Sunday, March 29, 2009

Yin and Yang

We just returned to town from the Rock Islands. Again. Our fifth and final pilgrimage to such a beautiful gem of a place. After three weeks of responding to the boat's problems in crisis mode we finally switched the energy and went to find some peace. But even in the remote islands of Palau, we are still connected to our tribe of people. We choose this. We want this. We haven't chosen this journey to "escape" from the world, from society. We miss our friends and family and want to be part of their lives even if it means we most often can only type an email. It still helps and keeps the connection real.

We went to the rocks to take a break, to have some peace. But when our friends and family struggle, we try to do our best to support them, even from Palau. This last week we have been riding the wave. Sometimes deep inside that glassy orgasmic tube and other times heading face first over the falls looking at that shallow reef approaching. We have had some beautiful moments of connection with our underwater friends and time to appreciate where we are. This past week we got to dive and swim with a zebra shark, a gigantic eagle ray, hawksbill turtles, huge Napoleon Wrasse, heaps of gray reef sharks, and even got to see a school of spinner dolphins swim by underwater.

Other times are minds have been distant, putting energy into the ones we love back home, trying to support their process and sending them our love. Having the tools like a satellite phone and an email connection on the boat allows us this luxury. We feel so fortunate to have this opportunity to create this grand adventure we are on, but also that we have the modern day tools to stay in touch, especially when it really matters.

Over a couple of Red Rooster Ale's at Sam's bar last night, I was talking with our Norwegian friend, Lars, who is single-handing his boat, Luna. He and I connect well and often have deeper talks then the usual, "how is your latest boat project?" and "when are you leaving for the Philippines or Indonesia?" etc...cruiser talk. Lars is an anthropologist and he is also a searcher. Searching for simplicity, searching for substance and understanding. We got talking about writing and putting out in the world our thoughts and feelings, about the act of making this happen even when it's not part of your "job". I told him about what Nic and I do with our website and how it all started as a way to tell our stories and show images to our close family and friends. We wanted to stay connected and felt almost an obligation to keep them updated on our lives. Lars, on the other hand, doesn't have email connection on board his small yacht and doesn't write at all. His journey, he says, is for him, and he doesn't feel like he needs to be in the limelight at all, he wants to be "on his own" and not feel like he wants any pressure put on him about writing.

Talking with Lars I felt like I was peering at a reflection of myself 10 years ago when I lived out of a truck and backpack and traveled around the western United States working as an instructor for various Outdoor Education schools, most of the time for Outward Bound. This was before most people had cell phones and personal laptops. Before email took off. I had chosen for about 7 years of my life a very nomadic, non-conformist lifestyle where most of my time was spent working with students in the wilderness of America. When I had time off from working courses I would still choose to be out rock climbing in Yosemite or J.Tree, skiing powder in Colorado or the Sierra's, or backpacking through the ancient Anasazi ruins of the deserts of Utah. I lived simply and frugally, with no savings account and usually only a few hundred bucks to my name stashed under my truck seat. I didn't want to stay very connected and I didn't want to write very much, let alone take photos. It was a simple life I chose and I desired to connect to nature and my own inner-self on my own terms. I was a searcher and much of who I am today is because of those formative and powerful times in my life.

My point of this story is two-fold. First of all, us "cruisers" out here in the oceans are a very mixed lot and we each have a different story to tell and varied reasons for choosing this life. Some of us are truly "escapists" and only desire to be left alone and be detached from the average societal worries and pressures. Other cruisers want every piece of technology available on their boat and want to be plugged in to every current event happening in the world. We are a small little tribe in the sailing community, but even in this little niche we are vastly different.

Second of all, Nicole and I choose to keep up on this blog and website because we feel it is important for our people to hear our stories and glimpse our world. Since it's conception 2 1/2 years ago, our little website has really grown and I now get emails from people reading our site from around the world. We are humbled by that, but also flattered. Having to feel a bit of an obligation to write and spend the time processing and posting images isn't a bad thing. In fact, for someone who needs to have "structure" to keep it happening, like me, it is a good thing. If no one cared, if no one was reading this, would I really keep it up? I don't know. But I do know that we are glad we can, that we have the means to email, take good images and process them onboard. We are grateful for the means to stay connected to the ones we love and to keep them hip on our little world out here in the blue, as well as to support each other when we struggle.

This last month has been a mix of soft and hard. Peace and turmoil. Ease and struggle. Yin and Yang. Nic and I are back in the town anchorage looking at our last 9-10 days before we leave Palau and go on passage to Indonesia. Our boat projects are finally getting checked off, our computer's and alternator are finally working again, our passports just arrived back from the U.S. where we got our Indonesia Visa's processed, and our boat is slowly getting filled back up with new food and supplies for the next year's adventures. We are grateful we can share our story with all of you.

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