I never cease to be amazed and touched by the feedback about my blog that I receive from total strangers, or, as one reader put it, "friends I haven't met yet." I've had public, anonymous, and for-my-eyes-only comments left on the blog, as well as emails and private messages via forums. Some are long-time liveaboards or experienced boaters, others are new to the adventure or planning the move. It's incredibly touching to receive these wonderful comments and messages encouraging me, complimenting my writing, thanking me for sharing my journey, wishing me well in finding love, or reminding me that the floppy-haired sailor guy didn't deserve me.
I didn't set out with any particular purpose or focus in starting this blog. I just began documenting the process of boat-shopping and then moving aboard and it took on a life of its own. It became a diary, a place where I rant, and cry, and laugh. My blog provides a smattering of photos and occasionally before-and-after documentation of repairs, but little in the way of "how to" advice. I call it the soap opera of my life aboard. I sometimes think "Why would anyone want to read about my frustrations, heartbreaks, and little victories?" Even if no one does, it's my outlet and doesn't really need to be anything more than that. So I have been moved by the many messages I receive thanking me for sharing my personal emotional journey, for being honest and heartfelt. Not everyone is comfortable "spilling their insides all over the Internet," as one friend put it, but apparently I am.
I've already gone on quite a personal journey without hardly leaving the slip. In online forums I see folks who've circumnavigated and don't have a clue about life, and love, and friendship. As with everything in life, what you bring to the adventure and what you make it determine what you get out of it. As a runner, it makes me think of marathons and ultras. A marathon is a 26 mile tunnel of deep, dark self-doubt, and then .2 miles of glorious, shining personal victory. The success would not be so sweet if it weren't for the pain and the process of reaching deep inside oneself to learn whether you have the mental and emotional fortitude to come out the other side. Aside from obvious physical barriers, anyone can train their legs to run, anyone can learn to sail. But you can get so much more out of those experiences if you let yourself be vulnerable. Take the challenges, failures, and successes as opportunities to learn about your fears, weaknesses, and strengths. If you then embrace and harness them--that is when you find your center, your true north, your inner strength to bring yourself through the roughest seas of life.
My blog may not prepare anyone for winter aboard, or dealing with a full holding tank, or learning to sail. But perhaps it lets a few folks out there know they are not alone in their frustrations or their dreams.
A very heartfelt thank you to all of my readers, whether sailors or landlubbers, friends new and old, or friends I just haven't met yet.