What’s The Point?
That’s the question that’s been running through my head for the past week now.
What’s the point of cruising on a sailboat? Does there even need to be one?
I blame the Guadiana. It’s this place that’s made me ask the question.
Last week we had friends anchored nearby. Gary and June on ‘Friendship, Ian and Jackie on ‘Rivalady’, Duncan and Pat on ‘Samji’.
‘Friendship’ and ‘Rivalady’ we first met in A Coruña last year, we all wintered in Lagos, that’s where we met Duncan and Pat.
On the face of it we’re all doing the same thing, living the dream.
There are differences though. We all got here different ways, we all have different reasons for being out here, we all have different ambitions and goals, we all have different levels of responsibility for other people and other things.
It’s not for me to talk about what others are doing, I can only tell you about us.
Why are we doing what we’re doing?
Is it to challenge ourselves? Push ourselves a little physically and mentally?
No, not really. I’m happy to do that when the need arises, but I’ll do my best to avoid it happening. Gail certainly doesn’t want to.
Is it to do nothing? Become true boat bums, just sitting around all day chilling out?
No, that’s not it. Gail mocks me for not being able to sit still and although she’ll happily wile away a day with a good book, it’s not a long term plan. We were put on this planet to do stuff.
Is it to see as many places as possible in the time we have left?
To a degree, we both enjoy exploring and experiencing new places.
Is it about meeting new people and making new friends?
It’s not a reason in itself, rather it’s a nice bonus. Even for an anti-social introvert like me it’s unavoidable. It’s welcome of course, and particularly for Gail. She wouldn’t last long with just me to talk to.
Is it a quest? A search for some sort of Holy Grail?
The Gleda Project website used to have the tagline ‘in search of a better life’. I changed it for some reason, I can’t remember why. It’s a big question though and one that sits right at the heart of my original question.
Why are we living on a sailboat, where are we headed?
Well as for why we’re living on a sailboat that’s down to me, it’s a fair cop guv. No need to go over old ground, it was planned a long time ago. Gail chose to come along for the ride, without me she’d almost certainly still be living in a nice little place back in the UK, with a decent job, friends and family around her. I’m so happy she decided to come, I think she is to.
No, for me there was no choice. I had to change things, the life I was leading was unsustainable. Working crazy hard just to earn enough to pay the rent on a place where I didn’t want to be. Sliding deeper into debt and depression. It was going to end badly.
I knew there had to be something better out there and ‘Gleda’ was always going to be the vehicle for my escape.
There’s a problem with escape though. Where do you escape to? When do you stop running?
And if you set out to looking for something without knowing what it is, how in the hell are you ever going to find it?
I hadn’t really thought those questions through, I just needed to get away. I figured the answers would work themselves out. Whatever it was I was looking for I’d just know when I found it, I’d feel it.
The Guadiana has stirred that feeling.
We’ve only been here a couple of weeks though, first impressions don’t tell the full story. Sure, we’d already heard about the ‘Guadiana Glue’. Many have come before us and many are still here, some still afloat, others now rooted ashore. We’ve met quite a few of them already. It’s easy to be influenced by others……… and yet.
When you meet people who’ve spent years travelling the planet, people who tell you that a place is unique, people who tell you that they never found anywhere better to stay. It’s hard to ignore them.
We’ve already established a few things for ourselves though. This place is;
Oh, yeah, and the weather is fantastic.
So we’ve made a decision.
We’re going to stay on the Guadiana until the end of August at least. We’re going to take 3 months to explore, meet people, soak up the atmosphere, really get to know the place.
I’m going to use the time to write my next book.
‘Rivalady’ has already gone, heading to Madeira, ‘Friendship’ is leaving tomorrow to sail back towards Lagos, ‘Samji’ is away shortly bound for the Balearics. We’ll probably be moving further up river.
We’ve all made our choices.
That’s the point.
We live like this because it allows us to choose.