September 3rd marked exactly two years since we cast off the dock lines in Groton, Connecticut and headed out on this adventure. It’s been amazing, sometimes boring, and occasionally scary, but not once have we regretted doing it. In fact, with Covid currently turning cruising plans upside down for so many people, we are glad we left when we did. Although I feel confident that eventually things will return to normal, if we decide to swallow the anchor before it does then at least we will know we had a heck of a year and a half before it all went haywire.
Anniversaries being what they are, I’ve found myself reflecting on the past two years and how much easier the second year was compared to the first.
The first three months of cruising was hard. Books, blogs and videos can’t adequately convey the mental stress of each day being a new experience on the boat. For the first few months our brains felt like they were on hyper alert every waking hour. Every mile under the keel was an area we hadn’t seen before – a new route, a new anchorage, a new town. Not that we weren’t having fun. But there was certainly an underlying level of stress that was constantly percolating in the background.
As the first year went by we gained confidence in ourselves and in our boat, and that made all of the difference. But even with that increased confidence we were more than ready for a break from the boat as we approached the end of the first year. Three weeks of visiting friends and family gave us our mojo back, but we agreed to take a land break every 4-6 months from that point forward.
It’s funny though. We never needed that break for the second year. In fact, when we go to Connecticut next week it will be the first time we haven’t slept on Pegu Club in almost fifteen months! She’s our home now, and living on her is completely natural. It’s so normal to us that it’s easy to forget that it’s NOT normal to the vast majority of the population.
Now this isn’t to say that we’re going to be living on her ten years from now (although who knows?). There were definitely points over the past year when if someone had offered to buy Pegu, we would have handed over the keys and walked away without looking back. But honestly it’s not a decision we would ever make in haste.
In reality we have an informal agreement to take this adventure year by year. When the summer comes we ask whether we want to do this for another year, and so far the answer is yes. But assuming we both stay healthy we have some great post-cruising adventures planned, so some day when the answer is “no” – as long as that decision is on our terms vs. fate deciding for us – I don’t think we’ll be filled with regret, but rather excitement at what’s to come.
In the meantime, we have a rough outline of what we are hoping to accomplish this year so we can continue to grow as sailors and keep things fresh. Let’s see what year three brings!