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Thursday, February 27, 2014

New crew, new countries, and a shower

(Petite Piton, Saint Lucia)

After putting it off for four or fourteen or maybe even a few more days than that; I'm proud to announce I've finally had a shower... I think the whole of the Caribbean and all the countries downwind of us are rejoicing...

With the fresh comes the new. Yes, clean sheets, maybe even a clean t- shirt...yes, I'm going all out on this one! And that's not even getting started on the new crew and new countriness of the present...

(Mayreau, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)

Let me drift back to two weeks ago... [swishy drifting back to the past noises] Fiddler adopted 3 new vegetarian newbees into her floating ranks... 


There's katrin, a German biologist who was rather surprised to find saurkraut in the fridge (so were we... I really ought to clean it out some day). She swears she doesn't own lederhosen but I don't believe a word of it. 


Then there's the Bulgarians whose staple diet is bread and oil (slightly more of the latter) They don't believe in sleeping indoors or flying or the evilness of cockroaches. Their favouritest pass times are doing dishes, hitch hiking and repacking their backpacks.  In that order.

(In this picture we are trying to introduce Terry and Ivan to new food groups, like instant noodles)

Including Captain Kirk and Teddy and myself (Ewa's gone home to get a new passport), fiddler has the biggest and most diverse crew ever [in my existence of being aboad]... But still no drinking buddies. Sigh.


So fiddler probably spent too much time in Saint Lucia. When we finally set sail for the grenadines, the propeller clung to the mooring ball so tight that we ended up taking it with us. Fortunately the marine park ranger was nice enough to let us off in exchange for my hand in marriage.


Saint Vincent and the Grenadines were beautifully blue, scattered with smiley friendly locals and lickable turtles and iguanas and many a kayak and dive and snorkel and hike... It was so amazing that even fiddler lifted her own anchor and went exploring on her own (fortunately we returned just before she hit the cliffs)

(Mayreau)

(Tabago cays)

(Bequai)

It was sad to say goodbye this morning, but it had to be done. We had Greneda to visit and a carnival in Trinidad to make... Fiddler disagreed again and clung to the soil relentlessly until finally the anchor pulled free bringing up a bucket.


I'm particularly excited about Grenada and have reason to be too. When the captain checked us in this morning, he told the tourism department that I was the one who needed convincing on the duration of our stay. So, after meeting half of Denmark on the boat next door, playing dinghy taxi to some stranded Germans, helping a South African load his boat, and discussing the benefits of being a dutchie with a Netherlandish skipper, I finally made it ashore... The tourism department cornered me immediately. After teaching me the local bum wiggle, they took me through their hit charts, pictures, videos and excessively low crime statistics in a ploy to convince me to pick their carnival over Trinidad's...

(Tourism carriacou: Rita and Amy)

I've yet to see or do anything here (because every time I turn around there's someone new to talk to) but this place has something awesome about it. Something new. And [swishing noises as we drift back to the present] like I was saying, new is good.

It's easy to play life safe and be content in our comfort zones, but life's too short for mediocrity... And we should constantly be pushing for new levels of epicness. And even though its hard to say goodbye to the old, and the new is normally daunting, you never know what crazy adventure is just around the next bend.

(This arrived out of nowhere... The Caribbean isn't always a pretty place)

I have yet to decide which carnival we should attend... I have yet to decide what happens after Trinidad, whenever it is we get there (South Africa? Pacific? Bahamas? South America? ... The list goes on... a lot) I have yet to decide what I'm actually trying to accomplish in life... But that's okay - whatever happens will be awesome and exciting and new.


New is good. (Or at least I think it is)




Thursday, February 13, 2014

Friday the Fourteenth



A terrible thing just happened... I found out it was February... I'm not quite sure how that happened!!??

And, to make things worse, someone just pointed out that Friday's valentines day... After redigesting the mini vomit that crept up my digestive tract on acquiring this information, I topped up my glass of [box] wine and tried to think happy thoughts.

