on the ocean.


IMG_6651, originally uploaded by mintyfresh.

In the early 2000s, when I worked in technology and stock options were still worth actual money, *many* of my colleagues (those with the stock options) invested in things like cottages, or more appealing to me, sailboats. Growing up in Halifax, sailing had a place in my life, but it was, for the most part, an "I don't really sail" place, rather than holding a spot of fondness. But the water, well, being on the water just felt like being home.

It continued to be that way even when we moved inland, away from the maritimes to a more land and lake-locked Ontario. There are rivers, sure, but nothing quite like the crashing of the waves against the rocky coast.

Fast forward to a few years ago. Quite by accident I stumbled across this Ottawa-based school and fell in love with their British Virgin Island vacations. Who can say no to a tropical holiday that is both holiday AND sailing school? Not I.

Not long before our trip was scheduled to depart, I heard about a couple I used to know in my tech-life, Geoff and Ruth. They had given up everything for a boat & a dream, and left Ottawa bound for a two year tropical sailing adventure. I couldn't even begin to fathom what it would take to embark on that sort of adventure - I didn't yet know how to tie a reef knot! But they did. And they blogged about it, posted photos, plotted a course. It sounded incredible.

Cue our sailing holiday. Day 1 aboard the boat: amazing! Beautiful! I love sailing! Day 2: I'm sailing, whee! Day 3: OMG Please make the seasick stop. Day 4: FIND ME SOME LAND. My early dreams of Geoff and Ruth's adventure died on the floor of the sailboat I couldn't look at for all the nausea.

But then something funny happened. While sitting at the bar at the Virgin Gorda Yacht Club (you can see me feeling mildly land-sick here - no one tells you that getting off the boat can be as bad as being on it, right? Right.), I watched a couple cruising into the yacht harbour in their dinghy and dry-gear. Oddly, despite being thousands of miles away from home, they looked familiar. And they were. Here, all these miles from home, were Geoff and Ruth - the same two that had inspired me to even think about tackling this holiday in the first place. While the conversation that followed did not inspire me to get back on the boat that very same day, it did get me back on a boat in the months that followed. At home, in Canada, where I loved being on the water once again (without feeling green). And now, just a year later, I can't get enough. I'm reading books about sailing adventures, following blogs about teenagers sailing around the world. By themselves. And plotting a way to get back to the Virgin Gorda Yacht Club with a boat of my own (and maybe a dose or twenty of gravol, just in case).

And you can do it too. I first noticed the Geoff and Ruth were home when their boat, the SV GeRu was parked outside (of all places) my office at the NAC. It sat there for weeks, taunting me. Sail, it said, sail! And now they are sharing their story, their lessons learned, and what I can only imagine are truly fantastic, the memories of two years spent at sea, on islands, and occasionally running into Canadians you actually know. If you want to be inspired by their adventure, you can find them for the next two weeks talking about every moment of it at the Brittania Yacht Club. It will be worth it, I promise.