A Big Deal

I hope you have some time today, because I can tell you right now, this is going to be a long bit of rambling. We set sail from Oceanside, California this morning and have made it to San Diego, which is about as far south as we can go before we get to Mexico. It's kind of a big deal. It's such a big deal that I'm feeling a bit emotional about the whole thing (yes it's true, tough guys have feelings too).

If you've been following along, you can probably do the math and figure out that we left our home waters about 2 ½ months ago. You may be thinking that 2 ½ months is a long time to sail the coast of the US and get to Mexico, but really it's not. I've been dreaming about this trip for nearly 20 years, so 2 ½ months compared to my 20 years of dreaming seems like the blink of an eye.

I have told people for years that I was going to sail around the world someday. The dream started shortly after I bought my first sailboat in my very early 20's. I had introduced myself to a new neighbor who had just pulled into the dock I was living on in Seattle and said, “Welcome to the neighborhood. Where did you come from?” His answer caught me by surprise and is what planted the seed.

He told me, “I just got here from Maine. I sailed all the way around South America. It took me 2 years.”

“Holy Crap!” was all I could say. I had no idea someone could do something like that. I just thought that sailing around the Puget Sound was as good as it could get. At that point, it had never registered in my mind that leaving my home waters and seeing the world by sailboat was even a possibility. It sounded incredible, and instantly I knew that someday I would set sail for distant shores and explore the world. What 22 year old boy wouldn't crave ultimate freedom and adventure?

At that point in my life, I had no idea how or when it would happen. I was 22 for crying out loud. I've never met a 22 year old who could do much more than tie his/her own shoe, so planning a way to make a dream turn into a reality was far from my mind. All I knew was that someday it would happen. The seed was planted and the dream was alive.

When Brenda and I got together, that's when things changed. I'm going to try to not get overly sappy, cheesy, or emotional with this, but really, she is what solidified the dream and made me realize that yes, together, we can make this happen.

I'm not going to say that when we met it was love at first sight or anything ridiculous like that, because it took about 5 minutes for me to know that this was the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I'm a slow learner. But in those 5 minutes, I can tell you that there was something that told me “This is it. She's the one. Don't screw this up.” Luckily I listened and didn't screwed it up.

We both have slightly different versions of the way things went down on that first meeting, but basically, the short version of the story is that we were instantly inseparable. And that's how it's been ever since.

In the last 15 years we've had together, the dream solidified, we put together a plan, we scrimped,we saved, we schemed, and we worked like crazy to make it happen. I am constantly amazed at what a good team can accomplish. And yes, we are a good team. I am pretty confident that we couldn't have gotten here with someone else, and really, I don't think either of us would have wanted to.

There are lots of adjectives I could use to describe how I'm feeling about this team and our whole experience together, especially now that we are within spitting distance of the Mexican border. But the one that is currently sticking with me is overwhelmed. I'm overwhelmed that even with minuscule odds, we were both standing on the same sidewalk at precisely the same time on a Thursday night some 15 years ago. I'm overwhelmed that I didn't screw it up. I'm overwhelmed that through hard work and determination our plan came together. I'm overwhelmed that my dream of 20 years has come to fruition and we now staring at the Mexican border while in our floating home that brought us all the way here. And more than anything, I'm overwhelmed that I get to have this adventure with my best friend. It's amazing really.

During our trip south, we have met countless people that have told us that we are “living the dream.” We've heard from people who have shared their story about how they had the dream to go cruising but couldn't pull it off because of family reasons, health, finances, they got too old, or they didn't have the guts. The fact that we are here and made it despite the odds is incredible to me and is a testament to the power of our team. Even though we put a lot of effort into making this happen, there is still a bit of luck that helped it all fall into place. There are others that have dreamed bigger, worked harder, and planned longer, yet still weren't able to sail off into the sunset. But for some reason, it has worked for us. We are fortunate.

To sail to Mexico and beyond from Seattle is a major undertaking. Not only was there years of planning and working on the boat to get it ready, it's also a whole lot of open ocean miles to get here. At times those miles at sea were a pure joy, but more often than not, they were tough, hard fought miles. It was a battle that left bruises and scars and thoughts of doubt, we had winds and waves that would make mere mortals wet themselves, and then there were problems with the boat that popped up at the most inconvenient of times. The sea can be hard. Not only on a person, but on the boat as well.

For the most part, the boat was great though. She was comfortable as could be in the roughest of conditions, she got us from point A to point B without sinking (a huge plus), and more than anything, we feel confident that she can take a beating from mother nature and keep us safe and sound. All that beating on the trip south has taken a toll though. Things that were shiny and new when we left Seattle now look weathered and worn. Stainless steel looks tarnished, the hull and topsides have a dull chalkiness from the sun and salt, and canvas stitching has been blown apart in spots. She looks like she's been in battle and has taken a few licks.

Now that we are in San Diego, we have a couple of weeks before hurricane season officially ends in Mexico. In these next 2 weeks, we've got a long laundry list of projects and maintenance to take care of to get the boat back into ship-shape, we'll spend way more time than we would like getting our Mexican paperwork in order, and we'll re-stock the boat with provisions for the long trip down the west coast of Mexico's Baja Peninsula. And after all of that, we'll do our best to have some fun. Because fun is the whole point.
I guess what I'm trying to say after all of that rambling is that I'm pretty proud of ourselves for getting here. It's been 20 years in the making for me. And even though Mexico is just one country out of many in this world, and one country in a long list of countries we hope to visit in our floating home, it has been the one that I wanted to get to the most. It meant we let go, made a leap, and we went for it. To me it means that no matter what happens from here on out, we've made it.

Our new home for the next 2 weeks while we wait out Mexico's hurricane season - San Diego.

This is from our first night in Oceanside, shortly after we pulled in.  For our Seattle based friends and family, that's what's called a clear sky...oh, and it's 80 degrees.  Sorry.

On our last night in Oceanside, we had a little friend who was standing watch next to our boat.  He's not as friendly as he looks.


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