A new beginning — posted by Erin

Over the weekend I suffered from a bout of the stomach flu. I’ll spare you the graphic details, but as I was sitting on the cold bathroom floor, awaiting the next onset, I started to think about the cycles in life. How what we put into our bodies will eventually come out—one way or another. How when we lose something—intentionally or not—we gain an opportunity to bring something else into our lives. And how every day people come into and out of our lives and new opportunities present themselves.

Brian and I are at the beginning of a new cycle in our lives… We gave up our “old life” for a new one because we decided that the house in the suburbs, the corporate job, and the 9-to-5 grind weren’t serving us anymore. We were growing tired and grumpy about giving the best hours of the day to jobs that didn’t make us happy and to a life that didn’t seem to fit us. There was something nagging at us, and we yearned for something else (but we had no idea what that “something else” looked like). Just as our bodies fight an infection without us being conscious of the process, our minds began to fight against our preconceived ideas about success, possessions, career, and wealth.

Our unhappiness was insidious, and year after year our environment felt more like a prison than a sanctuary. We agonized about what we wanted and about where we felt we belonged. Like a plant in a pot that’s all wrong for it, without a transplant to a new environment it’ll wither and die. Brian and I weren’t going to die if we remained where we were, but we weren’t going to grow and blossom either.

After more than five years of feeling stuck, we decided to move aboard a boat, give away 90 percent of our possessions, quit our jobs, and prepare ourselves, and our boat, to sail down the Pacific Coast. I don’t want to distill this decision—it was a big one and not one that we came to lightly. I’m sure living on a boat symbolized freedom and possibility for us, and that’s what drew us to it. But even after we decided a life aboard was for us, we continued to hem and haw and agonize and fight over the idea. Beginning a new life on a boat seemed frightening and impossible at times, while at other times, it seemed like the only choice that made sense.

We spent two years looking for our boat, the “right” boat, which we defined as one we felt comfortable enough to call home and could safely sail across an ocean, if that’s where our travels lead us. We went to every boat show in Seattle and Annapolis, looked at more than 60 boats in person, and spent hours on Yacht World every day. Finally, last February, we found her. It’s hard to believe it was less than a year ago that Brian and I first stepped onto our new home, which was then just a boat on the market in Bellingham. But when we saw her, we knew. As if Delos was calling us home, we responded with a deep sigh of familiarity and comfort when we stepped aboard. We’d come home… Like we’d known her our whole lives, and were finally reunited.

Within two months, we’d signed the papers, sailed the boat down to Seattle, and moved aboard. We purged our home and ourselves of the physical and mental clutter that we’d accumulated for years and brought aboard only the items we thought were absolutely necessary to live comfortably on Delos; including our cat, Mishka, who adapted to living on the boat more quickly than we’d ever imagined she would.

These days, I love coming home. Driving into the marina parking lot after a long day is like standing in front of an open freezer on a hot afternoon. I feel refreshed, no matter what today or tomorrow holds for me. The still, reflective water in the marina, the cool breeze blowing off the water, and the beauty of the boats all serve as a reset button for my mind… Unhealthy and unproductive thoughts about the day are wiped away in an instant. And when I open the door and enter inside Delos, I’m enveloped by a warm, African mahogany interior that resonates with a life-energy that seems to say, “I’ll take care of you; I’m sturdy, predictable, and solid.”

We have less than seven months before we hoist our sails and venture down the coast of Washington, Oregon, California, and then onto Mexico for the winter. Where Delos can take us is limitless—she was built to travel the seven seas and she’s ready to explore the world. Our minds and bodies are our only limitations: it’s time to see where our imaginations, fortitude, and desires will lead us.