Each year at this time I go back and think about that scared shitless guy, seven years ago, heading out the locks and down the coast. I left a home of 57 years for a great amount of unknown. It was exhilarating, terrifying, stimulating and oh so fun. Seven years later I still need challenges and the great unknown but have been drawn to the familiar as well. One of the great inspirations in my life once said two of the human needs are certainty and uncertainty. The trick is to balance the spokes in your wheel. I think I can say I am far closer to that balance than I have ever been.
The cruising year started with a testing adventure into Raja Amput. The weather, the struggles with our cruising buddy boat and some long runs were a bit of a strain. Compound this with lousing good friends to criminal kidnappers right out of what we thought was an extremely safe place and knowing we had to return there all called for the “captain” to act like a captain.
I did toil over the what “ifs”, what if I had been there? what would I have done? could I have saved them? would I have fought back? The more esoteric thoughts of why them and not me? Popped up nightly as well. Rage, fear, regret, and strong amounts of gratitude for being safe added to a dash of guilt for being safe, all swirled thru some sleepless nights.
Not to be consumed by the what ifs I could have done. I concentrated on the what I could do if-? I mentally prepared for any kind of boarding and took precautions that legal concerns keep me from elaborating, let’s say I was determined not to go down without a fight. All academic as we had a great trip back to Davao where boat work kept me busy.
The next few months were fun and leisurely, seeing old friends and mostly just Donna and I on the boat. This is the time where we grew closer and closer as she became an integral part of the boat and my life more each day. We just celebrated 18 months together, that is 18 months’ face to face 24/7. My relationship guru friend Behan told me that cruising time together is like dog life, times seven. I think that is true. We have grown to “get” each other mostly and more important to get that we do not get it all the time and to let that go.
This is also a time where we were blessed with long visits from Piam. I have always stayed distant from kids in my relationships and frankly have sucked at it for the most part. I do believe that age and the lack of time restraints often found in a career time have opened the door to the magical world of being close to a child. After his first short visit, that Donna had to talk me into, I found myself really missing the little tike, and found an excuse to bring him back. Now he comes to join us at every school break and talks of nothing else and neither do i. Of course I spoil him, not hard to do. I think he has an idyllic life; time with a huge loving family surrounded by a supportive village; the certainty. Then on the boat traveling, new people and adventures aplenty for a five-year-old, the uncertainty.
We have had some master chefs on the boat who taught Donna to cook, something she believed she could not do. Her new found cooking skills and love of pleasing me, and a lack of exercise have not done my waistline any good. When we got to Subic Bay I got a complete physical, well over due. Good news is that I am fit as a fiddle or actually a base fiddle as I was way over weight. One of the benefits of the Subic Bay Yacht Club is access to great places to run and a nice small gym. Now 5 months of running almost daily—wore out one pair of running shoes—and the gym 3-4 times a week along with cutting out—oh the pain—ice cream and cookies—have brought my weight down to near acceptable, lost 7kg.. and firmed up quite a bit on the weights. Pants once discarded now fit again and I feel great.
We had some great land trip this year, back on a motorcycle! We did a long ride to Donna’s village to participate in their Fiesta. Adding to the list of things I never dreamed of doing, I was a judge at a Ladyboy beauty pageant, wow! We also got a long-wanted stamp on the passports, Vietnam. We did a week-long motorcycle trip from Ha Noi north to the Chinese border. It was spectacular. Imagine that, judge at a Ms. Gay pageant and riding a vintage Soviet made motorcycle up the Ho Chi Min trail all in one year!
Civilization has also given me access to my well needed spiritual growth, I found a great group with long time recovery and see them twice a week. This completing another spoke on the wheel.
Today I turn 65, senior citizen by most accounts. To honor the number 65 I awoke at dawn, ran 6.5 kilometers, went to the gym and benched 65 kilos and made love to my darling, wonderful, less than half my age, girlfriend. I am not growing old gracefully!
So, goes the end of the seventh year of the Furthur adventure. I am reasonably fit, enjoying the growing love of a great woman and a small man and many new friends. I am healthy and happy. I am content to stay put in familiar waters yet looking forward to the next adventure.
Make Your Dream Your Story
Capt. Brian Calvert