Wednesday, January 28, 2009

St. Petersburg Update

St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

January 28, 2008

N 27 46'05.8", W 082 37'44.6"

It has been quite a month since arriving back into the United States on December 26th. We enjoyed a perfect sail up the coast of Florida from the Dry Tortugas to Venice and then on to St. Petersburg. We got settled into the marina and the kids quickly made friends, and then we were off to visit some of Susan's family in Cocoa Beach, Florida, and on to Orlando to act like tourists for a few days. Amy and Marshall even got interviewed about living on a boat during their visit to DeSoto State Park for an upcoming television special.

I had a number of repairs to make on the boat and all has gone well and we have enjoyed St. Petersburg and the marina community here a great deal. We plan on leaving in a few days to head to the Bahamas for a couple of months. We are excited to get back out to the islands to snorkel and explore. We had forgotten what it feels like to be cold and we all had to buy pants and jackets to stay warm here as Florida has experienced an unusual cold spell during our stay.

For those of you who were around when we left you will remember that our original plan was to be gone roughly a year and a half before returning home to Idaho. As we begin to sneak up on that time frame we have to fight the tendency to look to the future instead of enjoying the present. Enjoying the journey and the day is in fact one of the things we have learned on this little soire. Speaking of learning experiences, I had a number of people e-mail me at our one year anniversary and asked about what we have learned or how we have changed.

In many ways that is a difficult question to answer because the last year has presented times of great joy and others times that were quite sobering. Four people living 24/7 on a boat creates opportunity for tremendous relationship highs and lows. Like life everywhere I guess, there are pluses and minuses. But having been asked I started to make a "top ten" list, here goes;

10: I do not need the t-shirt. This is not a justification to become a nudist I am referring to the "been there, done that, got the t-shirt" mentality. I still want to "do that" but I am growing less needy of wanting to possess the t-shirt to prove it.

9: Getting "corn-holed" by your cousin is a lot of fun. While visiting with and meeting new family members on Susan's side of the family in Florida we were introduced to a lawn game which appears to be a cross between horseshoes and ladder golf. In essence you try to throw a bag of corn into a hole, hence the name. If you successfully get the bag of corn into the hole everyone yells "corn hole".

Hold the presses. While in St. Pete our good friends Kelly and Becky Stover from Boise came to visit. We had a nice time together just hanging out. The wind was fickle and the weather cold so we did not get to sail like we had hoped but none-the-less, we were together. We played cards, snuggled with the kids and like getting to know new cousins and their strange lawn games, we were reminded once again of the priceless value of family and friends. When all else in this material world disintegrates what a timeless treasure relationships are.

We all went to dinner together one night in St. Pete and after a wonderful Tapas dinner we stayed to listen to some really good live music. While listening to the music Sue and I began to dance. Not a big deal really except we were the only ones dancing. Sue looked at me with a tear in her eye and said, "I am so glad we have learned to dance".

She did not mean we "know" how to dance. In fact we would tell you that we both have two left feet. Neither of us grew up dancing and we would certainly never have taken to the dance floor by ourselves before this trip. In our journey we have meet many who seem to be running from something in their lives. We have learned that we went sailing not to escape from life but to keep life from escaping us. For us that has meant learning to dance.

8-1: Dance. We won't pass up the opportunity to dance. I know many of you can remember a time when you saw someone dancing, maybe even by themselves, when no one else was. Their arms may have been in the air and they seemed oblivious to the fact that lots of people were watching them, but not joining them. We used to observe that person from afar, but from now on we may be that person as we have realized that they are simply dancing to what their heart feels and not as concerned about what others think or do.

As we head out to the Bahamas on what appears to be the final chapter of this journey we are looking for more chances to dance.

Live Slow, Sail Fast, Dance Often,

The 4Wheelers