We Will Know When We Get There!

Well we are back at it again and as I type this we are cruising across the banks of the Bahamas to Green Turtle Cay! Josh is at the helm and and I am recuperating after a 10hour watch of fantastic sail across an only slightly bumpy gulf stream.
I can’t begin to describe the beauty of the deep clean blue of the ocean between Florida and the Bahama Banks. As Full Moon pushes her way through the swirling waves and small sweeps we can see from the distance where the Banks start, you know you have arrived based on the distinct turquoise line in the water. The makes it appear as if they are are oil and water prevented by their make up from blending together… Absolutely amazing. Did I take a picture? Of course not. I would love to tell you I had a good excuse; it would ruin the ambiance, it can’t be captured on camera, water spirits came and stole my camera when I tried to take a picture, or I was afraid of getting the camera wet. But surprising none of these are true, I have simply because lazy about taking pictures.
Last year we barely took any pictures of our time in the Bahamas and we didn’t blog a bit. In attempts to make amends we now have a waterproof camera hoping it will encourage us to take more opportunities to share our lives with you, our obviously dedicated readers who have stuck with us despite a year of blatant neglect on our part.

For those of you would like a very brief over view of what we have been up to in the last year here it is.
January of 2013 We took Full Moon on here first trip to the Bahamas traveling with a few other boats along the the way; Bay Tripper, Amicus II, Mambo, Paragrine, Silver Lining, Wildest Dreams. We crossed from Miami to Bimini then worked our way south to the Exumas where we spent most of our time. We made it to Georgetown, we found fascinating in it’s own way although it was kinda like a day camp for retirees.  After a month or so we stated working our way back north back through the Exumas, over to Nassau, then turn Eluthra, and finally the Abacos before heading back to the states in April.
We put Full Moon on the hard at Green Cove Springs and made it back to Washington State to surprise our moms for mother’s day. We stayed the summer to pickup some work and spend time with our families until November. Once back on the boat we attended to some much needed maintenance on a couple rusted holes in the bow of the hull. Josh also added a table, a tools storage compartment in the vberth, and did some work on the engine. We chased rust spots around in circles, I made a new mainsail cover, and we made lots of new friends.
Full Moon has a new Rocna anchor and a wind generator as well!

So as I said we are once again in the Bahamas with Bay Tripper at our side. We have plans for spear fishing (Bay Tripper caught a Mahi Mahi on his troll line right as we hit the banks today), conch diving, lobster hunting, coconut gathering, beach combing for shells and sea beans. And since we all know the true definition of cruising is working on your boat in exotic ports I guess we will make a little time for that as well. How long will we stay in the Bahamas? Until we are ready to go somewhere else.  And what is next? We will know when we get there!

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Georgetown And The Poison Wood Tree

We have been here in Georgetown for about 2 weeks, enjoying the town, the people,  and the free water provided by the local market for cruisers. I can completely understand how people can spend the whole winter here. There are daily activities such a yoga, beach walks, bon fires, basket weaving classes, est…  to keep you busy. As long as you are awake by 8 am and have your radio tuned to channel 72 you won’t miss the list of the days activities, because they are announced on the morning cruisers net. It feels like day camp for adults! It’s an interesting environment and we have made some good new friends. The more wa came across people heading south we found ourselves tempted to continue on from here. We spent a week playing with the idea of preparing to head toward Panama, we attended a couple meetings, and Josh bought a used tiller pilot for Full Moon.
We were getting excited but stopped ourselves and took a good look at the living conditions for underway time. Full Moon doesn’t have a sea berth, we are still finding all kinds of things that fly around the cabin. Our galley is not very safe for underway cooking, and we would like a better berth if we took on an extra crew member. We have quite a bit of exterior work to do as well. Finally we decided to chock this trip off as a good shake down cruise and head back to the states the end of the season.
Today (Feb. 20) we hung out on Peregrin, a sailing vessel we met a couple days before Georgetown. They are another young couple which is always fun since there aren’t many of us out here. Another young guy who single hands his boat ” Island Belle” stopped buy to see if we were interested in going for a hike on the island. Sure, sounds like fun, and everyone could use a chance to get off the boats. We dingyied into a little hurricane hole and found what looked like it may have been a trail at one time. We tied the dingies off to a tree and pushed through the brush until we found a real trail. We hiked to the beach and then back into another trail heading toward a monument on the top of the island. Along the side of the trail We found a tree with a sign on it “This is Poison Wood” hmmm that doesn’t sound good. Trevor from Peregrin noted that the tree looked familiar and we may have pushed through one of these on our way through the brush! Well we wwould double check on the way back to the dingies. We made it to the top of the island and got a beautiful view of the harbour. As we walked back we took special notice of the details of the poison wood tree. Once we found our “trail” to the dingies we found that we tromped through several of these trees! Yikes!  As soon as we made it back to Peregrin Trevor pulled up the internet, the signal wasn’t strong but we got the impression that it was not good and we needed to try to get any of the oil that could possibly be on us. We scrubbed up with soap and jumped in the water hoping the sharks would not mistake us for a tasty snack. We were slightly relieved that none  of us were itchy and rashy until we found out the the rash can take up to 3 days to show up and is twice as bad as poison ivy.
So here we are waiting for the torture to begin, delaying our departure from Georgetown incase we break out inthe middle of a sail.

