Two years, three months, thousands of miles, two hurricanes, more than twenty waterspouts, seventeen jobs, one grounding, 72 blog posts, two pairs of flip flops, and still one dream.
I began this journey as a school teacher dreaming of the day when I would cast my lines and sail away. I have sailed many knots since then, but still have come set my anchor in the same place in which I started. The hardest part of my journey was not the storms or sailing alone. It wasn’t trouble shooting the engine repairs, or climbing up the mast.
The hardest part was the transient work I needed in order to continue sailing. Each job I had lasted at most only a few months. I missed a feeling of purpose. Not wanting to sail about as a sea gypsy, I’m taking pause to prepare for a future voyage. One where I’ll travel further, not just in distance but also in heart. Until then, once again, I am excited to be a school teacher dreaming of the day when I will cast my lines and sail away.
A cruising friend of mine asked, “So, how does it feel to be swallowing the anchor?”
Swallowing the anchor! Not me. I don’t view this transition to a more stable job with a longer commitment as swallowing the anchor. Instead, I’m simply preparing for my next big voyage. A voyage that requires more planning, more financial preparation, and more miles than I have already done.
I’ll begin teaching again in just a few weeks and I’m busy preparing myself for the school year and Daphne for her first haul-out since I’ve owned her! We are both weary and weather-beaten from our travels and this winter will be full of recovery, boat projects, and expedition planning. Next summer I’m northbound. As far as I can get!
I’m teaching Marine Science, Theater, and Dance at a school that is perfectly situated on the water. When I’m not aboard Daphne, I have a boat-size dorm room that I’ll call home and many pre-teen boys to look after. Even though I won’t be sailing daily, I’ll still be on a path toward future voyages and greater simplicity despite diving back into a complex culture. Now its time to pause, revive, and set in motion a plan for the long-term.
There are more exciting things in my near future as I try to find a balance of simple living in today’s culture. And there are boat projects! Lots of them. The winter to-do list is long.
It’s bittersweet to read this. On the one hand I’m very happy that you have found a position that will help fulfill you and those that you are teaching, but on the other I will miss hearing of your travels for the near future.
But I will still look forward to your posts, and hearing about your preparations for your future journey.
You capture it perfectly – not swallowing the anchor but preparing for your next big voyage. Hear hear!
Maybe next time out Calypso and Daphne can share an anchorage together somewhere.
Cheers, and good luck,
s/v Calypso, but land-based for now
Rock on. Both of my parents were teachers and we lived for our summer adventures. We never thought of the school year as our “real” lives. On the other hand you (as most teachers do) serve the greater good while serving your own needs. A good shift of that sense of purpose from me to thou is good for us from time to time, no matter how thou-centric the cruising community at large can be.
We are coming out of a three year re-fit project ourselves and readying to head south. I can tell you from experience that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
But you already know all this… guess I’m just offering what affirmation I can.
If you find yourself in need of motivation on a cold winters eve, my friend Carlos has set up a web site for us dreamers. It’s still beta but have a peak. sailingbucketlist it’s a com site but it’s community centered.
George and Kerri aboard Marquesa
I have been following you for quite a while on this blog, and wondered when this part of your journey would happen. Beth and I bought our boat True Blue in June, and are planning our long-term getaway when our two youngest, 12 and 15, are out of the nest. I often wonder and dream when I read yours and others’ blogs, wishing it was me out there right now! Right now isn’t the time for us, in the meantime, we’ll make do with summer trips and the process of getting there! Enjoy your school year, and if your northbound trip involves Nova Scotia, you are welcome to come alongside True Blue.
It is bittersweet, like Bill said. It’s good to know when to start the recovery as well as having a ‘trade’ to fall back on. I wish you much luck and success in this recovery and look forward to your post regarding the haul out and future sailing adventures.
Thanks everyone for your encouragement! And perhaps I’ll put this into even more perspective….although my longest job was about 4 months, I was in one location longer than that during my first winter aboard. Perhaps my best writing is during that time because I had the most blog readers then.
I hope that at long as I keep writing about sailing, simple living, and going after my dream then you’ll keep reading. Stick with me. More great adventures to come. And I still have to tell some more sea stories from my travels!
The best blog post is coming next. Here is a teaser…I’m meeting with a sailing celebrity!
