Monday, June 30, 2008

The transition period

There are always reasons for not doing something. Probably more than there are for doing the same thing. When I spoke to my father about our plans to go sailing, and to leave Australia for an extended length of time, I told him I was worried about leaving Mum, who is not a well person, and about leaving my first grandchild, who had not yet been born.

"You'll always be able to find a reason not to go," he said. "If it's not Mum or the baby, it would be something else. There's always a reason not to do something. There'll never be 'The Right Time". You just have to go!"

So here we are, 26 days out from cast off. The pressure is mounting: from all the jobs still to be done, the decisions still to be made, the paperwork yet to be rationalised and sorted, and the excess STUFF to be added to the storage warehouse when all the former are completed.

Shoe-horning a house into a boat is no mean feat. It's not dissimilar from rushing out of a burning house with only moments to grab something. What do I really need? What do I really want? At least with this process there is a little more time, but in some ways it might be better if there weren't. Too much time to consider what I want to take with me means I end up with a much bigger stack! Reality sets in when I carry it on board and find there REALLY is nowhere for it to be stowed. So life gets pared down and minimalised. One of the advantages of life on board a boat is the realisation of little you actually do need.

We've been living on board Malaika now since April 18. The remarkable thing is that none of us has expressed any regrets whatsoever for the move. Given that our former house is a scant 50 metres away and still in sight, there's been ample scope for second thoughts, sighs of longing over large kitchens, wide benches, toilets mere steps away instead of a 200 metre trot, and sheer space. In fact, we haven't even mentioned our old place. Perhaps this means we've made the right decision. It could just mean that we're a bit weird, or totally numbed by the shift in circumstance!

I'm amazed to find that I don't resent climbing up from cabin to cockpit umpteen times a day, or having to move five things to get to one in a cupboard. I'd be pleased if the fridge was a little easier to get into, but it's not a big deal. We don't miss TV. We thought this would be the sticking point for Ali, but she hasn't mentioned it once. Well, she was a little wistful when someone left a small tv and remote in the ladies bathroom for anyone to take, and we said no, we didn't want it. We listen to the radio when we remember to turn it on in time for the news, and we read the papers, but otherwise we are slowly slipping out of constant mainstream media saturation. Good preparation for the travels to come.

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