insult ever slung my way. I emotionally fled to a perfectly polished tiny cottage where I could live alone in shiny silence with a hand blown glass vase full of pink peonies on the table and not a single crumb on the floor.
After the first insult I scrubbed furiously. Neither my dorades nor my fans had a speck of dust at the end of the day. I desperately want to live minimally on a shiny, tidy, scratch free, polished, perfect and varnished boat. The reality is that there are footprints on the cushions, fingerprints on the mirror, crayon on the canvas, nail polish in the cockpit, scraps of paper on the settees, and glitter on the sole.
After the second and third insults, instead of struggling towards perfection, I visited my friends, drank Scotch, ate baguette with fresh butter, let my kids skip school and sent them hiking for a day, and climbed back into bed with Tucker for a passionate morning. The two of us wandered through town, ate lunch out, visited art galleries, and drank coffee again and again.
While I breathed deeply and shielded my eyes from the gleaming stainless on the boat next door Tucker and I talked about the days I will remember. It won’t be the days I scrubbed the cockpit, nor the days where he’s bloody knuckle deep in the engine compartment. It won’t be the four millionth spill of milk into the cracks, or the forty millionth time I’ve swept beach sand and rice off the floor. Those are the necessary days.
It’s been a year today since we set out from Brisbane. In a year, just this year, I’ve sailed thousands of miles, snorkeled in gin clear water*, climbed a volcano at sunrise, walked with Komodo dragons, painted batik in Bali, browsed the best bookstore ever in Singapore, went to cooking school in Thailand, spent 56 days enduring in the shipyard in Penang, flew to Kuala Lumpur by myself, learned to SCUBA dive, baked four birthday cakes, swam in the middle of the South China Sea, read many books, walked through several pairs of shoes, watched my boy turn into a swimmer and my girl become an incredibly responsible young woman, spent hours and hours with our wonderful friends, played games, rowed into caves, walked on beaches, spoke words in five languages, stayed up far too late in laughter and great conversation, stitched up fun little presents and sewn up huge boat projects, rode motorbikes, ate amazing cashews and mangoes, turned chocolate into tangible love, cried my eyes out and laughed until my ribs hurt.
These are the stories I’ll tell. These are the days all four of us will remember.