Going Inland

Some thoughts on Sailing, and being a woman at the Helm

Writing & Wanderlust

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So…we went inland for the Easter holiday, to see family in La Porte.  Funny how we’ve blended into the weave of fellow IBC’s (Islanders by Choice) here on our Gulf Coastal Island home.  Even still, we long for the water, the rocking back and forth of our sailboat, the clinking of the masts in the wind.  We visited with a local marina the day after Easter, after we got back to the island from a second trip to La Porte in two days because Nico left his phone at his Mom’s the day before.  I have to admit, that day was a good one: lunching with Nico’s dad (the baby’s only living Grandpa), the lolly-gag-of-a-drive back to the island, the visit to the marina…and the smell of the water…down along the slips.

My wanderlust is really getting to me these days, and I miss our sailboat more and more.  If…

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Florida Keys Camping for $20 a Night!

Cheap Camping in the Florida Keys!

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Writing & Wanderlust

Have VW Hippie Van…Will Travel!

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Rescue of a San Juan 24

~ Bottom Cleaning, Swabbing the Deck, and Hull Inspection ~

~ Bottom Cleaning and Hull Inspection ~

Rescue Of A San Juan 24

~ First Cleaning of Our Old Girl ~

Becoming a Sailor

Day of Discovery

Day of Discovery

The very first time I ever went sailing, it was a night sail and we were all there to have fun…not necessarily learn how to sail.  Well, that was almost ten years ago and I am so happy that, but-if-only for a short time, I can now say I am a sailor.  Admittedly, I’m not an accomplished sailor who can actually set sail on her own and solo-circumnavigate the globe, but a woman who has actually started to learn and understand the complications of sailing.  I love it…even still; though it is no easy task. 

It’s been almost a year now since we first found our San Juan 24, and Nico and I have been steadily bringing our old girl around…after much elbow work.  You see…?  When we found our old–or should I say ‘vintage’–sailing yacht, she had spent many-a-days floating about in her slip; neglected and full of dirt-daubers and cobwebs.  Even a bit of a puddle in the bilge, in addition to everything else, couldn’t sway us from falling in love with our SJ-24.  It was as if she’d been waiting for our little family to come along and keep her company…for all those years she’d been neglected. 

But…alas!  We are bringing her around now and she has spent some time on a local lake, leaving a rooster-tail wake behind her.  Our old girl is fast!  And, because she is a fixed keel with a 4 foot drop and sitting on a very shallow lake that is in the process of being dredged, we have the very real worry of running aground and damaging the keel before we can ever really get her into open water and turn her loose. 

That said…  We aim to do just that: get our boat to deeper waters and see what she’s really capable of, even though we are still learning and know we should be in no hurry to put ourselves into a situation we aren’t capable of handling just yet.  So…in the meantime, we will putt about our shallow lake and learn the art of sailing; learn how our old girl handles; how fast she can go without hitting the bottom. 

As for running aground, we’ve already been there and done that.  Lucky for us, we had a line of sailing friends there to pull us out.  That, we know, is a luxury that we will likely not have when or if we ever run aground out there…somewhere.  But then again, that’s just one of the things that make a sailor seasoned.  I welcome the risk!

*A full life worth living is worth the many chances you’ll take to get there* 

Life Begins At Forty

Many changes have been taking place, both with my body and within myself, since I turned 40. And at first I felt a little confused by it all; not really able to understand what was going on with me.
Then I watched a movie that I’d seen many times before, though it had never affected me when I was younger as it did that changing day; the day of the epiphany. The movie was Fried Green Tomatoes; the part when Evelyn Couch (played by Kathy Bates) is deep in the throes of menopause. And in conversation with Ninnie ‘Idgie’ Threadgoode (played by Jessica Tandy), Evelyn tearfully confesses “I’m too old to be young, and I’m too young to be old”.

