Sunday, May 29, 2011

Living on the Edge

It's not uncommon, based on my unscientific poll, for women to feel 'on the edge' while cruising. It's not the adventure type of living on the edge, but rather the type that has you ridiculously happy and fulfilled one moment and then completely anxious or snappy or melancholy the next.  There's no reason to feel low, and I'm sure it's tough for many to feel my pain.  But it's still an interesting phenomenon from strictly a psychology perspective.

I do wonder why I am not on a constant 'happy ride'.  After all, I'm in paradise, with my family, traveling and experiencing incredible things.  As I've mentioned before, though, it's hard work.  Just going to the grocery store is a full day event.  And things break.  All the time.  And there's dirt everywhere.  All the time.  And it's been raining - no, pouring torrentially - for the last few days, and the wind is gusting to such an extent that it has overturned dinghies in our anchorage. And I'm just plain tired of it.  I have never felt like such an inadequate housekeeper as now. 

One theory is that, as cruisers, we stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zones every day.  At first, it's exhilarating, knowing you can get through it.  But after a while it's simply exhausting.  I'd love to get off for just a few days - take a shower with hot water and not worry about how much I'm using, and not have to press the shower pump button to get the water to go down the drain.  I'd like to live in a clean house without sunscreen fingerprints and oily salt. I'd like to be able to go for lunch with my girlfriends for something other than raw fish in coconut milk.  I'd like to be able to wake up in the middle of the night in a storm and not worry about whether our anchor is dragging or our hatches are closed or if there's a leak somewhere that will cause ugly mold to appear.  I'd like to be able to go to the grocery store and buy whatever I feel like eating, and for only a regular week's worth of produce - and not worry that it will have to last me for 4 weeks.  I want a kitchen that fits more than one person in it.  I want space.  I'd like to be able to send my kids to school and let the teachers worry about whether they are developing academically as they should be.  I want to feel dry and clean.  I want to have all my laundry done at one time.  I want to be able to relax.  I want some familiarity.  This newness is driving me, well, over the edge.

Still on 'Ua Pou, setting out this afternoon for Makemo Atoll, in the Tuamotu Archipelago


  1. Traveling full time is hard work. Rarely comfortable and familiar. I love to posts like this that show the realities of such a lifestyle. Thanks for posting it!

  2. Barb...
    When they say about cruising that "it's hard work", there is no way to fully comprehend what that means until you're right in the middle of it. And YOU are-right-in-the-middle-of-it.
    Wanna go to Guanajuato with me? ;)

  3. what did you expect?

  4. Oh Barb.......I hope today finds you in a better space. I can relate as you well know! Don't feel guilty for feeling the way you do, just allow the moods to rise and fall, like the ocean waves. Rolling in and rolling out!

    Sending you huge hugs and lots of love from my corner of this planet.
    Thinking of you all often.....

  5. Hey Barb. Hang in there! You're entitled to feel like lying in a hot bath, making a last minute dash to the fully stocked grocery store up the road, or simply just hanging out in the back yard. Living in cramped quarters on the high seas for this long will get to anyone eventually. Heck, if you put me on a catamaran with my husband and two teenage kids we might not all be in one piece at the end of the day yet alone months. I'm so impressed that you have come this far without going stir crazy-mad." You might want to track your "cycle" and see whether it has anything to do with your high mood on the high seas! all my luv, Sheryl.

  6. Don't know why my post never showed up on here a few days ago, but if I remember what I wrote, it went something like...

    "I've been waiting a year and a half for this post! I've been feeling it here for you all along."

    As for sunscreen fingerprints...I bought a new spray on sunscreen and the kids used it for the first time today (because it was the first day it didn't rain in like a month!). To say that our kitchen floor was like a skating rink, would be an understatement. So...I can relate to that tiny part of your post. As for the rest of it...come home anytime! We miss you! Enjoy the good parts, as I'm sure you are.
    Love you...

  7. Tomorrow will be a better day...