After clearing the Ballard Locks and the breakwater at Shilshole Bay Marina, we were greeted by a strong, cold 20-knot northerly sweeping down Puget Sound. With the flick of a line off a cleat and the pull of a sheet, Yahtzee’s genoa unfurled in a flash. Drawing us forward in a rush, I shut off the engine and promptly heard an unscripted holler from the boys and then Jill. Being the experienced sailors they are, they knew it, we were sailing again — and it was awesome!
As we bounded across the Sound, dodging a container ship and tug and barge along the way, I got thinking about how far we’d come. Not in miles necessarily, but in being off the boat over the past three months. Mind you, it was never our intention to spend that long off of Yahtzee, but with travel plans to see friends and family and then the unexpected issues that arose with our skeg and rudder, there was nothing we could do but keep our chins up and move forward. Fortunately, we’re good at that. The boys are adaptable and resilient and we roll as a family from one place to the next in a fluidity that impresses me over and over again. The thing is, though, we’ve come to realize that we do it better on the boat than on land.
With my big blue Arcteryx pack stuffed to the gills and riding comfortably on my back and a duffle bag in hand, Porter clenched my pinky finger as we scurried through the crosswalk and into O’Hare airport in Chicago on a frigid midwest morning. We were off to Raleigh, North Carolina for wedding number four of four in three months, where we’d be spending time with Jill’s mom and aunt, along with many great friends.
This was the last trip until being back on Yahtzee together and the routine of living out of that backpack and duffel bag for the four of us was wearing thin. Pack. Move. Unpack. Pack again. Move again. Unpack again. That had been our life for months and, due to Jill’s immensely organized and thorough packing and re-packing skills, we’d perfected it. She’s an artist.
But while living as nomads on land was incredibly fun and rewarding in many ways, it also created a longing for our preferred form of travel, and we realized why. We’re home on Yahtzee. We have all of our stuff with us and at the end of each day, we get to sleep in our own comfortable beds. While moving from place to place on the boat, we’re extremely self-sufficient and we rarely have to rely on outside help from others.
The reliance on others is part of what made traveling on land difficult for us. Being so typically self-sufficient meant that calling on friends, family or strangers for assistance when needed was uncomfortable. We purposely don’t have a “Buy Us A Beer” button on the blog and we don’t ask readers to donate to a Patreon account to fund our lifestyle for this very reason. We enjoy the adventure of doing it on our own and don’t want to be beholden to others.
When traveling on land we found ourselves leaning on friends and family too often for our comfort, and though they were always happy to share cars, homes and hours of laughter, we never wanted to ask for too much or become a burden. Fortunately, we received a huge and enthusiastic amount of support from many friends and family members, and for that, we are incredibly grateful. Far more than we can ever put into words.
Whether on the boat or on foot, we see the same sunsets and sunrises and the same constellations moving overhead day and night. The world doesn’t really change. But on Yahtzee alone, we move with them as one. On foot they seem to be revolving around us, unhinged. Or as our friend Mark so aptly put it the other night during dinner, “Your life on Yahtzee is analogous to being on earth. The earth is traveling through space yet you feel “at home” and don’t have the sense of traveling. Yet you always are…”
To be sure, there are challenges that come with both modes of travel — ones that we are quite familiar with — and for us it’s about meeting them, moving forward and making the best from whatever situations we find ourselves in. So long as we’re together, we’re all good.
Sliding the companionway hatch open and poking my head in, Yahtzee smelled cold and damp. I didn’t care. I was home. Then, as I descended the steps, the first thing I noticed was a note with familiar handwriting. “Welcome Home!” it said, accompanied by a bottle of rum, care of our friends Ryan and Autumn on Velella. It made me smile. Once again, friends come up big.
With Jill packing up our stuff for the last time at a nearby hotel, it was move in day and I took an hour or so to get the boat ready for everyone to come home. On went the engine and heater to warm and dry the cabin and I cleaned a few things while poking my head in and out of lockers, lazarettes and floorboards.
When they arrived and we slung our travel-weary bags on the boat, the boys were overjoyed. Their eyes were big and bright, and Magnus kept saying, “Daddy, take the wheel. Lets go.” Indeed, go we did.
We’re happily back out cruising again, moving with the tide and wind — along with many great memories of times spent with our friends and family. Thank you, everyone. We couldn’t have done it without you.