Saturday, May 20, 2017

You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave...

Written by: Kerry

Nanaimo, home of the Nanaimo Bar.

This beautiful port city on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island has been a major goal/planned stopover, ever since we started thinking about our trip north.

The Original Plan:  Work our way up through the San Juan Islands and the Gulf Islands in 2-3 weeks, time our passing through Dodd Narrows at slack water and come up to Nanaimo to provision, get a few things done, enjoy the last city we're going to see in awhile and rest up before crossing the Strait of Georgia to the Sunshine Coast and up to Desolation Sound.  This plan involved anchoring out by Newcastle Island (free) and taking the dinghy back and forth to shore as needed, staying for 2-4 or more days to prep for the crossing.

Plan B:  Two nights before our arrival in Nanaimo, I suggested we may want to stay on the dock for one night when we arrived to make it easier to get laundry and provisioning done, then move to a nearby anchorage.  Donn agreed.  We called ahead one day before to reserve a spot for Wednesday night, May 17th.

H Dock at Port of Nanaimo

Plan C:  Two hours after arriving:

    Donn - "What if we stayed at the dock until Saturday?  We could get a few projects done, enjoy the showers, and take our time."

     Kerry - "That sounds nice - we could also maybe find a movie theater and hit a matinee tomorrow and see the city a bit"

Plan D:  Ninety minutes after we awoke on Saturday:

     Donn - (mostly joking) "Shall we stay one more night?"

     Kerry - (starts crying) "Don't even joke if you aren't seriously offering that up..."

     Donn - "We can stay one more night if you want to.  Go up and talk to the office."

     Kerry - "OK.  Thank you!"  (Goes to office and pays for one more night)

Now you're probably wondering why the heck I was crying on a beautiful Saturday morning the day we were scheduled to leave.  Let me back up a bit.

Five and half years ago when we hatched this crazy big idea, I did what I do best, I organized a plan, stayed focused on executing said plan, and dreamt about the future sailing the world on our little boat.  As the time went by I did my best to keep my expectations as realistic as possible and to not romanticize our future adventures.  I would continually remind myself (and others) that I was consciously choosing this to challenge myself, to invite growth, to open myself to new paths and adventures in ways I could not even imagine yet.  I have never been a huge risk taker or daredevil.  I tend to play by the rules and not place myself in unnecessary danger.  The boat is well thought out and outfitted for safety as a result.

So yes, I knew I would face internal challenges - that has not surprised me at all.  But the truth of the matter is that no matter how "prepared" I was, I have been a little blindsided by the emotional roller coaster I have experienced in only the first three weeks.  Yes, I am out of my comfort zone - again - not unexpected, but still not easy.  Thank god for the moments of true beauty and rest we have been gifted along the way at Jones and Sucia Islands, and in Herring Bay, our last stop before arriving in Nanaimo.  I have made my share of mistakes.  I have experienced loneliness.  I have experienced fear and stress, in relatively safe situations by most sailors' standards.  But here's the thing, this is my journey, and I am not most sailors.  All the planning in the world cannot replace true experience and the trust and knowledge that comes along with that.  The highs of the roller coaster are filled with beauty, a feeling of competence, and connection with my partner and captain, Donn.  The lows are filled with self doubt, fear, and feeling completely out of my comfort zone.

Back to today, in Nanaimo.  Being at the dock here is so much like being at home at our dock back on Lake Union.  It's comfortable and safe.  And I hate to say it, but it's hard to push off and leave.  Ahead of us we have a fairly large crossing of a large body of water - nothing we haven't done before (we've crossed the Strait of Juan de Fuca three times), but still a bit formidable.  Then from there it's a lot of unknowns as we head into the wilderness of the Inside Passage...  there will be beauty and there will be miserable moments.  That's about all I can guarantee.  I am still extremely committed to this journey.  I am willing to walk through this personal fire, always have been.  But the reality of sitting in the middle of this uncomfortable space and feeling all the things?  It's tough.

I am grateful for Donn.  I am grateful for this incredible opportunity to find out what I'm made of and to learn and grow and feel.  One day at a time.

Sunset at Herring Bay

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