30 Days Ago…

…we departed Oxnard, California for our 4200 NM (nautical miles) sailing voyage to the US Virgin Islands and I started what is known as the craziest adventure of my life thus far. Of those 30 days, only 10.5 days were spent actually sailing and the remaining days we were either docked or anchored somewhere. During the 30 days, we have made stops at Oceanside, San Diego, Ensenada, Bahía Tortuga (Turtle Bay), Bahía Santa Maria and Cabo San Lucas. We have celebrated Christmas in an abandoned boatyard in Ensenada and almost forgotten about New Year’s Eve altogether since we were sailing for 3 days to Turtle Bay. In the 10.5 days (just over 250hours) we have sailed, about 921 NM (or 1060 miles) were traveled. During this entire time, I can proudly report that (besides days of amazingly bad hair and a couple of bruises here and there) I am still alive and surviving my adventure quite well, considering that I have zero experience in sailing and was never gone on a sailboat longer than 1.5 days.

So why do I do it? There are a couple of reasons why. The first one is the fact that I had two options: option A is to move to the US Virgin Islands by plane, find an apartment and find a job there and work while waiting for Jerrad to sail for 4 months. Option B is to go sail with him and have fun for 4 months while we are still young and blessed with an opportunity to do so. I did choose option A, but realized that working and waiting for him to finish a 4 month adventure vacation sounded terrible, apparently terrible enough that I chose the other option. The option that I once thought was an out-of-this-world-crazy-and-there-is-no-way-I-would-do- it option, yet here I am doing it. While it has not been easy, and some days I was quite scared and almost regretted my decision, I can honestly say it has been kind of  fun and definitely worth it. I said kind of because sailing down the Baja peninsula so far has been cold and windy; I am ready for the upcoming smooth sailing, warm waters and sunshine of the tropics.

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The other reason has to do with personal challenge. Obviously for someone who is not an experienced sailor or even remotely familiar with the sailing world, a four-month sailing trip is a daunting personal challenge. It is also a challenge because our living situation is now considerably smaller and less comfortable that what we were used to. It is a challenge because we are stuck together in a cramped space with pretty much no privacy or personal space everyday for the next few months. I’d consider this a near-solid attempt to test one’s marriage… besides having children, of course. It’s a challenge because we have to take turns sleeping at night and those night watches can be pretty darn cold (and scary for me). It’s a challenge because we do not have 24/7 access to the internet anymore, and we can no longer watch our favorite shows on Hulu or Netflix, and we cannot satisfy our craving for our favorite burger or Thai food or a coffee drink with a simple few minutes’ drive. Life suddenly has become less convenient.

Nevertheless, while a little less convenient, life has become much more fun and interesting now. Never once before I could afford hours spent enjoying a good book. I can take as many naps as I want. I saw the most amazing meteor shower on my first night sailing. The night sky is now illuminated with millions of stars that used to be faded under the glowing city lights. I can see the bioluminescence at night created by living organisms in the ocean: magical, white, glowing sparkles appearing where there is disturbance on the water. I have eaten delicious fish tacos at Ensenada and will eat much more delicious, authentic food to come. I will visit so many new places in the upcoming months and learn about new cultures and people. And by the end of this trip, I will have a memory to last me a lifetime, an adventure I will never forget, a world beyond the horizon I have traveled to and a sense of accomplishment: I took on a challenge, stepped out of my comfort zone and I did it.

“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”
-Hunter S. Thompson

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