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Password Fixed

I posted my last blog from the phone and didn’t realize I put a password on it. I fixed the problem and you can now view the last blog post. Sorry about the inconvenience!

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Enjoining the Work of Simple Living(posted about 5 days late)

Here we are in the Bahamas “living the dream” as many have said. I am amazed at how easy and how much work it is at the same time. Sometimes this life feels like an endless stream of cleaning and cooking and cleaning some more but really Josh and I get to do amazing things. Yesterday we moved anchorages to catch up with Bay Tripper who was ready to do some skin diving for conch. Mike came over in his dingy while we were still setting anchored to make sure we were game for the hunt. We set out at about slack tide to hopefully find enough for dinner. After donning our gear we snorkeled around for awhile over a mixture of reef and sandy bottoms with eagle rays and other beautiful fish gliding under us. Josh and Mike found the first conch which was barely detectable amongst the sand, coral, and grass. As I swam away from the determined to contribute a brightly colored object caught my attention, from a little closer it looked likeep some sort of tribal mask. I honed in on the object the then began to move transforming into a horrifying sea spider thing! “SWIM  AWAY” my will to live screamed at me! So I did as fast as I could for about 20 seconds with my curiosity said ” Wait! Maybe we could eat that!” I called to Josh to let him know I found what may have been a lobster, not super egar to find out by myself what it really was. Mike (our primary dive guy and only one of us with gloves rushed over and quickly agreed that yes indeed it was a spiny tailed lobster before he dove down to retrieve the clawless creature. Josh brought the dingy over and Mike tossed the monster into the bucket. I came across another lobster that was not so willing to join us for dinner and hid under some coral. We found several more empty conch shells and right as we were about to head in Josh spotted a conch scooping along the bottom.
After 3 hours of hunting we ended up with 2 conch and 1 spiny tailed lobster. Not enough for dinner for 5 people so we turned it into a pot luck and invited a couple from a neighbouring boat the we met yesterday. We enjoyed a great feast and wonderful company!
It was an interesting day that left us with excited anticipation for another day of scavaging!

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Repurpose Me! Travel Mugs

Since we are living on limited space we can’t afford to keep things on the boat that don’t have at least one purpose, and since we are living on limited budget we can’t really afford to just throw things away once they are no longer working or needed for their original purpose. This gives us an opportunity to stretch and apply our creative thinking skills. As we come across items that we need to find a new use for  we will be putting up a new blog post with the title “Repurpose Me!”  and a description of the item, along a picture. We would love to hear how our readers would repurpose things (maybe we can steal some ideas) as well as suggestions as how we could use them on a boat.

With that said we have 2 travel mugs that we got shortly after we arrived in VA, we found that they make everything taste like heavily scented soap, and have given up after trying all the tricks. We looked at reviews for them and it turns out that it actually the mug not something we did to it. It has a stainless steel exterior and a plastic interior, it really is leak proof, which makes it water tight and good for something on a boat.we just aren’t sure what yet. We are willing modify them in order to make them useful if anyone has a good idea please let us know!

