Live Aboard

This is an excerpt from a journal right when I moved from Seattle back home. Like what you see, get to know me!

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Cruising to check local surf spots in wind chop

“Live Aboard”

This topic has come up multiple times in the past month. Usually after we’ve had a couple of drinks at Sea Fresh while munching on sushi and fries. Wild combo. I know.

“Do it. Just do it,” he said with a mouth full of albacore. “You won’t regret it.”

It respectively being not only to buy, but to live on a boat.

“I don’t know,” I say.

I don’t know seems to be the only response I can give lately.

Sometimes my heart quickens at the idea–both out of excitement and anxiety.

“Megs, just imagine it. You walk down the dock. Open up the cabin. Light a few candles. Kick back. Write the night away under the stars. That’s your home.”

“When you put it that way.”

“Then wake up to gently rocking in the wind…”

He trails on and on… The seagulls, the seals, the salty air, the splashing of bait, the fog horns, the marine layers, the sunsets.

Fisherman banter.

Both sessions of mine. Banter and fisherman.

While it is easy for me to romanticize everything he says, I have this relentless realist in me.

If it wasn’t for her I’d already be packed up, yo-ho-ing my way down the dock and cracking champagne over the bow. Yep. Damn the realist.

“I know nothing about boats,” I say.

“You don’t need to,” he says.

“I find that hard to believe. The only thing I know about sail boats is don’t drill holes in the bottom.”

He takes a long slurp of his rum and coke. The way he always does. Loudly with squinting eyes looking down before looking back at me.

“I’m telling you the truth. It’s simple. All you have to do is empty the holding tank when it gets filled and clean the bottom scum every few months.”

Right. That’s all…

“But what if the toilet breaks?” My eyes avoid his.

It was a weak attempt. But it was an attempt.

“Well, you fix it?” He smirks. I hate that smirk, just as much as he hates mine.

“Of course.”

“I’m telling you. I think you will love it. You need to have something that is all yours. Something you take care of, something that you can call your own.”

It’s true. He’s right. This sailboat somehow feels like a gateway to somewhere I am being called to be. A place completely unknown. A wild place.

The past year has been been defined by both limitations and freedoms. I have felt both stagnant and infinite. It’s this caged bird mentality that has pushed me to my limit.

It’s been a great year, but I have hardly taken the time to reflect on it until this sailboat idea was presented. This sailboat is challenging me to think about my life.

It’s undeniable that the place where I was planted and thrived is now all together too small for me to keep growing in. I am being beckoned onward to something greater, yet even still, I feel reluctant to be replanted.

I have always made it a point not let fear rule my decisions. My dad always said, “You’re not nervous, you’re excited!” I think he was trying to say, “Don’t be scared.” I try not to be scared about things. Especially new things.

But there is still this lingering fear. I once was told, that fear ti often just pretending to be logic.

“Megs, you know what it really comes down to?” he says while looking at his empty glass of ice. “Not whether you can do it or not, but what in hell is holding you back from doing what makes you happy?”

Good question.

Water makes me happy, why am I not living on it?

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Boating to Santa Cruz Island

 

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Uprooted

This piece is an excerpt from a journal when I traveled to Switzerland to teach English. It is about comparing the two cultures through the lens of a teacher.

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“Uprooted”

Things are good here in Switzerland. I love the culture, the people, the schools. How life has taken on a new energy and everything feels like the first time.  As if my life in the states was a different planet, a different life. But with all the good, there has been a emotional monster lurking. I can’t explain concretely or accurately. But with each breath, there’s fluttering in my chest, filling my insides with insecurity, anticipation. I have been trying to understand this feeling the entire time I’ve been here in Zurich. It attacks me at night full of energy, as if it’s been sleeping all day.

At night, I think about what I have learned from home and compare it to my experience here. I think about how different things are here. How different things are at home. How everything feels new,  but slightly familiar, slightly contradictory. Then I wonder is one way of doing things right or wrong? Do we always have to decide if there is a right and wrong way of doing things? Have I been learning the wrong things all along? Then, I think about how big the world is and how many other things there are to learn. These are just two cultures I am comparing. Maybe we are both wrong. I sink into a puddle of wine. If you can’t know anything to be true, is there anything worth learning?

I initially thought this anxiety of over-thinking was due to jet lag. Jet lag has always been synonymous with irrationality. I think we all agree on this.

But this goes beyond temperamental instability right now. I feel displaced not just physically, but mentally. Like my thoughts are a plant that have been growing and thriving have been suddenly dug out. The roots, her most vulnerable and most valuable parts, naked and dangling. Exposed.

I have spent the last few months learning and growing at home. Learning how a teacher teaches. Learning how students learn. The goal was to be replanted here in Switzerland and continue learning and growing. Build upon the foundation that was started at home, add some Swiss spice to diversify it.

But this process has been surprisingly painful. I find myself more often than not trying to make room for conflicting information. Like a tooth being pulled to make room for a new one. Or maybe, this is more like braces. An outside force moving things without my body’s consent.

To be honest, traveling to Switzerland has grown into something much different than what it was originally. I am learning things that go beyond a classroom. I am learning about societies. Communities. Relationships. Language.

I was sent here to teach and observe. And now I am here to see and understand my surroundings. I am trying to be objective. But being objective is weird and certainly not a natural human skill or instinct. To be truly objective, you have to set side aside your past experiences, assumptions and views. You have to make a judgement not based upon your own personal thoughts or experiences, but as some sort of empty vessel.

Objective (adj): not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

I am trying to keep this in the front of my mind as I am here in Switzerland. Be objective. Absorb as much as you can. Don’t let contradicting ideas scare you. But with this I am placing a pressure on myself to learn as much as possible, see things through a lens that is different than a tourist. Different than a visitor. Different than a traveler. And in this process, I see details that both disturb and amaze me. It’s exhausting.

When I come across a group of tourists, I always see the same things. Fingers pointing, phones out, cameras taking pictures. Smiles and dropped jaws. They are admiring. Falling in love. Absorbing everything. But, I am not sure if I am here to admire. I think I am here to just look. And I think this is why I am uncomfortable. Tourists come to stand in awe. But me, as an ambassador, a researcher, I’m not sure if it is my job to admire. And because of this, I am anxious. What will I find? Will it fit in nicely to my already built puzzle piece or destroy everything. More things to come.

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swiss mountains

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