What a year it has been. After our second winter in Seward, we emphatically tossed Yahtzee’s dock lines aboard and set off on May 24 to explore more of our beloved Alaska before turning south. Now, writing this from the marina in Barra de Navidad, Mexico, our log says we’ve traveled 4,300 nautical miles in the past seven months, but there is so much more to it than miles and time.

On several occasions lately, I’ve found myself sitting on a beautiful beach, digging my toes in the sand while watching the boys surf or play in the waves. Palm trees dance overhead and a happy smile spreads wide across my face when I can’t remember the last time I wore shoes. I don’t like shoes. Some days I don’t wear a shirt at all. And my new favorite motto is, “Life is better in board shorts.” Such is life. Looking back on the past year, I’d say we’ve done quite well.

But we also fondly reminisce about our time in Alaska, discovering secluded anchorages, bathing under icy glacier water, watching bears roam the shoreline and enjoying gorgeous sunsets just before midnight. Though the rainy, snowy winter days of the far north are a far cry from our current setting of swaying coconut palms, warm sand, gentle breezes, and our home bobbing just offshore in turquoise tropical water, it has certainly been a memorable and diverse year of experiences.

Yes, the scene sounds idyllic, and it mostly is, but don’t get me wrong, things aren’t always one hundred percent tropical bliss. I’ve been reminded of that while taking apart and putting back together our toilet for the sixth time in two days. Or when our outboard engine was snatched off our dinghy. Or that time when I accidentally dropped the end of the stern anchor chain squarely on my toe. Ouch! Should have been wearing shoes, I guess. But most days are pretty darn delightful.

From the wilds of Alaska to the beaches of Mexico, whether it has been sailing with good friends, meeting new people, or, most importantly, watching our boys grow and flourish before our eyes, we feel immensely fortunate to be living out our dreams together. After all, life is fleeting and sometimes it’s messy, which makes savoring the good moments oh so important. Yes, what a year indeed.