Thursday, February 10, 2011


As soon as my daughter learned to stand on two feet, she spent much of her time hanging onto my leg as I moved through the house.  I became accustomed to walking gently in order to avoid crushing little toes.  A shuffling gait started to feel natural.  I mastered the skill of prying open little fingers in a playful way, gently releasing her grip without hurting feelings.  I became an excellent untangler.

The other day my kids (now 10 and 8 years old) were playing Twister.  "Right Foot Red" "Left Hand Yellow" "Right Foot Yellow" "Left Hand Blue"  Laughing, bickering, crashing, starting over.

Watching them get all tangled up, then untangled, then tangled again, I realized that my recent efforts to untangle myself from the everyday clutter of my life are sort of like a game of Twister.  I become accustomed to one position, then the wheel spins ("Right Foot Blue") and I shift.  Once there, sometimes I become untangled and breathe a sigh of relief.  Other times, I move with the universe's next spin ("Left Hand Red") and off I go, toppling, off-kilter, so tangled I fall over.  Get up, brush off, and start again.

In about 500 days, I will depart Seldovia, Alaska on a sailboat for the adventure of a lifetime, a passage around the world with my family.  Between now and then, I will be untangling from the day to day life we have built.  Untangling from my clothes and my stuff, from bank accounts and credit cards, from friends and my house and my gear.  Participating in a gigantic Game of Twister.  Bring it on!  Spin the wheel!

As far as untangling my daughter from my legs, things have shifted a bit.  At eight years old, my little monkey girl still hangs on to me - long wiry legs wrap solidly around my middle, head snuggles into my neck, arms wrap around my shoulders with a lion's strength.  Now I hold on.  I don't want to untangle her anymore, I hold her tight, the lioness mama wrapped around her cub.

There is one more thing that I must mention in this rambling about being tangled up - YOGA.  It is helping me see that I can be all tangled up (try Eagle Pose) and still stand strong and tall, connected.  Ah....Namaste.....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

507 Days

Until departure......which item on the mile-long to do list to tackle first????

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Un-Plan

"Where are you going?"  This is the first thing people ask me when I tell them of our plan to turn our backs on work, school, our home, friends and family - to truly walk away from the American Dream in which we have somehow found ourselves enmeshed - and sail.

My answer: "South." And the only reason I have an answer at all is because departing from Alaska leaves little room to travel North (yes, admittedly, warm weather is also part of the allure).

The next question is this, "For how long will you be gone?" My answer: "We don't know, we don't have a plan.  As long as we want to or until the money runs out."

Once we depart, our plan is to be un-planned. Just as one does not awaken each morning with a plan to breathe, we will not plan to be any particular place at any particular time.  So far, this is what our "Un-Plan" looks like:

  • Go.  For as along as we can.
  • Arrive.  Wherever we are.
  • Explore.  The world's natural beauty and cultures.

Although we are stubbornly un-planned in our approach to this journey, we do have goals:

  • To find Freedom. ....from schedules, expectations, material goods, societal pressures
  • To Learn and Grow every day.

We are going for the journey. We will travel when it is safe to do so.  We will stay in one particular location as long as the spirit moves us. We might return to Alaska some day or we might wiggle our toes into a sandy beach and plant roots somewhere else. We might never live on land again.

Meanwhile, the countdown has begun. So far, we have accomplished two things:

  1. Bruce gave his two-year notice at work last May
  2. We bought and delivered our cruising sailboat, "Northern Passage"

Two big steps, for sure. But will either of these things actually get us onto the water? Absolutely not. Many of the sail cruising books, in fact, warn against purchasing the boat too early for fear that then you end up stuck with a big boat and no plan to get out on it. We couldn't help it, the boat came to us and we needed it. Right then and there. It just felt right.

Meanwhile, there are HUNDREDS of things to do between now and July 2012, our planned departure date. Only now am I realizing that to actually get on the water and begin our un-planned existence will REQUIRE A HUGE AMOUNT OF PLANNING!

I have been thinking about it for weeks, maybe even months. Finally, last week, I removed all of the artwork from two walls in my living room to devote this space to planning for the trip. These walls have become the place where we will Plan to be Un-Planned. What led me to this is my realization that I am a visual person. I NEVER purchase stuff online because I need to touch, see, feel it. Now I have a touch-feely, colorful, BIG visual of our plan, right in our living room.

Here is a picture of our new planning corner [insert photo]. It is neat and orderly, and will surely end up with stickies, cross-outs, brochures tacked to it, etc. etc. By the end, though, there will be ONE piece of paper there - a picture of our boat, our one and only possession....ah.....bliss......