Before I get to the big reveal of this post, let me just start out by saying one thing.
We were all in.
We were so all in with our boat LaMo and with the cruising lifestyle in general that we poured everything we had into it. Literal blood, sweat, and tears, both his and hers. A hefty chunk of our bank account for a whole lot of fancy schmancy electrical equipment and a CNG-to-Propane conversion with a brand new beautiful oven. We invested in all of the offshore cruising safety “must haves” like personal floatation devices and personal locator beacons and a satellite phone. And we provisioned and planned and then planned some more.
We were going to sail our way to Grenada. YES.
But then lightning fried most of those fancy schmancy electronics in the Bahamas, and Hurricanes Irma and Maria stomped their way through our planned cruising grounds, and we started to question ourselves. Were we ready and willing to tackle this uphill battle of either repairing LaMo’s singed electrical system or starting from scratch outfitting a new boat? Was this really what we wanted to be doing our lives? Was it what we should be doing?
And at one point, I can’t remember the exact moment, we decided no. We couldn’t do it again, our hearts and pocketbooks couldn’t handle it. We’d move forward with a different plan for travel, which we decided would be done over land. We put a deposit down on a truly stunning RV and we signed all the paperwork for a truck to pull it. (Me, a truck owner, WHAT?)
But on the way to pick up said truck, a sinking feeling came over. And this moment, I do remember clearly. We were at a stoplight in rush hour traffic, a block away from the truck dealership and it felt like a black smoke monster was inside of me. I felt it creep into my gut and start swirling around when Barrett turned to me and said, “I feel like I’m going to throw up.”
“ME TOO,” I said back in surprise, and we pulled into a gas station and just parked ourselves for a while to unpack it all.
Why, when this truck was going to be the entrée to a new life on the road, why’d we feel so blah about it? How come instead of feeling all elated and buzzy with joy inside, we instead felt like we’d just sucked down a dozen bad oysters? The only thing I could think of came from something a former therapist taught me: The physical stuffs that happen in our bodies, in our guts, are usually just the result of what the heart and brain already know. We needed to both really tune into the particular body feeling to sort it all out, lean into it I guess you could say. Sounds all woo, I know, but that practice of tuning into what the body is actually feeling physically changed my life.
And in that instant in the gas station parking lot, both of us sitting in silence and wonder and bodies, I think it changed my life again.
Because I realized that the achy nauseous stomach pit feeling I was experiencing wasn’t the same as the stomach feeling I get when I’m just nervous or anxious-excited. It was more like the feeling I get when something just isn’t right. Like when you’ve just found out that a loved one is sick or that you’ve been betrayed by a friend. But unlike most situations in the past when I’ve felt like that, at that moment in the gas station parking lot, we were in a unique position. Because we had control over what happened next.
You can imagine how this went down, of course. We became the totally flighty-flakey-buyer-jerks that I’m sure salespeople hate and we called the dealership and informed the salesperson we weren’t coming in to pick up the truck, not now and probably not ever. He was not so happy. And then we called the Living Vehicle (RV) folks, who were kind and understanding and gracious and will forever have my respect (and you should totally check them out if you’re into cutting edge off-grid RV-design things). And then we went out for some seriously-oversized celebratory margaritas and laughed and smiled until the insides of our cheeks ached and we knew.
This was the right decision.
The weeks that followed were spent stalking Yachtworld and waiting for the right boat to present itself online. We set our parameters for boats that spanned from Texas all the way up to Maine. We came close a few times, finding what looked like just the right boat only to call the listing broker and have them say, “Oh man, bad timing for you. That boat just went into contract last night!” I shit you not, that happened THREE. SEPARATE. TIMES. “Ah well, not meant to be,” I’d say back to the broker, mustering every ounce of the courteous composure I had before hanging up and face planting into the salon table.
Then, the kind of thing that never happens to anyone who’s boat shopping happened. We were forwarded an email from two strangers named Greg and Jennifer who had heard from a mutual friend that there was a nice couple on the East Coast whose boat had been struck by lightning and they were looking for a new boat, ideally, a cruise-ready catamaran. (Ahem, that nice couple would be us.) And, as it turned out, Greg and Jennifer happened to have a cruise-ready catamaran and it happened to be of the exact make, model, vintage, and layout we were looking for. And, as if it couldn’t get any more serendipitous, they were presently cruising the US east coast and were just miles away from where we were docked. Is this for real?
But – and there is always a but – their boat wasn’t officially for sale…not exactly.
We talked on the phone for an hour, became fast friends, and even shared dinner together the first night we met (thanks, G&J!). They told us more about where they were with selling their boat and why it wasn’t technically for sale—They had only just recently started to consider the possibility of ending their time as cruisers and they saw our mutual friend’s email blast to a Catamaran Owners’ Group about us as a potential opening. A nudge that maybe it was time for them to move back to land and for us to move back to a life at sea and that if we liked the boat and if they, to quote my new friend Greg, felt like we weren’t jerks, well, then it was a sign for all of us that they were meant to move forward with selling. God, the universe, some higher power had put this door in front of us, all of us, all we had to do was walk through. (Someone please hand me a tissue because at this point, I’ve known them for only a few hours and I’m already tearing up on the bow of their boat.)
The next couple of weeks flew by with your standard negotiations and surveys and the sea trial and we felt nothing but blessed in that period of time. Not only because we’d found such a beautiful boat but because we were purchasing it from two people who were easy to work with, fun to hang out with, fair, honest, and transparent about the boat’s beyond-surface-level shortcomings and repair items. (All boats have them.) They even surprised us with a fresh coat of wax and a stainless polish on closing day! That, friends, is how you send your beloved boat off with a bout of good energy and if/when the time comes for us to sell her, we’ll take a note from them and pass that good energy onward.
Well, yesterday we officially took possession of New Still-To-Be-Named Boat. We signed the papers and moved her to a dock and spent our first night laughing and smiling like idiots as the full moon rose just over our starboard bow. In those minutes, hours, that we spent up there, my gut was filled with warmth (and champagne), calmness, joy, cloud ninedness. Like how it feels when everything in the world just feels right.
And despite our newly inherited list of New Boat projects and repairs, it is.
It’s all just right.
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