The best thing about a nomadic lifestyle like ours is that we’re constantly meeting some of the most interesting people imaginable from all corners of the globe, all of whom have an extraordinary sense of adventure and very low tolerance for boredom. If you’re in need of some new interesting friends, just show up at some random marina way off the beaten path and see who comes sailing in, or just go walking around the streets nearby and see who you stumble across. This exercise in diversity is not free from risk – the problem is that these people bring new perspectives to your life, they teach you to think differently, and quite quickly you start getting the sense you’ve been wearing blinders your whole life.
On balance we think our new perspectives are a good thing – we find ourselves becoming more interested in other cultures, we shed many of the mental limitations that used to stop us from chasing our dreams, we see there are countless ways to live interesting lives that are very different from the ones we used to live. All these things are liberating and bring a fantastic feeling of richness, freedom, and control. But we’ve also lost a type of bliss (perhaps the ignorance type) we might have had some years ago, which may or may not be a good thing. We see problems in the world, particularly in developing countries, that used to be hidden from our view thanks to our westernized safety bubbles (things like CNN) and we discover we contribute to them – our old sense of national pride and patriotism gradually morphs closer towards a sense of shame. We’ve forever changed our ability to easily remove boredom from our lives – a basketball game, the gym, Starbucks, and a movie would all be futile attempts now. We have interests and opinions that make us peculiar or boring to some people who used to be our friends, and vice versa – some old relationships will never be rekindled. Like many things in life, the changes we experience are a twin edged sword.
We’re now getting ready to leave Jamaica hopefully within the next few days if we can somehow wrestle our autopilot hydraulic away from the kung-fu death grip of the Jamaican customs authorities. In addition to having Desiree aboard for the past week, we’ve also met an unusually large group of new friends here and will be leaving enriched thanks to our experiences with them, and also with some new practical skills under our belt. We know how to run a Jamaican taxi service (thanks to Kiewa), build a solar panel array (thanks to MJSailing), harpoon and land a 200 pound marlin (thanks to the Scandinavians on S/Y Relax), and we even know how to hold our breath underwater for a few minutes (thanks to the world record setting freediving team on Evolve).
Now it’s time to say some final goodbyes as the Swedes strap their dinghy to the deck and embark for the Azores. We hate the goodbye part, but it’s an unavoidable part of life on the high seas and we’ve learned to deal with it by now. So to all of them we say “Bon Voyage”. (And to the Jamaican customs officials we say [expletives deleted].)