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The Journey, or the Destination?

This sailing thing is getting really real! We have two overnight sails under our belts now: an easier one last week and then 78 nautical miles last night, our biggest sail to date.

Actually, thanks to mild winds are relatively small waves the sail wasn’t such a big deal. Just a long night at the helm with the moonlight and the AIS screen. Fortunately the kids sleep fine despite the rocking, rolling, waves, and wind.

The big milestone lately--at least in my mind--was coming to terms with our schedule, weather forecasts, and timeline. Sailors know that it’s a bad idea to try to reach certain destinations on certain dates, because that forces you to sail into conditions that you shouldn’t sail through. But in this case, we have plans to meet a friend in St. Martin the second week of February, so we have places to be (Tom, we are still coming!) So we skipped St. Kitts and Nevis in favor of getting some mileage under our keels while the moon was full.

This decision making, stirred together with a long overnight passage, has gotten me thinking about the old conundrum: is the joy in the destination, or the journey? Sure, sure, I know that as a cruising family the correct answer is of course “The Journey!!” And yet, the destinations DO matter, right? Sometimes you have to meet friends that want to visit at a place that has an airport. Frequently you choose a different anchorage than you wanted because that’s where the kid boats are. And pretty much you have to stop off at Pigeon Island because the snorkeling really is that great.

The journey/destination discussion comes up also when we tell people our plan: Sail For a Year From Grenada to Florida. We face questioning looks when we talk about this: “But wait, shouldn’t you take 2 years to do that?” “What do you mean...sailing isn’t your forever plan, why not?” “What are you rushing back for, isn’t boat life the journey and destination all rolled into one?”

Maybe we are rushing a bit to fit so many destinations into just one year. Maybe this new night sailing routine will be a more frequent part of our plan so that we can cover so much geography. We certainly will miss our friends from Grenada that are going slower or turning back south already. We are jealous of their casual pacing and very flexible schedules.

So what do we hope to get out of this adventure? The thrilling Journey? The amazing Destinations? Quite possibly, it’s the knowledge that when we put our minds to something, we really can do it. Or, the realization that for all the people who talk about this kind of trip, we’re in the narrow majority that actually take it. And importantly, we now have more confidence in making a plan and finding ways to execute on it.

So will we be sailing for only one year? Probably. Are we rushing a bit through the journey and destinations? Likely. Are we already planning life’s next great adventure? You bet!