We woke early this morning, and strapped on our backpacking backpacks. It was time for an urban trek to the CityClub to provision with groceries and a few odds and ends for our sail southward from Cabo San Lucas to the Galapagos Islands. As we walk through the garage type doors, we looked across a clean, brightly lit warehouse that looks exactly like Costco. Instead of the typical American brands we are familiar with, it is filled with Mexican candy, sodas, sauces, canned goods, etc. We try to decipher cough medicine from nasal decongestant, all in Spanish. "I doubt this is FDA approved," I think to myself.
Soon, our oversized shopping cart is completely filled and we head to the checkout counter. We pay and push the cart outside. "Taxi, sir?" Andrew declines, we are on a cruiser's budget, you know? We proceed to pack 100 lbs each into our backpacks. In addition, Andrew carries in his arms a case of Pacifico, a box of ramen noodles, a bag of tortilla chips and noise cancelling headphones. I carry in my arms a box of chocolate covered marshmallows, Oreos, a palate of 36 eggs, and a large canister of clorox wipes. We hoof it the half mile back to the boat. The tourists watched us go by, and the Mexicans who had been offering us necklaces, cigars (or weed), and Iguanas all week, now shouted out to Andrew: "Hey buddy, are you selling Pacifico!" And to me, with shock and dismay: "Oh, Lady, can I help you!?" See prior posts about Mexican men's concern over me carrying things. I wish I had a brought a camera to take a picture of this nonsense, but then again, I don't. I didn't have any hands left anyway. We remove as much packaging as possible, and pack everything away into the boat.
With all of our work done, I settle down to write a few blog posts. I am feeling a familiar feeling, a mixture of nerves and hutzpah. It feels exactly like preparing to execute a new dive.
When I was a kid, I was a springboard diver. Before trying a new dive, we would do drills, strength train and practice the movements on land. You can only do that so long, though, and eventually, it was time to try it out. I would climb the ladder to the board, and dry my hands and legs off one more time with the clammy, rubbery shammy towel. My toes would grab at the gritty texture of the diving board. I would always get a knot beneath that spot where the two sides of my ribcage meets. I would take one big breath in, and as I exhaled, I would envision all stages of the dive going well. Then, I would pick one element of the dive to focus on, shift my weight forward on the balls of my feet and take a step. Once I took the first step, my body would automatically continue with the second, third, fourth… Now I have momentum in my favor, and before I know it, I am in the air. There is nothing to be done, but to execute the plan as best that I can.
It would be so easy, so comfortable, to turn left and head into the Sea of Cortez. I could even justify it. Mexico has been fun, and everyone says that Mazatlan, Cancun, Acapulco, and Puerto Vallarta are great. We could take short hops down the mainland west coast, to Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panama. Then *maybe* we could head offshore to the Galapagos and the Marquesas. The jump from sixty miles off shore to six hundred is a mental hurdle that isn’t easy. The break in period last month was not easy. Sailing, taking night watches, relying on only yourself and your boat is more nerve wracking than I imagined it to be before we left.
But, this is why we must jump off from Cabo San Lucas now. Rip the bandaid off, get moving, let the springboard take us into the air and then execute as best we can. We have been practicing for years now. The boat is strong and well prepared. We are healthy, the weather is good, and the season is right. We will be no more prepared next week, next month, or next year than we are today. If you stop at the end of the diving board, turn around and start the dive again, you are just delaying the same inevitable process of hurdling your body into space to see what happens. Even worse, if you climb down the stairs and off the board, you will never know if you would have been successful.
So, off we go. We will be away from internet (and land) for about 10-20 days so we will be slow to respond to comments or emails. In the meantime, the blog posts will focus on our backstory. When people find out this dream has been in the works for more than a decade, their eyes get wide with surprise. “Wow, that’s a long time. How did you pull this off?” They ask.
How does any project get launched? Whether you approach it systematically or it happens by instinct, the process is always much the same. A successful launch can be divided into five phases
- Concept Development: i.e. settling on a big idea to commit your time.
- Research and planning: i.e. figuring out what you need to implement the idea.
- Asset analysis: i.e. figuring out what assets you already have that will help and what assets you are missing.
- Acquisition: i.e. acquiring the skills, attitudes and/or objects needed to complete the idea.
- Implementation: i.e. launching your idea and making the most of it.
Each phase requires a mixture of focus and flexibility; drive and patience; tracking progress and adjusting next steps; faith in your self and faith in the process. You must think and talk about your project on a frequent basis, and most importantly, you must do at least one thing in the direction of your dream every single day.
There is no way we can describe ten years worth of this process in one blog post. So, anytime we are away on a long passage or there is nothing interesting going on, we will describe how it all came together. We will fill you in on everything, including how we learned to sail, financed the dream, and prepared ourselves, our relationship, and the boat to be strong enough to circumnavigate (we hope). While this blog has a lot of sailing and travel involved, we are hoping it can help you or inspire you in the direction of your own grand master plan, too.