When we were back in Boston for a visit earlier this month, my son asked to see exactly where we had been. Thrilled by his interest, we pushed the wine glasses aside, and he put his iPad on his dining room table. He carefully looked at our route thus far, zooming in and out. New England to Hampton, Virginia, then from Hampton, Virginia across the Caribbean Sea to Antigua.
“Wow, that’s a big trek, Mom.”
And indeed, it was. And not so easy. And not particularly fun.
I continued, “We stayed around Antigua a while, got the boat repaired, saw many of the smaller harbors around the island, then went all the way around Guadaloupe and to some of the smaller islands. Then we went back to Antigua because your sister and Elliot came to visit, and when they left, we went back to Guadaloupe, and spent a week at Les Saintes. From there, (amazingly, I still had his attention—do I still have yours?) we went on to Dominica…and now we’re in Martinique!”
While I caught my breath from actually saying the legs of our amazing adventure out loud, my son studied the map again.
“So that’s it? You arrived in Antigua before Thanksgiving and now it’s February, and you’ve only made it to Martinique? It doesn’t seem like you’re making a lot of progress.” Mike and I just laughed.
Kids can be so judgy.
Our cruiser friends see it completely differently. When we mentioned that we might leave St. Anne a few days after we arrived back in Martinique, they were shocked. “Why are you going so fast?” “Just what are you looking to find?” “Stay in St. Anne awhile and enjoy the cruisers’ lifestyle.”
The truth was, we were planning on leaving shortly after we got back from our visit home because we had shpilkes about leaving Martinique, or as other people might like to say, we had ants in our pants. Our anchor windlass motor was fixed, the new auto pilot was in and running, and we could now be on the move…so shouldn’t we?
On a micro level, Mike and I differ in our need for speed. He has a need for speed-snowboarding down the slopes, or on his motorcycle, or sailing upwind. I am more cautious. I like to go at what I consider a comfortable medium speed, and on the motorcycle, I don’t like to go at all.
But on a macro level, we are in sync. It doesn’t take either of us much time to get out of the house (when we had one) or off the boat. We generally have the same “we got to get out of here” feeling, we do museums at exactly the same pace, and we generally don’t like staying in one place for too long.
But together we decided to take the cruisers’ advice and slow down. What were we in a hurry for? Did we need to get to St. Lucia…really? We decided to stay in St. Anne for a few weeks and try to adopt the real cruisers lifestyle. Besides, it was blowing 30 knots consistently, and the seas were big and mean, and we had lots of friends in St. Anne who were planning lots of activities.
So we stayed. And it was wonderful to slow down a bit. Every Friday afternoon, we attended a Braai, which is a South African barbecue on the beach. We went to noodling three days a week, a water aerboics class taught by a physical therapy professor who wrote the book on noodling to stay fit while cruising. We went to the beach for drinks with friends, we went on long walks, and had sundowners with new friends.
The days at St. Anne were long and wonderful, full of friends, and good food and French baguettes. Occasionally, there was even a nap. We got work done on the boat, a little cleaning here and there, a lot of scraping of barnacles off the bottom.
My daughter called one night last week, and we talked about her day. After a full days work, she was headed to a 7PM Soul Cycle class. When she got done telling me about her day, she still had not arrived at cycling, and there was more time to fill. “So what was your day like, mom?” she asked (I trained her well, obviously.)
“Well, we both went noodling this morning (I swear I could hear a snicker over the Brooklyn street noise), then dad and I did some food shopping at the outdoor market because we were looking for dill so I could make my own pickles, but they didn’t have any. In the afternoon, we went for a swim, then had drinks with friends. Now it’s almost bed time!” After all, we were an hour later, and It was almost 8PM.
“Oh my God, mom, I know people in retirement homes who are way more productive than that!”
As I said, kids can be so judgy.
But the fact is, we usually do move too fast. We are in such a hurry to get to the next place that we sometimes are not fully in the place where we have landed. We are finally learning to smell the roses. It’s taken a lifetime, and we are still just novices. Some day, I hope the kids will learn to do the same.