I’m not a sailor but I’ve made quick trips with other sailors. I grew up around the Gulf coast of Texas, so I have no idea how I never learned to sail, especially since I dream of sailing. I know nothing other than how much I enjoy being on the water and helping the captain however I can. I live in the desert now in a motorhome. I think that’s about as far away from sailing as one can get. I’m certain that your adventures in your new teaching position will be as interesting as your live-aboard posts, so I hope you keep them coming. You will be able to teach these young men something that most cannot – how to buck traditional expectations that involve accumulating stuff and live your dream. I know you’ve taught me that. Thank you.
George, I like how you put that: the often “thou-centric” cruising community. Of course, a lot of retirees deserve, after a long career, to be thou-centric cruisers. But good-hearted youngins like Teresa must long for that sense of purpose and service to a community. For me, sense of place and service at nonprofits is what my life revolves around. Cruising permanently at least would not be a desirable option for me (even if I had the means to do so now).
What a dilemma to feel the more solitary pull of the sea & adventure, and yet feel the pull of service to humanity within a community. Interesting to see you navigate these, Teresa!
so much to say…so little time to say it….these are the kind of discussions we would want to have with you…so many misunderstandings…but to repeat…we admire all that you have done, and all that you are doing….trying to understand all that you are striving for prompts all our questions…are you a gift to that school, we believe so..do you belong teaching kids, no doubt in our minds…are you envied that you have been able to do the things you want, you know you are….now admitting, or coming to the realization that combining all that you are, stand for and have to offer is the trick…most of us live our lives wishing we were able to do something else, not realizing that it takes work and balance to do just that…it would be a shame if you did not share your talents, your thoughts, and your learnings with the people that are going to benefit greatly….and it would be a shame if you did not have the experiences that you have had and are about to have…we are proud that you are doing it all….far from swallowing any anchor, you are listening to your heart, something lots of people are afraid to do. love you always
p.S. Realizing you have more than one dream, and you have more than one purpose is not only ok, but freeing….
Thanks Merry! I love your comments. Miss you.
Mum, you too. You are a gem.
Its so great to read such encouraging comments from my “blog community.” It certainly feels like a community and I need to keep sharing because I’m starting to think that some of my sense of “purpose” can be fulfilled via this blog. Its too bad it doesn’t pay well! But I’m working on it. Maybe someday writing will pay…..hmmm….
Teresa, I’ve been dealing with the same issues of late, and I think we will doing the same very soon on Illusion. After we sail to the Caribbean this winter, I think we will put sailing on hold for a while to focus on our other life goals. We are running short on money, and I am really eager to develop my art/design career and hopefully pursue my masters in art. I actually feel bad for putting my art pursuits on hold this past year while we were working on the boat and traveling, even though I have had some amazing experiences. I’ve learned so much on the water (as I know you have) though and plan to continue to incorporate sailing and cruising in my life. We all have multiple interests, which evolve over time. When you set off on your next sailing adventure you will have a fresh perspective and no doubt a greater sense of purpose.
The change will be good, the money an extra blessing, and the time will fly.
You’ll still be around your boat, so it’s not too much of a sharp change. You’ll get the best of both worlds for a while.
a gem? really?
Dear Lara: I dont know why I feel the need to respond, but I wanted you to know that I dont feel you should feel bad for putting yours art pursuits on hold for a bit…while it is true, time seems to go faster and faster, and I learn that more and more as I get older (my wise mother told me it would many years ago, and I didnt quite understand)…your creativity is a representation of you, and look how much more you can bring to that….a reason, I do believe….and like you said, a greater sense of purpose….good luck….I hope we get to see some of your work…..
A time to revive or a time to reflect? T, your going to be an inspration to the boys at that school. I still remember Ms Kim Roots, creative writing, She filled my head with wonder and gave me the desire to see what was out there. I’ve had a good life and I hope Kim Roots has too. The only thing she didn’t do was give me the power to spell!!! I’m sure that the time you give to these young people will not be forgotten by most. Hell I’m 58 and I won’t forget. Press on with Pride.