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Trying To Slow Down Enough To Process

People say that hind sight is 20/20 but this past year has gone so quickly for me I almost feel like it ran past me when I wasn’t looking! I was craving a fresh breath of life more than I could even say, with the enthusiasm for excitement was shining in my eyes people could feel the energy radiating off of me. My friends could not help but notice my antsy behavior as I began getting rid of my possessions, which at first was not as easy as I thought it would be. I started by pulling out things I had absolutely no attachment to and putting them into “to go” boxes, letting whoever asked about the box dig through it and pull things out. The more time Josh and I spent on our little adventures (midnight motorcycle rides, spelunking, camping, skydiving…) I could feel the need to indulge in my adventurous nature. Anything that seemed to tie me to one spot felt like a burden. I began seeking out people who were moving into new apartments and bringing them straight to my storage, filling up their cars with whatever I could convince them to take.

I am not typically the type to live or travel with others, but with Josh’s willingness to involve me in his life, his patience to teach me about sailboats and our mutual desire to travel/live unconventionally; “my adventure” turned into “our adventure”. Since I had not anticipated a companion and I am not accustom to making joint decision this has provided many new growing opportunities for me. I learn more about my strengths and am encouraged to work on my weakness when I hear about them through Josh’s prospective. I appreciate the support he gives me to become more confident in my capabilities.

Everyday we find more to be thankful for! We meet so many people who seem to just be waiting for young people to share a lifetimes worth of acquired wisdom with. We happily glean as we listen to their stories about sailing, traveling, relationships working, and life lessons, storing their experiences away for a rainy day. As some of them reminisce they do so as they have not had an opportunity to talk in years, starting out modestly waiting for us to lose interest. Once they see our genuine desire to hear what they have to say they continue pouring out one memory after another the topic and types of lessons changing as they refer to different times in their life. Hours roll by as the conversations continue, and we try to absorb what they are sharing with us. I am often amazed at how interested others are in hearing about our lives since I feel like I have so little to share in comparison. I am always impressed by those who are honest enough to talk about their mistakes and what they learned from them. We definitely have received many tangible blessings since we have started this journey, but being someone who is a bit stingy when it comes to opening up to someone and really letting them see me; I consider these times to be some of the most encouraging and valuable blessings.


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So I’ve been slowly digging away at the plywood that acts as the cabins roof. Every time I take a little more out I feel like it just means that much more work and structural integrity lost.

Stbd side cabin roof soft spot

I asked a friend of ours to take a look, He has been a house inspector and done work on his own boat as well. I wanted a real opinion, He said “when in doubt, cut it out” we talked it all over a while and went back and forth on all my thoughts. He very patiently waited until I had finished spilling everything then told me that if it needs to go then just get rid of it. No reason to take so long in slowly going in. If it needs structural bracing then it needs it, just build it back into it while I’m putting it all together. It was a push that was good to get. I have been going back and forth on how far to cut in and that I still want to do it correctly but don’t want to lose the structural integrity that is needed. He is right though, so I cut a hole that encased the entire area that is in question.

Starboard cabin roof soft spot

I hoped it would reveal nice dry wood I would be able to work with… NO! It is still almost to the point of dripping in some places, the thing I’m seeing now though is that it all looks to be very solid just soaked in water at this point. I don’t see any de-lamination what so ever.

Can see the wet spots along the fresh cut edge

I’m going to let it sit overnight with a small space heater/fan in the cabin to see how it dries then tackle it tomorrow. I’m hoping it will dry nicely and I will be able to begin cutting it for scarfing the new pieces on. Another problem that I haven’t quite figured out yet, there are bolts holding the cabin roof down every four inches that are held in place by a receiving nut. I’m not able to reach the nut because there is wood structure on the cabin interior sides that I don’t really want to attempt to dismantle, I don’t feel that it would come off nicely to replace. So at this point it looks like I’ll probably be cutting the bolts out then trying to figure out another fastener to use. As of right now all I can think of is using an epoxy or something like 5200, an adhesive meant to never come off. I’m hoping to figure out a mechanical fastener to use if possible. I’ve located a total of three spots and it looks like only one is very extensive so far.

Forward cabin roof soft spot

Port side cabin roof soft spot

I’ll dig into them a bit more once I feel confident that the big one is in a place that will work. If I feel structural support will be required the couple thoughts I’ve come up with are to possibly laminate an extra layer of plywood under and/or over the entire area, that would allow for a platform at the base of the mast for a person to work all the halyards and winches that conveniently are right above the hole.  Another thought was to run a couple supporting pieces across the bottom then use them as some sort of useful structure.