And THAT…in a nutshell, says it all when it comes to how I’ve been feeling since turning forty; the many changes in my personality, who I am becoming, how I feel, the whole nine-yards really. And to top it all off, I’m nurturing a growing toddler as I too bloom and grow into the mid part of my life. I feel blessed to have a loving husband by my side through it all, because I really couldn’t imagine having to go through this transition alone; especially with a small child on my hip.

Needless to say, now that I am in my mid-forties, I am beginning to feel new again; still exhausted and confused, but none-the-less like a butterfly coming out of her cocoon. I can almost feel it; the way it feels to fly. I can almost smell the freedom of older age; not caring so-much how I look but more-so how I feel about ‘me’. It’s funny really, when I look in the mirror I see my face aging…like it’s almost overnight, since I feel some days like I’m still in my twenties. I even forget at times that I’m no longer a child. I guess that’s one of the many blessings of having a late-in-life baby; she keeps me feeling young. On days when I’m feeling low, I still have to keep going. I’m not allowed to sit and be a mope. That’s a good thing! I’m forced to stay afloat, no matter how much I feel like I’m sinking in the every day day-to-day.

I find ways to renew myself. Like lately, I’ve been learning to play my mandolin; the one I’d originally bought for Hubby to play…since he’s the Guitarist. Even still, it’s been about 4 months since I first picked it up…just to fool around and see what kind of sound I could make. To my pleasant surprise, it just seems to fit the new me. I’ve come a long way–according to Hubby–in a very short time; writing, composing, and playing my own songs and blending new sounds into songs we’ve already recorded. Gypsy Vin Rose is our love-child duo; the music that stems from our love for each other, our beautiful daughter Nixi Vin-Rose, for love of life, travel, and just being in nature or flying down the highway in our old VW Van. All of this is what made us who we are as a family. And I’d say, the new me loves who she is becoming.

*Life Is New…Until It Is No More*

Finding Our True North

It seems like finding our ‘true north’ is near-impossible at times.  The harder we try to find our way…to chart another course,  the more we tend to get stuck in the mud of the monotonous…everyday life. I know there are many others out there in the world, like us, who long for la Sprezzatura; as the Italians refer to that certain ease of life and making difficult matters seem easy.

As I observe the norm of the majority, I see that…like us, most folks in America and abroad tend to box themselves into a way of life that is rather impossible at times to maintain. Like trying to escape quicksand, the more they make the more they spend. I ask myself: why? It really makes no sense at all, yet most of us just keep on keeping on, like robots programmed to do something over and over and over again. Where’s the fun? Where’s the adventure? Where’s the…life, in that? Still…I see no reason to work one’s life away (the only one we get) for stuff and material possessions one might never get the time to enjoy. It’s the sad truth–the American way! For us, me and my family, it’s the wrong way.

Yesterday, my husband got up…had a bite to eat–a taco I had just made–and he went sailing. It was a beautiful morning to be on the water, moving along under power of the invisible. To me, there is nothing more exuberating than when the wind is coaxing us along on its wings, when we are being carried on the water by the mysterious force that has never been seen with the naked eye. Sailing is beautiful in-and-of itself; so peaceful, so powerful, so intoxicating. To me…sailing is really living!

Looking back through history, sailboats were a means to another seashore, the mode of transportation, the only mode of transport. The captain would chart his course, hoist the sails, and let the wind take him to where he needed to land. It wasn’t a sport, it was a way of life. I feel that modern way of life has lost its luster to much extent. The passion is gone, that certain ease of life is missing, we’ve yet to find that certain Kefi, the Greeks know so well. Like sailors of long-past-days, we have-yet to find our True North.

It’s really not as hard as it seems; all we must do is sit…think…feel. You see…? If you sit and allow your mind to wander, relax and see the things you love to do–a past place visited, a place you’ve been, something you’ve done or experienced–you’ll know you’ve found that one thing, or your true self when it all lines up. First the thought comes to mind, then your heart starts to race…you feel a rush of excitement, the adrenaline starts to pump, and you feel more alive…even younger! THAT is the thing for you; your true North.

