We recently met up with friends that also live on their boat, the last time we had seen them was way back in Virginia before we left for the Caribbean, a life time ago. They asked us a pretty interesting question, "What has been the biggest obstacle to overcome and what is the biggest reward in pursuing this life on board a boat?" I have been thinking about that question ever since. We had a quick answer, the repairs have been a challenge, the sense of accomplishment when we overcome a difficult time the best reward, but is that it? So many more things have come to mind as I continue to ponder that question, almost a year's worth of experience to look back on, the answer is not so quick and easy.
Now I must be honest, the repairs have been frustrating, we lose control of our time and are at the mercy of parts and scheduled labor before we can get on our way. But that has taught us patience, and given us time to slow down and appreciate where we are. For me the biggest thing to overcome is missing friends and family back home, that never goes away no matter where we go or how much time has elapsed. It's so difficult not to be there when good friends are coping with losing a parent or to share the good news of kids getting engaged, grand kids being born and milestone birthdays celebrated. But even that hardship makes me feel fortunate, fortunate for having such wonderful people in our lives' that we continue to miss everyday. And we miss the new friends we meet along the way that we are always saying good bye to way too soon, they continue to add to our lives even in their absence. I think about how wonderful it would be to have a party to get all these people that mean so much to us together.
And the biggest reward? It is an awesome feeling to put yourself to the test and actually pass, a long passage, difficult days on stormy seas, sleepless nights, conquering fears. It's so empowering to realize just how much you can do if you put your mind to it and stop listening to that little voice in your head with all the doubts. But the truly rewarding part is again the people, connecting with new people in new places, the times that they touch your life and you feel that maybe you have also touched theirs in a small way, that is such a great feeling. It has become more of a challenge to make that connection now that we're in the Med and dealing with so many different languages. So far we've needed to learn Portuguese (failed miserably), Spanish (only slightly better) and now Italian (high hopes). I love to hear people's stories and I always have so many questions to ask, but not knowing the language leaves so many thoughts just rattling around my head. It's strange how enviable you get when you listen to friends talking and parents interacting with their kids. We miss that connection and are working hard to learn enough of the language to narrow that communication gap. That is really the reason for traveling, to make the world smaller by connecting with people and realizing that we have so many more similarities than differences. Girls all over the world like to pose for pictures, guys everywhere like to fix things, and all kids seem to love soccer. World peace, simple.