I have been home for almost 2 weeks. To be honest, without my boat here, or a huge adventure to plan, I am feeling a bit disoriented. My life revolved around Haunani and the marina for 10 months, and all else took a back seat. So now with my girl gone for another 3 weeks, I am taking the opportunity to get my feet beneath me and embrace the other facets of my life that have been neglected and sorely in need of tending. It’s a bit of a disaster around here to be honest, but I am plugging away and untangling it all bit by bit. There are piles of boat stuff that were dumped willy nilly in my art studio (to streamline Haunani for my trip)…jerry cans, anchor chain, anchors, food, a dinghy, dishes, bedding, lines, gear….you name it. I basically walk by those piles with a smile and a nod and head back into denial…I am not ready for that yet. There was a pile of mail the size of Everest that I have finally tackled which feels great, but has not inspired the same motivation for the 600+ emails in my inbox (most of which are annoying spam). There is an office to move (moving back into my studio office), a business to re-boot, phone calls to make, duffels to unpack (yep, they are still sitting there), catching up with friends and family to enjoy, dogs to walk among many other things both pleasant and not.
As I wander around and slowly tackle my re-entry and all of my responsibilities, I think often about the other sailors in the race. How are they all doing with re-entry? How are they feeling about what they just accomplished now that it is 2 weeks in our wake? It seems so strange to share such a transformational experience with 23 other humans and then only have a few days to really get to know them (although I thankfully got to spend quality time with some of them). In those few days, everyone (well I can only really speak for myself but am assuming their experience was similar) was so tired, catching up with family, sleeping and trying to process the magnitude of what we just accomplished., that “tree time”(sunset gatherings every evening on the beach in Hanalei) and the banquet were the only times we really got to be with each other. I cannot tell you how much I loved those times.
I felt a mix of awe and relief when in their presence. I was in awe of all of these brave souls that put themselves out there in a way that few people even dream of. I was in awe of their collective experience and courage. I was in awe of the various ways they coped with the stresses of their respective journeys. I truly felt as though I was in the presence of greatness. What I was most in awe of was the collective humility of this group of strong men. Being with them was so beautiful, because each was so truly humble and kind. I felt that there was a lovely sweetness and gentleness that pulsed through this group of guys, and I will be forever imprinted by that energy! The relief I felt came in the moment I let down and realized I was actually a PART of this group. I am not sure if it was nerves, being the only woman, or my own annoying habit of thinking everyone else is always “better” at things than I am, but either way, at the skipper’s meeting in SF, I felt a bit like an outsider. When I first walked up to “tree time” and into their midst, I sadly carried that nervous feeling with me. It was swiftly blown to smithereens though, as all of those kind, lovely people and their families embraced me and welcomed me into my place in their midst. Between the other racers, their families and the race committee, I felt I was surrounded by some of the coolest and most real people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. The camaraderie was wonderful, but what struck me the most was the sense that all of a sudden we were a tribe, and that we would do anything to help and support each other. I certainly felt supported. For example, I had a team of new friends who helped me re-anchor my boat (no small feat by the way) and was so happy to do the same for them. There was always someone (or many people) who was more than willing to help me do whatever needed to be done from dinghy rides to fixing stuff. I am especially grateful to Bill Meanley, John Woodworth, Barry Bristol and Mike Jefferson for taking this greenhorn under their respective wings at various times to offer advice, support and buckets of kindness. Then there are my PSSA buddies Yves Vergnolle and Joe Barry, who have a very special place in my heart. When I saw them each for the first time after our journey (and strangled them with giant hugs), I felt like our friendships deepened in that moment. Seeing them was like coming home from being homesick at summer camp and seeing your family for the first time. I felt like I was coming into to a familiar safe anchorage just by seeing their faces. For the entire week in Kauai, I felt so buoyed by their presence and am so grateful for their kindness and friendship. It makes me emotional just writing about it. Thank you guys…..I am truly so grateful for you both (and JOE!!…good luck on your return journey, my hat is off to you)! I also want to shout out to Kristen, Susan, Carliane and Brian, who all went above and beyond for all of us. I can still feel Kristen’s seemingly bottomless joyful energy as she zipped around. Her enthusiasm, energy, smile and willingness to help without hardly a break blew my mind. Susan with her calm and grounding presence always made me feel like everything was under control! And Carliane......though we had only just met, that hug you gave me when I first saw you made my day....not to mention our kick ass framed photos! And then there is Brian….always there with his steadfast calm energy and mad skills. I don’t think he slept at all, and was always present for anyone who needed anything large or small. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!
I miss everyone, and hope that our paths will cross again! My door is always open to any of you (and your families). My boat is always available for a sail for anyone who happens to be visiting Marina Del Rey! I mean it!!! Please don’t be a stranger guys!