Can a person repeat a grand experience?
Absolutely… sort of…depends…it may be a bit different the second time around, but it can be just as good as the first time, perhaps even better.
Too often as people grow older, they remember with great nostalgia an event or a time in their life when their world could not have been more perfect. Well, it can be that way again if they dare. A few people do so.
About a year or so ago I was reading an article that asked me to close the page and answer this question: when was I the happiest? In an instant I recalled the joyous seven years my husband and I lived aboard our Cal 2-34 sailboat and traveled 25,000 miles. I even wrote an award-winning book about it: Life Was a Cabaret: A Tale of Two Fools, a Boat and a Big-A** Ocean. (Cabaret was the name of our boat.)
When I returned to the article, there was a another question: “Why aren’t you doing that now?” Instantly I knew that I had to return to the sea.
Our move, like most relocations, was very difficult and complex, but once I’d realized when I had been the very happiest in my entire life, I had to proceed. We had no reason not to. Our children were grown and had established their own lives; we were retired, and we had no real ties to the town we’d been living in for the past 15 years. My husband was 100 percent in favor of the whole scheme and had talked many times about “living aboard” again and traveling. (That helps a lot!) Maybe he had long ago planted the seed that burst into bloom when I read the article!
The day our house sold we left Arizona bound for the Pacific Northwest where we’d both grown up and had started off on our early adventures. After 3 months of searching we finally found a boat we could afford that had ample room for us to spend lengths of time on it and that was sea worthy enough to make long passages. Although tempted to buy a sailboat once again, we debated the pros and cons many times before we decided to buy a “stink pot” power boat. I’m glad we did! I feel like we live in the lap of luxury compared to the small quarters of the adorable vessel that had pleased us immensely when we were younger. Sailing is, to be honest, more of a young person’s “gift,” not so much people in their 70s.
Differences? Too many years have passed to name them all, but mainly we are older by 40+ years now than our sailing days. We’re living in a different type of boat altogether than previous. But I will say our excitement, plans, and adventures are every bit as good. We may not do ocean passages again, but we can do Alaska to South American with stops along the way with no problem.
We spent this summer upgrading the boat with new electronics, replacing the propane stove (which I loved) with a diesel cook stove that will help with keeping the boat warm. (We had another boat with a diesel cook stove and I actually liked it!) We made many changes and additions. We also did some trial runs and got in lots of island hiking.
Next summer we will at long last head north and explore the Broughton Islands and then circumnavigate Vancouver Island. We plan to return to Alaska the following year and possibly spend two years there where I hope to explore all the places we missed out on the first time. Then perhaps it will be a long haul to Ecuador, Peru, Chile and on to the Straits of Magellan and Patagonia. In these travels I hope to share what knowledge I’ve gained as a Certified Marine Naturalist with others and to invite people to join the JUST ONE THING Alliance.
Perhaps we’re more audacious than a lot of people because we’ve been boaters for many years and kept a small tugboat in the San Juan Islands that we spent summers on. What we’re doing obviously won’t work for many people, but everyone has a time in their life they can in some fashion “re-experience.”
We will absolutely miss our small family, but we definitely plan to return at regular intervals and wear out our welcome. Perhaps they will join us on occasion!
This adventure is a somewhat different than our first time out, but every bit as exciting. Am I afraid? No. I’m only afraid to die just sitting around waiting for the inevitable end while dreaming about the past.