Mom, You can see some of Laura’s art on her blog Forest and Fin (http://www.forestandfin.com/)
Teaching for a year or two isn’t ditching the dream but just taking more with you. I taught on the Outer Banks of NC for a couple of years and for the first little while lived on the boat. It was great. I’d work during the day and hop on the boat in the afternoon. Some days, I’d pick up Fowler O’Neal, one of the older citizens who would hop aboard and we’d go for a sail. Sometimes, I’d sit in the cockpit and drink an afternoon coffee or tea and write or read. Showers were in the outdoor shower at the docks and food was aboard or at someone’s house in the village. It was a great existence and had meaning too. The kids in the school were great but many hadn’t taken time to explore their world on the island. It was very much akin to Pat Conroy’s “The Water is Wide” but in a more realistic way. Much less glorified and more appreciative of every day. I received from them, much more than I brought but can now take that with me to other places.
Take care and enjoy the year.
Bio/Chem Teacher (29th year)
I usually follow your blog and post things on your facebook, but just wanted to mention one thing here. If you ever doubt the effect you can have on others, even little comments, remember this. You once made a comment about using the wrong soap in saltwater. That comment led me to find out the difference between freshwater and saltwater soaps. That led me to wondering how difficult it would be making homemade soaps. That has now led me to trying to develop a skill in making scented saltwater soaps at home. Only problem I have now is testing them out since I live in the Ohio Vally about 600 miles from natural salt water. Taking suggestions for what would be the best scents to use onboard boats. And Teresa can suffer as the first test subject 🙂
Joy dishsoap is nice in salt water because its gentle on the environment and also lathers in salt water. If you can make a soap that smells like pepermint, I’ll try it!
Here, here, Douglas! I like the point about how a person’s words can have a further reaching impact than is imagined. I have told Teresa that this blog has inspired me (“just a girl”) to be a liveaboard, but far beyond that–to be less fearful. Over the past year & a half as I’ve followed T’s journey & had my own adventures, I’ve peeled away layers…to return to myself. This is the 9yr old kid I was–tearing around outdoors, barefoot everywhere!
My dad said teaching was like dropping a bit of water in a pond; you could watch the ripples spread out around you. That’ll be true of your time teaching again in a school, but it is also true on your continued blog posts, because you’ve got the teacher’s heart. Its the drive to inspire others & share knowledge. Keep it up because we’ll be here awaiting the next post! 🙂
PS. May I make the suggestion of (when you get situated) sharing pics of your newest tiny space within the boy’s dorms? Us “simplicity” loving readers will enjoy seeing what life on Daphne has taught you/how its transformed your efficiency of space on land. Also, people dreaming of transitioning to sea would enjoy learning how to minimalize now (both physically & mentally prepare) in preparation of living aboard & gauging whether the life is for them.
Will be a bit before I get the hang of getting things to come out right with the soaps. My latest batch I tried the hot method and ended up with something that would probably be good for removing bugs from bumpers. I see that you can use a soap base and scent it and color it yourself, but that would be cheating 🙂 When I get it right, my first batch will be peppermint and will also go for a jasmine. Till then, I think I will just use myself as a test subject 🙂 I saw on your facebook page about Jessica Watson. Looking forward to reading that post.
Douglas, you might call a local pet store that sells saltwater
fish. They may stock real ocean water that you could use for testing.
We’ve been reading your blog for over a year and you are doing something that is true to our hearts.
After reading about your adventures, it sparked more dreaming on our part. Several months ago we sold our home, our furniture, our toys, one vehicle and lots of other possessions we decided we no longer need. To say you inspired us would be an understatement. We are now happily homeless, gypsies with jobs, working our way to the water.
Thank you for the perspective you provided and vision for creating our future. We totally respect and support your pause; you will shape and create many other futures now in your teaching role. If you want to borrow some vicarious adventuring, please visit us at http://www.roamingtogether.com. Best wishes. -Colette & Jim
Douglas, search soaper forums for a poster by the handle soapsmith. I know her through a venue I sell on, and she’s really knowledgeable and experienced. I am pretty sure everything she makes is cold processed soaps. You can find one of her blogs here at http://www.soapsmith.artfire.com (click the blog tab). She’s been soaping for over 30 years, so if you’re having some trouble with the chemistry and process, you will find something helpful there, I’m sure.
It is now October, well into the teaching year. I am sure that you miss the open water, but now you have a paycheck in hand and validation for your gifts in teaching. It is about the balance, isn’t it? Even for those of your readers who have never navigated the ocean your blog is inspirational for all of us who live between the world we dream about the and one we find ourselves in. I am sure that his has become part of your curriculum at school as well. There is nothing wrong with sailing each summer when school is out. I am sure you will continue to be an inspiration to all who know you personally or through the web.