Published in the Santa Barbara Sentinel under the pen name, Elizabeth Rose
Jason wants to sell the boat, and I don’t want to talk about it. I especially don’t want to talk about it while inside the boat where she can hear us speak of her demise.
We can’t afford to buy a slip in the Santa Barbara Harbor (true. Anyone reading have a slip for rent?), there is a very long waitlist for liveaboard slips in Ventura marinas (that may be true), and sailing the boat back to Santa Barbara – against the prevailing winds – from where we currently are in San Carlos, Mexico would be a big pain in the ass (very, very, true).
I’m working from every angle here. Researching how much it would cost to have the boat trailered back to California. We’d drive her back ourselves, but the boat is too heavy to pull with our Dodge Sprinter van, so we’d have to hire out.
And now, as we begin our second winter season of cruising the coasts of Mexico, each day is met with a bittersweet moment knowing that our time on this boat – our first home together – will come to an end.
I’m paraphrasing here, but Buddhists believe that attachment is the root of suffering, and I have to agree.
Attachment to emotions brings pain, attachment to people (especially the end of a relationship or when loved ones pass away) brings pain, attachment to drugs and alcohol brings pain to our bodies, and attachment to homes can bring lots of sorrow.
I don’t know if it’s the military-brat-turned-gypsy in me, but I’ve always realized my time in each home is limited.
So, since I’m eighteen, I’ve made a point to take a picture of every bedroom I’ve lived in: My dorm room with the twelve-foot ceilings, the quirky college apartment with slanted wooden floors, the Upper East Side one-bedroom in New York City, the charming pre-war home in Charleston, my bachelorette pad in Carpinteria.
At some point during my stay, I’ll catch the light just right and remember my time here will come to an end.
I’ll take out my camera and snap a memory knowing that one day I’ll move out of this space that has become a part of my life, never to return.
But for some reason, with our boat, it’s harder to let go.
I recently met a guy named Vinny who was sitting outside a coffee shop near the marina in San Carlos.
He’s an old-school hippie, a biker yogi from Boston, a retiree from growing pot in Northern California for forty years. He and his wife settled in Mexico six years ago.
When I learned they recently lost their boat in a hurricane last spring, my face twisted in disbelief.
But he shrugged, with little sadness in his eyes and a smile on his face. “What can you do?” he said. “That’s life.”
I asked him if losing a boat is emotionally harder than losing a house.
“Oh, absolutely! It’s a part of your soul,” he said. “With a boat, you’re constantly working on it. And, when you’re out there, it’s what keeps you alive.”
All these little deaths we experience every day and don’t even realize it: The last sip of coffee. The end of a favorite song. A sunset.
How big these moments can feel if we realize they could be the last.
I’ll try to remember this as I release my grip on our boat, prying each finger away with a heavy heart.
Because even if you never settle in one spot, there’s no place like home for those fleeting moments that you do.
If you liked this, you’d love the story of when had to let go in, Goodbye Boatlife: Selling a Boat in Mexico