Shea looking at the large hole I cut, see the entry way to the V birth

Maybe some place to hold charts, problem with that would be that it’s kinda in a passage way, I already can’t stand up perfectly straight inside, I would probably hit my head all the time if I put something in there that hung down.

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Shea- Special Delivery

Over the last week and a half Josh and I have spent our evenings in the Slip Holders Lounge cooking meals, using the internet, and most importantly staying warm! We have spent several of those evenings looking at heaters for the boat, we have gone back and forth over what kind we might get and how much we were willing to spend. We usually head to bed thinking we can just tough it out until we head south only to come back the lounge the next night and pull up the links we have open to different heaters. We had narrowed it down to the Heat Pal 5000 but still couldn’t convince ourselves to shovel out the $200 to pay for it. While we hymed and hawed over it Josh pulled up some pictures of the heater on google, the newer models are plain stainless steel while the older models caught my eye whith their vibrant fire red and retro orange paint! If we are going to get one I like the fun ones. Like usual we ended the evening saying we will keep it in mind and decide later.

Yesterday while Josh was working on making more cupboards in the head and I was going through some of the cleaning supplies that was left on the boat we heard a knock on the hull, I climbed out and peaked over the side. “Merry Christmas!” I was greeted by two of our new friends that we have been having lunch with, one of them was holding a flame red and retro orange Heat Pal 5000 with a red bow on the side! They brought us an early Christmas present, the vintage heater belonged to his grandpa and was in excellent condition! We were so surprised, just as I was thinking it is amazing how God provides one of them said “You didn’t know angels made special deliveries did you?” We put are work aside and eagerly joined our friends for lunch while they showed us how the heater worked.

The grinder we have been waiting for to do some of the cabin top work showed up and the stanchions were move during lunch, so I could finish painting the hull. Josh got as far as he could on the cupboard and we wrapped things up for the day just in time for the sun to go down as we headed up to lounge to make dinner.

It has really been astonishing how the path has laid since we found Full Moon! We have met so many  encouraging and supportive people since we have started this journey, I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Update Hygiene: Today we scrubbed our scalps with baking soda and used apple cider vinegar to condition our hair, My hair smelled like the vinegar until it dried. Hair and scalp feels clean and soft and was much easier to brush after using the vinegar.

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Josh – Work on the cabin top

I’ve been working on the cabin top since we arrived here just about and I finally know how I’m going to go about fixing it. So far I’ve cleaned out most of the rotten wood I could find and tore off the trim pieces that seemed to play a major roll in the moisture seepage. Shea and I have also spent some time scraping the old paint off, though we still have a lot to go before I think it will be ready to begin the rebuild portion.

After talking with the yard boss about it and getting some ideas going I’ve finally settled on cleaning the entire top of everything including the vents, hatches, and paint. Once everything is cleaned off I’m going to laminate some new plywood in place of what needs to be removed then fiberglass the entire top and rap it down to the steel cabin sides. Once all that is finished nicely, I plan to wrap the entire thing with teak so the fiberglass won’t peel or allow water to come back up behind it. I plan to get some pictures of the project and keep things updated along the process.

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Shea- Adjusting To Life On A Boat (On Shore)

After all the planning we are finally here in VA and have been living on the boat for a week and a half! Despite my curse of always sitting next to the crying child on the plane our flights went well (he only cried for about 10 minutes)! Thanks to Josh’s Navy buddy we got a ride up to Lancaster and unpacked our stuff. We have met a lot of friendly people around here one of them being the women who works at the poolside cafe right across the driveway from Full Moon. She has let us barrow her car and invited us over for Christmas!

There is something to get done everyday and I can honestly say I have not been bored since we got here. I am learning lots of new things; like how to prep a hull for applying a new coat of bottom paint, and that I am allergic to the dust of the paint that I sanded off the bottom of the hull, and how to cook meals using one pot.

The other night I found out that we are “Come Latelies” ; this not a title I am too fond of and yet can relate to the feelings behind it. Anyone who knows me well knows I have a bad attitude towards people that move onto the Island and think that they are now islanders. At this point I see God’s sense of humor in giving me such a desire to travel because I will always be in the roll of the new comer relying on the friendliness of the locals to give the inside info on the best restaurants and interesting places to go that aren’t full of tourist.

Update Hygiene:

It has been almost 3 weeks since either Josh or I washed our hair with shampoo and I am very surprised to find that our hair is not greasy at all and doesn’t seem to smell bad (sniff tested by Josh)!

