Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Change for Change Sake

We are quickly realizing that this life afloat breeds indecision. Not sure if it's the fact that as sailors we're ruled by the vacillations of weather, the constant up and down of tides and the highs and lows of waves. Or if not having a lease or mortgage encourages shallow, if any roots, but either way we're in a constant state of up and down, high and low, back and forth. When all it takes is to untie a few lines and kick up an engine in order to move your home the options begin to feel endless.

We were told a while back by a seasoned sailing cruising that you live in 6-month horizons. There's little if any long-term planning when it comes to boats and travel. And life as a liveaboard here New England, this couldn't be more true. Here in the Portsmouth region options are limited for marinas to live at and this only adds to the 6-month horizon lifestyle. Not to mention that for 6 months of year you're the envy of many and for the other six your the crazy friend/son/daughter/sibling living on a boat! 

As Summer of 2013 folds into Fall 2013 the changes around us are palpable. The marina goes from bustling with action to silent. The dockside cafe closes. The marina staff hours cut back. The parking lot empties. The slips around us start to clear out. And the sense that it's time to move on becomes stronger and stronger. Couple that with the natural transition occurring in the environment during autumn in New England plus a natural propensity for change and a couple of gypsy souls and you've got the recipe for a tumultuous few weeks. Welcome to the crew of the Zephyr's last month. 

We started out in mid-August looking at liveaboard marinas in Boston. Thoughts of big city living and change drove us to explore this option. But then logistics of costs, cars, lifestyle and our love of open spaces (especially Toby's) stopped making sense. We then headed north, though not in support of our end goal of heading to points south where the latitudes get smaller we'd always been drawn to the city of Portland, Maine. The music, the food scene, a few very rad friends, the familiar but difference to Portsmouth. We checked out the one marina of liveaboards in the Old Port. It was a GORGEOUS late-August day, the stuff of summer dreams. 

Minds whirled all of September - Portland or Kittery? Kittery or Boston? Winter rental on land (for a very brief second)? We came to a decision - Portland. We tried that decision on, felt it out for a while. Just like trying on clothes I've always 'tried on decisions'. When I was deciding on where to go college I was at a fancy cocktail party for my dad's work in NYC. Every person who asked where I was going I'd respond with a different school - St. Michaels, Trinity, Fairfield, Loyola New Orleans - just to see how it felt to say and also what their reaction was. New Orleans always, always got the best reaction, obviously! 

So we told our friends and families we were moving to Portland. Always incredibly supportive they were happy and sad at the same time. And all the while the decision was still not 'fitting right' entirely for either of us. We were feeling overwhelmed, stressed and there were a lot of 'heart hurts' as we thought about leaving this city we've called home for the last 7 years. Not to mention the marina in Portland was not responding to our request for a rental agreement so nothing was falling into place. Add to that our good friends and fellow liveaboards, Justin and Kim made the decision to stay aboard their boat in Kittery for the winter - neighbor friends on the dock! 

As all our awesome Portsmouth friends gathered to celebrate Jill's birthday on Monday night the decision became clear - we are staying. Changing for the sake of change when nothing else is really drawing you to change is not the healthiest way to live. Last year was our first winter aboard, everything was a lesson, everything was new, this year we have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, improve upon on lives and if we go and mix that all up by moving we may lose that clarity. Our end goal is not to move north it's to move to points south and the decision to stay will help us stay on target to do that. Eyes on the prize as my mom always tells us. So, we'll be in Kittery, Maine again this winter and this time without the incessant construction noise from the Memorial Bridge - we can walk downtown! 

Hopefully the Badger's Island Swans will return this year - the Piscataqua River is an infinitely
endless source of fascination


  1. One of the girls on my team just came in my office and caught me reading your blog. I showed her all of your pictures. Her response was "those people are awesome!". I can't help but agree! Love y'all!

  2. I appreciate you sharing your mental mind flow as you went through the process of deciding what to do this season. For myself, as my first season on the docks full time, I am apprehensive of what the experience will be like...but knowing that I have friends (and Justin) close by brings with it a sense of camaraderie that makes all of my doubts disappear. While you may not realize it, you choosing to stay in Kittery has helped my mental stability ten fold! I look forward to sharing winter together with you and Tim.

  3. What a story,what a life enjoy it!

  4. I think you probably made a good choice to stay. I've seen the waves up in Portland and the shelter you have in Kittery is probably a safer, calmer place to be. I'm just up the road in Berwick and would get a kick out of see you both sometime. Happy Thanksgiving and my best assorted wishes to you both.