When you find it…never let it go. For if,or when, you do…you will cease to live in a sense. Your world will turn several shades of gray; it will lack color. But then, if you allow yourself, you’ll let your thoughts find your ‘happy place’, and you’ll chart your course…no matter the obstacles in your path. You will look back on your former life, the robotic…monotonous…for-naught lifestyle you’d been accustomed to, and you’ll feel a sense of relief that you did it; you stepped out of the norm and you found your Kefi. And…you’ll finally feel free!

*This life we’re in, it ain’t worth living. The life we love is worth fighting for* — The Big Seashore by Gypsy Vin Rose (http://www.gypsyvinrose.com)

LIVING ON GOLDEN POND

Each day, I try to wake up with a brand-new perspective on life–I love to see the sunrise on golden pond. And I must admit, there are many days I awake to find myself not seeing the brighter side of things; like yesterday…when I had allowed myself to become downtrodden from events in the past
which no longer matter in the future. I tell myself, ‘I cannot change what has already come-to-pass’, but I can alter how I cope with such adversities of life.
I know it sounds rather cliche’, but Each Day really is a New Beginning.

Many people wait for the New Year to bring change to their selves or surroundings, but I choose to make it happen on a daily basis. I have to…because I am the only one who has to live in my skin.
So…if I don’t like something about ‘me’, I chisel away at the unacceptable part of myself and start working on molding the new & improved ‘me’ into shape. Sounds a bit funny I guess, but if you sit and think about these words I write…you will see that we could all use a bit of molding, chiselling, reshaping from time to time.

I find, following close examination, that sometimes I scrutinize myself and everyone around me way too much. I have no control over what others do, but how I respond to things is all on me. I realize I am too sensitive; as my mother always told me. I need to develop a ‘thicker skin’, so to speak. We all do, I guess…every now and again.

In the end…all we are really left with is the very thing we came into this world with–ourselves and the ones who love us most…if we’re lucky.

Which brings me back to what really matters to me in my immediate life; I see my children…their beautiful faces–two of whom I miss so much my heart feels like it is bleeding. I see my husband–the man who wakes up daily to trudge off to a job he hates more and more each day…for pay he sometimes doesn’t even get on time. I hear our daughter say “Bye Daddy”, every time he opens the door.

It makes me sad. Day after day, my time is spent without him; except for weekends; which fly-by in a glance. Day after day, I miss the rhythm of our old Volkswagen Camper Van humming down the highways and biways, looking forward to the next town…the next new discovery or adventure. I miss the sunrise over a new horizon, though I love the one I see on cloudless days. I miss the feel of tiny grains of sand, sifting softly between my toes; the big seashore is calling.

I miss my Mom…I miss my Dad; though they have both been gone too long. Losing your ‘Life’s Blood’, the one’s who gave you life, leaves you feeling like you have no home, like you belong to no one anymore, like you are only half-alive. God forbid, if-ever anyone has ever lost a child; well…I can’t imagine that. I only know that such a loss…to me, would leave me barely alive at all.

I know I ramble on a bit, but that’s just how my thoughts have always worked. I write and write and write…hoping I’ll find the feelings I bury so deep within myself. I’ve never really learned to cope with some of my deepest pains. Perhaps…I never really have grown up after all.

*Never Lose Your Inner-Child*

Sailing Our San Juan 24 — The Maiden Voyage

Yesterday was a day unlike any other–it was the day we sailed our SJ 24 ‘Peniki II’ for the very first time. It’s nearing a year now since we saved her from going to scrap, and it hasn’t been easy getting her ready to sail. But it has certainly been worth it in every way!

You see…? We love our old yacht; she is now part of our family, and we were beyond joy (floating on air) yesterday when a seasoned sailor friend of ours offered to ride along with us to show us the ropes, and even loaned us his motor so we could clear the docks with ease. It was the final installment, I guess one might say, in the many contributions our sailing friends have made…just to help us get the old girl back out sailing again. For all their help, we are forever grateful.

