Thursday, May 21, 2009

4Wheeler sailing update

Home at Last

After wandering around Central America, Mexico and the Bahamas for the last 17 months (496 days), having traveled 12,186 miles, visiting 9 countries and 16 states we have finally arrived home. Our journey, both by land and sea, has been a life changing experience and we remain profoundly humbled by the blessing of such a great family adventure.
The kids have loved moving back into their rooms and seeing our cat Ike. Marshall has constructed every known Lego figure possible and routinely runs up to show off his latest creation. Amy is also enjoying her new elbow room and after going through all her cloths (yes she tried them all on) found only 10 things that still fit. I guess that is what happens when you go from a little girl to a young lady.
Susan and I are overwhelmed by the house and all the stuff. After living on the boat with all our possessions in a closet no bigger than the average entryway closet the excess of our house seems a little silly. Susan assures me that I will turn back into a consumer once again but it is amazing to us how happy and content you can be without all the stuff. Living on a boat, even one as large as ours, may seem spartan to some but we lacked for nothing and we were very content. Perhaps the hardest thing to get used to is how quiet the house is at night and that nothing is moving.
I wanted to close this final "sailing" update by saying thanks again for your thoughts and prayers over the last year. They were much appreciated and tangibly felt. Having been gone for so long we are eager to reconnect with friends, and with no summer plans our schedule is wide open, so put us back on your party invite list and social calendar. We are well rested and ready to kick up our heels again.
Thanks for journeying with us over the last year and a half. We are blessed to have you as friends.

The 4Wheelers
Mark, Susan, Amy & Marshall

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Going Home

Going Home


The concept of going home holds for me many warm thoughts and appealing images, yet the idea of "home" has always intrigued me. It seems in most cultures home is usually associated with a dwelling or specific piece of geography. The significance of the permanency or stability of "home" as a place is not lost to me, but living on a boat taught us that home is less about place and more about people. We were home on Mima and it felt that way because we were a family. The "mobile" home that Mima provided gave us the opportunity to explore and adventure outside our own paradigms and by so doing we expanded our understanding of self and the world around us.  

In a broader context however, we are realizing that being back home in the United States is truly a delight. We are enjoying many of the luxuries of living in the U.S. that we used to take for granted. Smooth roads, abundant potable water, a really good steak and readily available goods and services have made us feel like we are being treated as royalty simply by being here. Even in these trying economic times the general ease with which life takes place in the U.S. is nothing short of exceptional.

As I write this we are in northeast Montana 65 miles from the Canadian border. Over the last few weeks we have traveled from Florida, visiting National Parks, historic landmarks, a Presidential Library and a host of other notable and interesting locations covering almost 4000 miles. Marshall still asks, "Dad how far are we driving today" and once an answer is given he quickly computes how many hours we will travel on land versus how many days it would have taken at sea. This new life at 60 miles per hour is still taking a while for us to get used to.

The hours spent driving have allowed us all to reflect on our time sailing and like happens so often the trials of the journey seem to be fading into the distance and the triumphs are becoming treasured memories. We are all missing the ocean and the amazing environment it is and the opportunities it afforded us as a family.

The lessons learned at sea would be hard, if not impossible, to replicate on land and the people and places we visited have forever shaped who we are. We are almost "home" and as we look forward to being back in familiar surroundings we find ourselves thinking about and longing for the slower and less structured life of a sailor. Whether the kids will ever "go" to sea again only time will tell, but for Susan and me we sincerely hope that life will afford us the opportunity to set sail again to explore more of this amazing world we live in.


Thanks for journeying with us over the past 16 months, the 4Wheelers