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Shea- This One Is For The Ladies (men can read too but it might be tmi)

Hi Girls (and overly curious men),

This is a post I made on a menstrual cup forum about my experience with menstrual cups. It might seem strange to you that I use  reusable cup instead of a pad  or tampons (I do use pads sometimes but only clothe ones I have made myself ), and it might be even more weird that I would want to share that information; but they have made being cursed with a vexing menstrual cycle so much less of a hassle I almost forget when I am on it! I get less cramps, I don’t have leaks, I only have to check it every 12hrs, I can’t feel it when it’s its inserted, no more icky period smell! I would highly recommend at least looking into them if not trying one fore yourself!  Please feel free to share this with other girls and guys if they are really that interested.

“This year has been an interesting year for me as I made my first new years resolution ever; In 2011 I will try new things! Much to my surprise my list of new experiences this year ranges from a coffee enema to skydiving! At some point during the beginning of the year I went ahead and threw a menstrual cup in there just to see what  it was like. I have been doing the Goldilocks thing and now have 5 out of the 6 cups I have purchase in my hunt for “Ah, this cup is just right” moment.

The first cup I ordered was a MeLuna  glitter medium soft cup which I couldn’t even get in (“This cup’s rim is too big”). The second cup was a small orange Fleurcup but every time I had it in I felt like I had to pee (“This cup is too firm”) I also tried baring down like I was going #2 and it popped out , in order to avoid a fishing adventure I had to take it out  when I used the restroom! Determined, I did some stretching and gave the MeLuna cup a try again and with a twist and a pinch and another twist I got it in! “VICTORY” I cried as I stood tall and proud with my cup properly inserted for a bloody battle. Unfortunately I found that the with all the twisting an pinching I often caught my skin making my body slam the door shut leaving my poor little cup out in the cold. Back to looking at cups and really liking how the soft MeLuna felt once inserted I decided to try a couple more of their cups. I got a large purple classic cup (“This cup is too big and too firm”) and a large cyan soft cup (“this cup is too big”).

I was so disappointed thinking I would be fighting my body every time I tried to put my glitter cup in, when I noticed that the wonderful people at Meluna had changed the shape of their cups as well as the size of the lip! My heart leaped for joy that I might be able to use a cup that didn’t make me feel like I needed to run to the bathroom, would slide in place easily and would stay in place!  After an hour of deliberation between the new small and the new medium I ordered a small pink MeLuna soft basic which was put into my hands by the wonderful woman at the post office yesterday! The heavens parted and beams of sunlight lit up the beautiful brown package as I held this valuable treasure “God bless you, Post Lady”. I raced home to find that they slipped in a medium soft cup with a ring stem sample cup as well!  I cooked them up for the recommended 5 minutes before trying one out. I couldn’t be happier with the size of the cup and the way it pops open without coaxing! My small MeLuna soft cup is my new Goldilocks cup!

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Shea – Shampoo Free

We did end up getting quite a bit of packing done yesterday so took a “break” today; with Josh working on the blog and me trying to figure out what hygiene/cleaning products we are going to try using for the boat. I am enthusiastic about using Dr. Bronners Magic 18in1 soap, since we can use it for just about everything!
After doing some research Josh and I have decided to try going “no poo”, meaning we are going to stop washing and conditioning our hair to give our bodies a chance to balance out the natural oils they produce. Gross right? Maybe a little at first but we both only wash our hair once a week anyway so it doesn’t seem like too much of a change. After the first few weeks we will use baking soda and water to “wash” our hair  and apple cider vinegar to “condition” it, I  am a little excited/ anxious to see if it works!

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Shea – The Prep Work

After a month of cleaning houses for my mom, the doctors have released her to go back to work. She seemed eager to get going and I was happy to get out of her way! I really don’t mind working; but being responsible for other people’s stuff isn’t my thing. I have learned a lot more about my sister as well as myself during my detour into her world of cleaning and I am so glad to have had that time to bond with her before we left. Looking over the last 4 weeks I have found more qualities that Nichole has (and I hope to have someday) than I have seen over the previous 24 years.