For many…many months, we’ve been itching to get our boat out on the little lake where she is moored, but without a motor (and with our toddler on board) we wanted to play it safe, and so we opted to wait it out until we were able buy our own outboard.

Anyone who has ever owned a boat, especially a sailboat…vintage or new, knows it’s a labor of love that cannot be measured by the dollars one will spend on the restoration, maintenance, and countless other avenues. We are of meager means when it comes to money, so it has been rather slow-going getting our ‘old girl’ out sailing again.

Many of our sailing friends were almost as excited as we were to see our classic SJ #38 cutting through the waves like butter. She’s a fast boat, so we’ve discovered; even with sails that are a bit too small. Lucky for us though, because this boat is so swift that she might’ve gotten away from us under bigger sails.

Needless to say, yesterday is the day we have recorded to be ‘The Day We Began Our Sailing Journey’ on board our ‘bargain-boat-turned-classic’…Peniki II. Our maiden voyage, but-if-only a day trip, was the first of many more to come; of this we are certain.

The memory of sailing into the setting sun at the helm of our San Juan 24 will forever be priceless! We are now counting the days ’til we set sail again; knowing that someday in our near future we’ll be charting our course to deeper waters and places yet unseen.

Never stop Dreaming…

Struggling To Live Below Our Means

I’ve often heard sorted-stories of people working endless hours, even double shifts or weekends, to live above their means and ‘keep up with the Jones’.  But…rarely do I hear of someone struggling to live below their means.

This in a nutshell, is exactly what my husband and I have been trying to do for several years now.  This is what seems impossible to do in this day and age.  Still, we keep searching for ways to keep dwindling down the cost of living so we can actually sock money away for a real emergency or for a way of life actually worth living.

To us, ‘living’ isn’t getting up day after day to go to the same place…to do the same thing…to be met with the same outcome week after week, month after month, year after year.  This is the norm for the majority of societal folks, but it just isn’t ‘for’ a small percentage of us who desperately want quality over quantity, used but paid for over new and in-debt to pay for, free time rather than overtime, or living over ‘never enough stuff’ and bragging rights. We’d much rather own our old and used assets than be paying for something until we’re too old to enjoy that asset or perhaps never make it to the ‘pay off’ date.

It is a grim reality, but even-still…it’s a fact-of-life for so many hard working folks who go through life like robots and never even realize it.  Is this the way it was supposed to be back when this country became a country?  I wonder what our forefathers had in mind for our nation…for our way of life.  I wonder what they thought living really was all about.

I’m not talking about what the history books tell about our nation’s history, but rather what the people of long-ago felt from day to day, what they dreamed, what they wanted for their futures or that of their children.  I wonder about so many things; too many things for one woman’s mind to bear at times.  I am the victim, I guess, of an over-active imagination or restless mind and spirit.

So…with that ‘bit of a rant’ behind me, I am still in pursuit of a different…less complicated, lower cost-of-living, way of life.  I know…somewhere out there, we (me and my family) will find a place where we can live below our means and actually be allowed to do so in peace and with little or less judgment from those folks zooming along in their big trucks or fancy cars they struggle to pay for, or those who live in big, fine houses they’ll be paying off until they have one foot in the grave.  I’ll take living with less and actually owning my rickety old stuff, and being happy to know it’s really mine, over grinding my nose to look good to people who don’t really know me at all. Which, in turn, means they’re opinions aren’t worth a hill-of-beans.

The simple life might seem rather elusive where we are standing right now, but I feel sure that it’s just over the next horizon.  It’s so close…I can feel it!  To me, that’s something worth looking forward to and worth every ounce of sacrifice I can muster.

When you’re attempting to live the good life—less really is more.

*Simplify Your Life—Free Your Soul*

.V..