This is the report I save until last, and it has the least real information, but it is my favorite to do, and the hardest. I look back at the last year and go wow! The things I have learned and experienced in this life changing year.
alone on a white sandy beach, common here
We have centered our cruising range down quite a bit, the central part of the Philippines has become our home, marina bound half the year and cruising the other half. This has brought back some missing grounding. Now I have friends I see often and regularly, not the zapping past type I experienced in the years of constant travel. There is a feeling of “home” I get in the three major places we go: Subic Bay, Puerto Galera and Coron. At each stop we spend time with the friends we have collected over the last 4 years. I like that!
joy that money cannot buy
Along with my new “homes” I have a new family, a big one! I have become connected with Donna’s family, both the immediate 4 sisters, parents and grandmother but also the Barangay in which they live. I am known to all as Tito Brian and loved, I like that as well. I cannot describe the over flow of emotion and warmth I get from dishing out ice cream to the local kids, who always come running when I arrive. The hugs, the kiss on the cheek from the little neighbor girls, man you just cannot buy that kind of rush. Ok you can, it costs a bucket of ice cream hahaha. For the cost of that ice cream you get more than you do out of years of therapy I bet.
The internal conflict I struggled with for the last year is the raging battle between my fears, long established and well-founded fears of marriage vs my love’s dreams. As I wrote in my blog, dreams should always win. It was with that revelation that I dropped to my knees and proposed in front of 35 “family” members one warm August evening. She said YES.
“What do you mean NO?  now guess who said it!
I do believe the greatest change has come in my eager willingness to accept a son. Like marriage, my experiences with “step kids” have not gone that well, never easy and often heart breaking. Then came Piam. There is no conflict, no resentment, no testing and no limits to how much I love him, and he loves me. He is such a great age, ready for adventure and fun. I simply have blast with him. Just when I thought I was running out of adventures he comes along and opens up a whole new world of possibilities. With him we have found a balance as well. He loves his family and home, there is not “rescuing” to do there for sure. He also loves his boat time and has become quite the good crew. The other day he had Donna live video “his room” to show his friends at school where he sleeps on the boat along with a walking tour of the boat.
Ahh but what about the boat? Was I to be like other cruisers who found the missing romance in their lives and gave up on the boat? No way! Donna and Piam love the cruising life as much as I do, Donna is not one to sit in one place very long. We have found a balance I do cherish.
As in each year the boat has provided many lessons. When we have problems with this or that, or hassle getting parts, I always revert to the knowledge that “it will all turn out OK”. The Philippines have turned out to be the best place since the USA for boat maintenance and at prices dramatically lower. I confess to a degree of laziness here. I can get a job done that I could easily do, albeit with some discomfort – the old bones don’t bend like they used to—for small money. So, I opt to hire jobs done I would usually do myself. The question is easy, do I want to spend all day bent over and cussing or pay twenty bucks?
The interesting thing is that the more you learn the more you know how much you do not know. My knowledge of the boat systems is light years ahead of eight years ago, yet I am constantly learning, often by mistake. Often the wisdom I have is from acting without wisdom. When you come to grips with that idea it makes your screw ups easier to take. Wow I sure learned from that mess I made haha.
It is with such blessings, and I am blessed, that I enter my ninth year of cruising. As the song goes, “the future is so bright I have to wear shades”. I am one grateful guy.
Make Your Dream Your Story
Capt. Brian Calvert