Right Now I am supposed to be Filling out a mail in rebate for the Spot we just got yesterday at REI, then I am supposed to go out and start packing… for some reason drooling over enamel plated cast iron Le Creuset online is consuming my mind. I have to keep reminding myself that it is one step at a time and I have to get to the boat before I could cook with it anyway; part of getting to the boat is packing all the safety gear Josh has been hording in case he ever got his boat. Which reminds me that I need to fill out that mail in rebate for the Spot (our newest addition to the safety gear). Well I guess it is time to get started…

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Josh – The road is before me and so the waves will fallow!

Shea had been taking a break from looking for boats online as had I. We turned our focus to preparing for a backpack departure and had been trying to get the odds and ends that would benefit us in the endeavor as well as getting rid of as much as possible.

I began to get the itch for a sailboat again (like always) and I looked a little, Shea jumped right back into it and began making contact with sellers on potential boats using the criteria I had set as the “bare minimum” requirements that I desired the boat to have. During her search she found a steel hull sailboat on the east coast in Virginia. I shied off a little as it was on the wrong coast from where we were and steel being what I had worked on for the past five years just didn’t jump out at me at first. The more I thought though the more it appealed to me and the information we were getting back from the broker seemed promising. With Shea’s persistent drive and my never ending scrutiny we continued little by little. It wasn’t very long and I had enough information to (with a little needed encouragement) buy that plane ticket and fly out to check out the boat. Now expenses were something I never discard and thinking it was going to cost an arm and a leg just for lodging and transportation once I was in town I fretted a little. I kept my optimistic view though and posted on Facebook asking if there was anyone that knew of a place I could crash while I was out there, hoping that my navy buddies may help out. Well it didn’t take long, only a couple hours after the ask for help, a friend responded back offering his spare room and even the use of his truck for the small favor of watching His and his Wife’s dogs. I gladly jumped at the opportunity he allowed me and it worked out very smoothly.

While in Virginia I was able to help my buddy out around the house some and we caught up and just had a good time. When I needed to make trips up to the boat for the first look and inspection done by me, then the fallow up survey, He had no reservations in offering his truck. It was very kind of him and I couldn’t have been more thankful.

So after looking it over and rolling it around I was trying to suppress the excitement I was feeling so I wouldn’t make a rash decision. I kept the logical mind present through the entire event and could not find a good reason to throw this boat back as the owner and I poked around and conversed. He was very pleasant and seemed to know what he was talking about, he wanted to point out any defect he knew of. He genuinely cared I felt, that goes a long way in my book. It wasn’t long and I was trying to figure out why I shouldn’t buy the boat, the survey was complete and I had my warm and fuzzy that I had wanted from that. I felt pretty good from the first day I had poked around it by myself looking in every nook and cranny that I could find, the decision was made.

We set the appointment up and met the day before I flew back to Washington. I purchased the boat and was surprised at how little paperwork I had to do as apposed to the previous owners (now). They even invited Shea and I out for dinner when we get back out there to do the little work that is needed and outfit “FULL MOON” for her first voyage under her new skipper.

I’m happy to have made some new friends and I think this boat was worth the wait.

Now Shea and I are going through everything trying to figure out what we need on the boat and what we “want” on the boat then the rest gets the boot with a few things getting stored for possible use later. We have been making the “boat” pile and trying to add what may go then reducing it down over and over again. It’s getting there and I’m getting as excited as I usually get about things. I seldom jump for joy or tell others of how excited I am, I think Shea is taking care of it for both of us right now though!

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Shea – A Sidestep into the Misadventures of House Cleaning

My mom is a goer, she always has been. She has been doing house cleaning for the last 7 years with my sister (and me off and on). On an average day they clean 5-6 houses; at the end of the day they both go home to cook dinner and clean their own homes. I have not seen many people who have as much energy as my mom and sister. That is until about 10 months ago my mom started having abdominal issues. I got on the web and found one of those symptom charts and every single one told my mom to go to the hospital or call 911 immediately, to which my mom would say “Well I don’t think that is what I have.”
You see, my mom is the exact opposite of a hypochondriac; not because she honestly thinks she has amazing health, but because she doesn’t want to slow down enough to go to the doctor. Nine months later my mom finally went to the walk in clinic where they found a tumor in her uterus the size of a football pushing up into her stomach and rubbing on her esophagus. We were very relieved that it was benign but still concerned for her health as she continued to work all the way up to the day they sliced her open and removed the 4.5 lb tumor. She was release from the hospital the next day and has been home a week now.
Can you guess who has been filling in for the energizer bunny? That’s right, I have put on my ears and picked up my drum trying to go go go; barley keeping up with my sister who is not only doing her job but is making up for the things I am not getting to in time. It has been 4 years since I last worked with my mom and sister on cleaning houses and I am starting to remember exactly why I decided it wasn’t for me. On the other hand I get to enjoy the fact that people never cease to surprise me with their little quirks! I have decided I will record some of these experiences as part of learning to appreciate life for what it is and people for who they are.
Just in case you were wondering what is going on with the wandering plans; they are still in the works. I was hoping to leave at the beginning of October but due to my mom’s medical issues I put it off until she has recovered. Josh is currently over in Norfolk, VA looking at a boat. He will be meeting with the surveyor tomorrow (it will be today when I post this), and may be coming home as the owner of his first sailboat! I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

