Another week behind me at work, and the quitting process continues, slowly but surely. I hoped for the best, but I prepared myself for the worst. I feared the possibility that people would say I am throwing my career away, that I should be making hay while the sun shines, and that I am shiftless and irresponsible. I have been pleasantly surprised, though. By and large, everyone has been surprised, excited, a little bit afraid for my life, and supportive, in that order. One of my favorite cases in point:
I am in shock. (Pause to think) I am in shock. (Pause to think) I am in shock. (Insert question/answer) I am in shock. (Insert question/answer) I am still just in shock.
You know, if my son-in-law tried to take one of my daughters out into the middle of the ocean, I would kill him. (Pause to think.) Well, I would hire a hit man. Plausible deniability.
You know, it's not every day that someone does this. A lot of people have a dream like this, but no one ever really does it.
Travel by sailboat has captured my imagination for more than a decade now, so I enjoy discussing all of the ins and outs. I, too, have analyzed 97% of the questions people come up over the course of ten years, trying to figure out how best to remain safe and how to emotionally process the risks associated with this trip. But even with that mental preparation, I re-live my analytical and emotional processes in the span of a 15-30 minute conversation.
With each question, I re-experience the high of dreaming about how long it will take to circumnavigate, what it will be like to eat a fish caught straight out of the ocean, and what it will be like to spend my days exploring countless exotic places. I also re-experience the emotional low of imagining what might happen if my marriage falters, Andrew is lost over board, one of us have a medical emergency at sea, the boat sinks, or we are taken by pirates. People tell me wonderful stories of the time they captured a dream, or they tell me sad stories about the time someone they knew waited too long and lost opportunity to either illness or death.
Normally, I don't think one co-worker would ask another co-worker what would they do if their spouse was suddenly missing and presumed dead. We wouldn't ask each other how our marriages will survive day-to-day. The unique nature of this trip causes all of us to cast aside the typical boundaries between co-workers and enter the more welcome conversation amongst friends. It is my favorite part of this process.
By the end of each day, I sit in my silent car all by myself to recover. It is the same exhaustion that I feel after a good long mountain bike ride. Tired, ready for a beer, chips and salsa, but satisfying.