Long Time, No See (Life gets in the way, but I’m still sailing)

Yeah, I know it’s been a long time. I uploaded my last video two years ago, which was filmed almost three years ago. Life has gotten in the way. It’s been mostly good, though. Where am I now?

Working full-time, I haven’t had the time or energy to create videos. I have hundreds of hours of unedited film which lurk in the shadowy corners in the back of my mind, haunting me. I feel simultaneously unmotivated to do anything with it and guilty that I have done nothing.

In 2018, I received a promotion to a management position and within about 5 months, realized that this was not the right track for me. At least I know myself a lot better now. I’m an introvert, a “Highly Sensitive Person,” and conflict honestly terrifies me. I also missed writing the weekly newsletter for my job. I would rather do creative work in a quiet corner by myself than run the show and tell employees what to do and how. I was also putting in 45 – 50 hours of work every week doing work I didn’t love. By January of 2019, I was burned out and asked to step down. My employer was disappointed and insisted I was doing a good job, but stepping down was nothing but a huge relief to me. And the best part – I got to do the creative work I really wanted to do again. I’m still doing it to this day.

After my experience in the BVIs, I couldn’t remain satisfied with sailing around in circles on San Francisco Bay anymore. To make a long story short, I ended up moving to Florida in search of warmer waters and I was able to keep my job, now a remote employee.

Shortly after I moved to Florida, I had the good fortune of meeting another sailor, Tim, who grew up in the Bay Area. Like me, he had cut his sailing teeth on San Francisco Bay. Also like me, he had a dream of buying a bluewater boat and cruising his way around the world. As our relationship grew, we frequently sailed his Hunter 30 on the turquoise waters of the Gulf Coast together and began to form a 2-year plan to buy a bigger boat, cut the dock lines, and sail away.

But then, COVID-19. In April, Tim was laid off from his job in the aviation industry. We talked it over and decided that the time to buy a bluewater boat was now or never. In July, we found a cutter-rigged 1993 Oyster 435 sloop for sale on the island of Carriacou in the Caribbean. After all the necessary surveys, we bought her sight-unseen and began to sell everything we owned. It seemed crazy to our friends and family, but to us, not doing it seemed just a bit more crazy.

At the time, Grenada’s borders were closed and we had no way to get to our new-to-us boat. I also sadly figured that the coming change would be the end of my time with my employer, but I was mistaken. To my surprise, they were thrilled for me and agreed to continue my remote work arrangement.

On October 17, 2020, as our plane descended over sparkling blue Caribbean waters to land on Grenada, I shed a few tears of joy. I was so happy to be back in the Caribbean! After five days of quarantine and negative PCR test results, we donned our masks and boarded a small ferry for a wet and wild 3-hour ride to Carriacou. Five weeks of sweat, blood and tears later, our boat finally splashed into the clear waters of Tyrrel Bay and we began our life as full-time cruisers, feeling a bit like the anxious parents of a newborn baby. We spent the last year in Grenada getting our boat ready for off-the-grid, long-distance sailing.

It was both one of the most amazing and yet gruelingly difficult years of my life. I was really not prepared for how hard it would be. It’s NOT a comfortable lifestyle, to say the least – but it has many rewards. I really love the closeness to nature, swimming and snorkeling, and all the tropical beauty there is to see, taste, touch, and smell.

A year later, we are now in the US Virgin Islands, fully in the swing of the cruiser lifestyle. Tim primarily keeps the boat running and I keep it clean. I also put in 15 – 20 hours for my job. We each contribute $1000 a month to our joint account, which we spend on mutual expenses. With my limited working hours, this doesn’t leave much to go towards my savings account. Scary.

We decided to start a YouTube channel together, but I’ve only uploaded one short video. I think it sucks and I’m embarrassed of it. I’m even tempted to take it down. And ever since, I have felt revolted by the idea of sitting down to edit more videos. There is simply nowhere comfortable to sit on the boat to work, and just putting in time towards my job causes pain and further injury to my arms, wrists, and neck, already damaged from more than two decades of full-time computer work. Even as I write this, my right thumb is aching. My right elbow too, along with the fun sensation of numbness extending from my elbow along the inside of my forearm down into my hand. My back and neck hurt too. Until I figure out a better ergonomic situation on the boat, I’m really limited and stuck with the status quo.

So, Tim puts in far fewer hours into keeping the boat running than I do keeping her clean and working at my job. He said that he would take over creating video for our YouTube channel, and he hasn’t lifted a finger either. So I guess the “Sailing Euphoria Too” YouTube channel simply isn’t going to happen. I feel less bad about this than I feel about abandoning my Sailing Novaturient project, which I was once really excited about it, before I ran out of time and energy for it.

I am also having serious misgivings about sharing my life in such a public way. I also struggle to see the point of putting in so much effort to edit videos when I suspect we don’t have a great chance of being successful at it. Tim and I, well, we’re not repulsively hideous, but we’re not exactly clickbait. And the YouTube market, so to speak, is very saturated with sailing channels about couples who buy a boat and sail around the world.

I’ve known from the start that I didn’t want to do a sailing channel the same as all the others… I wanted to do something really unique. More importantly, I wanted to do something very authentic and substantive. I’m still struggling to figure out why anyone would want to take time out of their life to take a peek into my life. Maybe some lack of self-worth poking its head out there. Or feeling disgusted at the idea of self-promotion. I’m not sure. I’m not sure I care anymore.

I guess it’s just time to let it all go and focus on enjoying my life, even if it means I stay poor and don’t make any progress towards any semblance of financial or professional success. Yes, it’s really hard at times – don’t get me started about the copious sweating – but it’s also pretty awesome too.

Or do I just keep it simple, upload 5-minute long videos every week, and not worry about quality? I don’t know. I can’t make up my mind.

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