Returning Home to a Sailboat

[button color=“#fff“ background=“#000″ size=“medium“ src=““]…previously published on Fort Myers Beach „Island Sand Paper“[/button]

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Returning Home, from Island Sand Paper Sep-13 2013
Returning Home, from Island Sand Paper Sep-13 2013

Everyone needs a vacation from time to time. A week or two to think about what has been archived and what are the goals to go for: A camping trip into the woods or laying back on a mountain lake shore, just watching clouds passing the blue sky. A changing scene generates new inspirations and frees the mind. Like changing wallpapers at home can make an old house look new, another lookout can help to refresh an old life. I experienced this every time I felt uncomfortable with what I did. A week focusing on the problem while looking ad fresh images always revealed the way I would go next. It made and enlarging time between jobs to travel and finally led to where I am now: Living on a boat in Fort Myers Beach. And doing so changed the pattern.

Wallpapers at home stay the same and a vacation means to return to them at the end of a trip. Sometimes this is the bad part of a journey, returning from an exciting place to face the reoccurrence of the day to day life that was just left behind. But what, if the wallpaper change is the day to day life.

I live aboard for more than five years now and since than returning home has changed a lot. Sailing back to Paulinchen‘s homeport does not feel like returning home anymore. Over time it just became a destination on the trip, to finish a circumvention not to end the voyage. My home is floating along changing scenes and seasons. And a vacation has become to see friends and family at the life I have once lived.

On a boat time runs fast and can be slow at the same time. While I would be able to recall almost every single minute of the past four years that I traveled along this trip, it feels like I have left my homeport only a few weeks, if not days, ago. And every time I return from where I am to Europe, it reveals how much this is not true:

Some friends got new jobs, relocated, married and switched partners, views and lifestyles… But the time I have not been there is most noticeable by looking at their children. A bunch of them now dominates meeting friends. My best friends‘s children were babies or not even born when I left and now they talk to me, asking who I am. Their parents responsibility and focuses have changed. Even if I sometimes would, I can not blame my friends to live on with their life and not keep the wallpapers that I have left on that old house.

This is why the longer I am gone the less are fading shared histories enough to overcome the differences. And while I am trying to keep up with the changes in their life, trips to my hometown became more and more a vacations and less to home.

The latter is returning to the boat after a few weeks in Europe. But even the last minutes of such a return are part of the vacation. After almost 23 hours in trains, airports, planes, and busses between Zurich and Fort Myers Beach, I walked from Times Sq. bus station to Matanzas Inn. Smiling at every colorful painted house, admiring the palm trees that most people here would not even notice as part of their lives wallpaper and soak the warm and humid september air in. Larry, another boater in the mooring field, picked me up at the dock and ferried me to Paulinchen. – This is when the vacation is over and the day to day life reoccurs: My outboard is broken, my home needs a serious cleaning, the water tanks have to be refilled …

But this time returning here also marks the beginning of new episode: My stay in Florida slowly approaches its end. I have been for the last time to Europe for approximately more than one year and visited my girlfriend for the last time in Switzerland. Next month my home will be hers too. The life of a single hand sailor will turn into that of a cruising couple while sailing towards patagonia. And so somehow coming home this time again is only to depart on a new adventure.

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