Seeking refinement

On Friday night, we were delightfully invited to the private yacht club, Club de Pesca, by a Colombian club member and owner of an impeccable Friendship 40’. Ivan also happen to be our blog reader who found us through this online diary of ours and contacted us already when we were still in the West Indies. It was a very pleasant evening full of food, music and wine among Ivan’s family and friends. 

A normal occurrence when socializing with new people, is that we often get to answer questions about how the journey is, how did it begin, how long time we have left of it and other very normal questions that naturally are born out of curiosity for this sort of travels. One of the best questions, in my opinion, is: Why did you decide to let go of everything to sail around the world? What was the drive? Was it adventure, to prove something to yourself or someone else, or to find yourselves? 

The answer to this seem to slightly develop with time, as at least I, get to better explore the reasons for my own reasons with a clearer view as the journey unfolds. The questions of that night got me thinking. What is the actual psychological reason, and with a rear view of past chapters in life, and the first three years onboard a boat behind us now - how would I describe it today. 

To find myself sounds a bit pretentious and the sentence is so worn out by all those commercial self help books that I’ve almost lost connection to its real meaning. Having always been very close to myself, always followed my instincts and dreams, never lied to myself, always made my best in being connected to the truth, never stayed someplace that would make me unhappy and so forth - I think I’ve had a pretty good and clear view of who I am and what values I stand for. I've never been a crowd pleaser and never ever would I hurt myself in order to do something that was expected from me. I have done my mistakes like everyone else and thankfully so as that is how we learn, but I have always listened to my own needs and knew very early in life that if I wanted happiness and to gain meaningful and growing experiences, I better go out and search for it. So no, I haven't exactly felt the need of finding myself, I've been me all along.

But of course I've learnt to know myself better in the process of this tour. I've had the opportunity to put my life in relation to previous chapters in life, and in that way been able to define a more complete and better nuanced version of who I am. I'd say that what this journey has done for me so far, and what is one of the main reasons to why I embarked on it in the first place – was the chance to refine my life and myself.

This time off the random, with all the challenges and adversities we have had to go through, without much other outer distractions, has given me the opportunity to study myself with a microscope. I've better learnt to know which sides of my personality and my life that has been good to me and others, and which has been less so and what needed to get reorganized or removed from life. It has showed me more clearly who I am in relation to my family and my friends, and the longing has taught me better what and who really is important to me

I have also been able to work with the things that I love, and from the foundation that I am and have always been as a human being - I’ve been able to start polishing in the corners of myself, cleaning up the ugly traits and enhance the positive in a brand new light. I have been able to extract the essence of my soul, my needs and my mind. And thus growing and developing in this refinement process. 

The answer to “why do we do this” is a bit different depending on who of us two you ask. For Alex who isn’t (yet) as spiritually inclined as I am, this journey means mostly to get away, find happiness in simplicity, cut off pressure and a society that is destructive, and to sail and sail and sail – which is one of his greatest passions. I too had a strong will of getting away and I do love sailing which has also grown to become a great passion of mine - but for me the sailing part, although exhilarating and wonderful, is merely a tool to fundamentally grow and better define my mind and my life's purpose. Sailing is an expression of freedom which we both seek. But the freedom and clutter free life gained, also offers insights and opportunities to learn and grow from within.

Besides the refinement process, this journey has also given me an opportunity to compare different worlds and learn from all places and people we've met along the way.

I have always strongly believed that you must walk on both, or four sides of the meadow to know how the grass feels from every different angle before you actually know what you’re talking about without risking to judge falsely. Before having tried it all, we can not be complete. It is a bit roughly put, but it is a philosophy that I often adhere to in most areas in life. I've wanted to know how everything feels. How it is to go through a storm and survive and how does it feel immersing in nothing but quietness for a lengthier period. How does a big glamorous city life feel in comparison to a life in the suburbs or in an introverted village? What does financial freedom actually do to a human being and how is it to be completely broke and pull yourself out of the dirt with nothing but your own sore hands? How it is to love immensely and how does it feel to get hurt? What are the needs and dreams of a person living in a capitalist society, compared to the ones with less financial and educational opportunities? What are the real differences between the mind of a man and a woman, and can those differences be adjusted and altered - and if so, by what, love? Fear? All those things that every human feels at one point or another in life. How strongly influenced are we actually by the fundamental needs and what happens when we are left with nothing but the essentials? 

I’ve always had so many questions and I’ve always felt a strong need of searching answers. One truth is one, but never the complete truth. Having lived and experimented for thirty-one years now, I do believe I’ve come a long way in my studies but I am in no way done with my research. I believe it is a lifelong process, and I believe that every situation and every person that we meet in life can teach us something of value. Not always through their knowledge or their skills, but only by observing others,  we can learn something about ourselves.

This journey means so many things, but ultimately, it offers so many answers that I would not have gained if I would have forever stayed on land. There are obviously many ways to gain such intellectual knowledge, I'm not saying traveling by boat and living on the sea is for everyone. But for me, who’ve tried and searched on many different levels, in various different worlds already - the opportunity to get off the grid and isolate myself from the ordinary to see how life is with less - was simply a no-brainer. I was given the opportunity to grow further and learn more of what I needed to know. About myself, about love, about the world, about others. 

Naturally none of this would have ever been possible if it wasn’t for the fact that Alex and I work so well together as a team, with the occasional meltdown on the way of course as it happens for any couple. We’ve had our sour moments and periods be so sure. But even though our motives and needs aren't always exactly the same, we have proven to ourselves that we have what it takes to survive - physically, mentally, technically - combined, between the two of us. Even in moments where life has been literally and completely turned upside down – we have survived, and it has brought us closer. Not only to each other, but also to our real selves.

For me, this voyage as well as life itself, is all about refinement in the end. To be able to paint a clearer picture of the world, and gain a better understanding about ourselves and our life's purpose. No one knows how long we have left on this planet, so for me it's been essential to learn as much as I possibly can until it's time to throw in the towel. Be it with literature, earlier gained experiences, people we meet and the travels we do - why not combine all these things in one and the same boat. One could say that this time traveling on water with all what it means, is one of the most important teachers I've had the blessing to encounter in life. And there's still so much more to learn. The capabilities of the human mind are endless, and so are the challenges of this world.

Read on here for some of my more casual, practical thoughts on the advantages of a life at sea.