Sunday, 5 July 2015

The dubious luxury of options

I always thought that setting off for a long trip the second time would be a lot easier, what with knowing so much more about what was involved practically. This has turned out to be at least only partially true.

Seal - River Exe 
On the one hand we are of course much more experienced, have a bigger, better equipped and more comfortable boat and almost inexplicably, considering how little work we've done in the intervening years, more funds in the bank. However on the flip side, there is somehow a lack of the absolute inevitability of our previous adventure. It was my dream and had the momentum of years of thought behind it. There was simply an unstoppable nature about it which over-rode any second thoughts or alternative options.

We have Beatrice now of course, who together with joy and love and wonder brings a layer of practical complication and emotional considerations, but the crew also brings her own helping of doubt and fear and plain old fashioned hormones into the equation.

We have been unsettled in one way or another for the last 10 years or so; never being in one place for more than about 18months. This does take its toll. The part of us that wants to settle somewhere increasingly fights with the part that wants to take advantage of Beatrice's early years to wander and adventure. Also for me there is the almost inevitable consequence of living a land bound existence that is Work.

Bread art
Conversely, Lucia feels slightly cheated out of being able to practice as an engineer and while living a life of leisure is undoubtedly pretty good for most of the time, the undeniable fact of it being an existence without much intrinsic value can begin to worm its way into wider considerations for the future.

Well, throw all that in a pot and simmer. What you get are some moments of serious reflection on whether we're doing the right thing. This can be an incendiary recipe when served with seasickness, lack of sleep and a pinch of fear, usually but not exclusively on the part of the crew.

The unlikely outcome of this is that I've probably been enjoying the trip so far rather less than Lucia as, in between outbursts, she's been fine, and I've been either racked with guilt at dragging her away afloat or braced for the next onslaught. There have been moments when I have been fairly convinced that we should head back at the end of the Summer and just do something else.

But then it passes...
On the way to the Channel Islands

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