In fact I thought very happy thoughts. As much as I cringe at the lovey-dovey-mwa-mwa-mwa-ness of February 14th; I've actually had some pretty epic ones:
I've spent the day climbing mountains with friends, I've spent a couple of years bombing couples with water balloons and others  have been spent locking couples-in-denial in rooms, I've had awesome 'family' times and, one of the all time bests involved sitting in the attic with my londonly housemates egging couples as they walked past... Ahhhhhh... Good times!

No, despite the little red hearts every everywhere, the general population's eagerness to hook up with anything that moves, the pain radiated by awkward couples with nothing in common  who try  make dinner conversation; and every bar being filled with snugglers; valentines day is actually alright... Kind of...

Love is not about looks or flashy restaurants and sexy times and well, I'm still not sure exactly what love is but I watched one of the oldest couples alive build sand castles together yesterday and I think that was  it. In the immigration queue in Russia I watched a mother catching her child's vomit in her hands and I think that was it too.  I also think picking out the gravel from your housemates bum after he tripped over his mother in a marathon is love... Yes, love comes in all shapes and sizes and it's hard to explain, but it's just what it is...

(No, the other side of the housemate is not as bright and cheery)

Anyway, it doesn't matter if you're married or single or dating or flinging, or mail order bruding or whatevering, make sure you make this valentines day a good day, every day should be epic...

I'm not sure which country I'll be in come Friday, but this year I think it might be nice to spend the day hugging strangers because, let's be honest, it doesn't matter who you are, everyone needs hugs!!

Even this guy:


Especially these guys:

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Impossiblity is everything


The very best things I've ever done were all once labeled impossible.

I'm a 29 year old barefooted gypsy, intrepidly traveling the world with a ginormous teddy and a cable-tied-together backpack; stopping regularly to gawk at magnificence and occasionally to lick national monuments, weirdnesses of nature, people of interest and hopefully some day a president... Not exactly what younger me [or my mother] envisioned for my life... 



After a whole morning spent throwing up over the railings of Fiddler, and an afternoon cuddling up with my old friend Buckie; I was seriously contemplating my purpose and place in life. I was pretty sure I'd missed my calling (unfortunately I hadn't missed the boat, I was on it...) I was also pretty sure that the next thing to be thrown up was my vital organs and that death was imminent.

(Meet Buckie; my best friend in all things spew related)

I watched helplessly as my crew steered us towards Antigua, knowing full well that surviving the 170 miles remaining was impossible. But finally (22 spews later, I was counting) I Managed to keep a seasick tablet and an apple down and eventually I found the strength to stand up again and by the next afternoon, we found land.



Antigua is the mega yacht capital of the world and cruising into Falmouth Bay we felt like a toy. After all, we are only 60 foot...


Perspectives change quickly though, only a couple of hours later we watched the first of the transatlantic rowers pull into the harbour. In light of their 46 days of constant paddling in a little raft tossed about by massive waves and capsizing thrice;  my triumph over a days seasickness seemed minuscule, and Fiddler seemed massive. 



I suppose it's all of life's challenges (both big and small) that remind us we're alive. And it's the victories in conquering them that make life worthwhile.

For the sail from Antigua to Barbuda, I was prepared. But after 2 months of cruising the Caribbean, dodging yachts left right and centre, I was totally unprepared for the raw, untouristed perfection that the island threw at me.


 
 


It was on a long solitary expedition of beautifulness that my mind kicked into reminiscive action. I thought long and hard about all the epic adventures I've had, all the incredible people I've met along the way, all the challenges I've overcome, and how much life as a gypsy has taught me. It struck me how all those times I was staring death in the eye, on the verge of broke-ness, feeling the loneliest ever, or completely overcome by purposelessness; that preceded all my lifetime highs! 

Yes, impossibility is everything. If it's too easy, it's probably not worth doing.

You may not feel like you've accomplished much in life, or you may feel like you're aimlessly floating through it; but sit back and contemplate the extraordinaryness of your life accomplishments thus far and I'm sure you'll agree that life is freaking fantastic and that in fact all things are possible!