“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”
The Interrupted Journey – The morning I returned to work, after renting a car, flying to Boston, and taking a bus to my own frozen Saturn at the Portsmouth Transportation Center, the president of the company called me into his office. They had gotten along just fine without me during my five-week leave of absence. He said it “made no sense,” from a business standpoint, to keep me on staff. They let me go. I had spent nearly $400 to leave Phil and get home to my job and I was there for twenty minutes.
I have come to believe, like Marilyn, that it happened for a reason. It was the biggest favor they could have done for me. I was pretty sure I would eventually rejoin Phil in Florida, but my long-range plan was to save some money, get my 2013 tax refund, and then decide when to move. It would have been a six-month process and we would have been alone, 1500 miles apart. But now, I had to move quickly.
Decisions came fast: rent the condo, sell the condo, stay until Christmas, move before Christmas, get rid of furniture, get help with cleaning and painting. I had to go through every room, every closet, every box, and keep only what was dear to me or necessary for life in a new place. (If you have not done this lately, I urge you to start. It’s not something you want to leave for your heirs after you’re gone.)
There was one decision I couldn’t make by myself. I had to be sure Phil really wanted me to come to Florida and live with him. We had talked about it while we were coming south on the ICW. But I had to be sure, because there would be no going back. When I asked, “Are you sure?”, he didn’t hesitate for a second. “Yes,” he said. “Please come to Florida.”
For the next two months, I was job hunting long-distance and trying to sell my furniture and belongings. Every day, I tried to consolidate my stuff, pack dishes, throw out clothes, and get my condo ready to sell. I had lived there for six years, but it was a large space and I had somehow filled it. In all, I gave away more than 10 “lawn and garden” bags of clothing to Goodwill. I donated three computers, three televisions, two bookcases and odds and ends of furniture to the Epilepsy Foundation. There was so much to do.
But this is a sailing blog. I was headed back to St. Augustine, and Catmandu, and Phil. I finally said goodbye to my two sons, my New Hampshire friends and my mother in Connecticut. There were tears, and sadness, but I was “advancing confidently in the direction of my dreams,” and I felt strongly that my future was with Phil.
In late December, I arrived in St. Augustine after two 12-hour days on the road with my two cats, my poor little car stuffed to the ceiling. Phil met me at the pet-friendly motel, and after a breakfast with our cruising friends, Dan and Jaye, we headed south to our new apartment in Fort Lauderdale. Yes, we left the boat behind on a mooring in St. Augustine.
It felt strange to be moving into an apartment, but with two cats and Phil’s need for reliable internet service, there was really no choice. We found a place with palm trees and swimming pools, and the January weather was hot and sunny. Phil swam on New Year’s Day.
It would be a few weekends yet before we could get the boat down the coast. At around 6 mph, St. Augustine is 5-6 days from Fort Lauderdale. It would involve a logistics nightmare of renting cars, dropping one car at the takeout point and driving to the put-in, then going back to get the car at the northern end of the route. Don’t worry if you didn’t follow that. It makes my head spin.
We are together, and it does feel like a dream. We’re happy. Sometime in the future, we want to be cruisers: To live on a larger boat, cruise the islands, explore the aqua Caribbean waters. It’s a good dream, and we will go confidently in that direction. But for now, we are CLODS: Cruisers Living on Dirt.