Realizing the Dream: A Reality Check
When I was a child, I dreamed of being a marine herpetologist, studying in the Galapagos Islands. I was obsessed with marine iguanas, and Jacques Cousteau was my hero. I envisioned myself scuba diving there, imagining the sea life I would encounter. I started talking about sailing around the world in my early 20s. It was an abstract concept at that point, something that seemed like a really cool adventure. Five years ago I committed. The pesky details – that I didn't have a boat, or a partner, or any tangible way to make this dream a reality – were of no consequence to me. I made the decision that when my youngest daughter was launched, I would be ready to go. And so it came to pass. I found my partner, we found the boat, and with careful planning, letting go of a lifetime's worth of possessions, many weekends and evenings of trading fun with friends for exasperating boat projects, and a couple of graduation ceremonies, we arrived at the long awaited departure date.
And then we said goodbye to just about everyone we know and love... We left our family, our friends, our sailing community, and we left my daughter. Stepping out of her embrace to cut the lines and step aboard the Ardea for this adventure was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. At first, the juxtaposition of these feelings seemed beyond my ability to process. Swimming in a sea of cognitive dissonance, I was a blubbering mess for the first few days. The joy of realizing the dream I have had most of my life was profoundly overshadowed by the deep, physically painful, sorrow I experienced leaving behind my daughter and the sadness of leaving my friends and family.
We did a 'decompression stop' at Sucia for a few days, loitering aimlessly with good friends. This was excellent therapy, to ease into our voyage in this way. I am slowly regaining equilibrium by wading through the myriad of daily tasks necessary in a voyaging life. Reviewing charts, checking tides, and working on boat projects bring me back to center. I'm looking forward to sailing with my daughter(s) to the Galapagos Islands. We now share the excitement about swimming with the marine iguanas and whale sharks and observing the pink iguanas and blue-footed boobies. A dream within the dream.