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Josh – Decision to jump

Returning from one of my deployments a friend of mine suggested we go skydiving in Hawaii, having always wanted to do that I eagerly agreed to go! The feeling of it all was exactly what I had been searching for.

Whenever I approach the edge of a high  up place I always have an urge to fly off. It’s not the jump or the ground that calls to me it’s the part about being completely free of everything and just soaring above that I yearn for.

I decided that day in Hawaii that I would get certified and continue to jump. It really is an un-describable feeling that comes over me and it never went away. It took a few years but here I am. I had been thinking all summer of just doing the classes but had found one stupid reason after another not to go. I finally made up my mind and figured I would do another Tandem jump just to make sure it was everything I remember it being. Needless to say I called that Wednesday afternoon after my jump extremely excited to be reserving my spot in the next Advance Free Fall class that was being offered.

That Saturday I showed up early bright eyed and bushy tailed, I filled out the paperwork and then waited with a few of the other perspective jumpers. We became friends and continued to feed on each others excitement. Even after the five hour class we were all still raring to go. I couldn’t believe how fast it had come, I was standing in the door of the plane with an instructor on either side of me. My own shoot strapped on and wind blowing it was truly an exciting experience! One step out and I was flying again, not forgetting my instructions I went through the pre-rehearsed routine then took ques from my instructors in proper falling techniques up until I waved them off and pulled my pilot chute (ripcord). The parachute opened with a rush pulling what felt like upward as my instructors fell away. I had an ear to ear grin as I took hold of the steering toggles and began to fly toward my holding area. Once in place over the mark I began doing loops learning and having fun as I slowly floated towards the ground. Once my turn came up I began my landing turns as we had talked about in class and listened to the voice over the radio that was strapped to my chest. I cornered as instructed and pulled on my brakes as right before I set down, I had hoped to have a graceful landing on my feet though my first landing was not to be so. The chute continued to move forward as I had pulled my brakes just to late and I let my feet slip forward as I went for a short ride on my rear end. That wasn’t enough to wipe the grin off my face though. I wore it back and talked over the jump then decided that there was still time for another!

I have made a total of seven jumps so far after that class, earning the ability to jump without an instructor by my side though I still need to be checked out prior to my jumps and need to pass more jumps to receive my license. I’m well on my way and looking forward to getting it!

After that I plan on continuing my jumps so I can then learn to use the wingsuit and learn to B.A.S.E. jump. I would love to jump all over the world when the opportunity comes.

The Dream!!!

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Shea – Without A Window

Josh's second jump of the day!

Wiggling my toes in excitement; I stand there not knowing or caring what I should be doing after removing my jumpsuit. I see a girl standing near the door and by the sparkles in her eyes I can tell she is ready to explode with with the same indescribable enthusiasm that was bubbling inside of me. I can’t remember which of us broke the silence first but it quickly turned into an eruption of words, laughs, and girlish squeals of delights as we tried to recall every detail and pin names to the feelings we experience over the last twenty minutes. After deliberating we deciding that a “Triple Fist Pump” was the best way to express what it’s like to free fall from 13,000 feet!

That’s right! Thanks to Josh and Brett (my jump buddy) I got my to do my first tandem skydive and it was truly the most amazing shock to the senses I have ever encountered! At some point between hanging out out of an airplane with a slightly terrified look on my face, and screaming “OH MY GOD! THIS IS AWESOME!!!!” I realized that that I was no longer in control of my surroundings; I was falling and I was okay with that. I had to just accept that this was my situation and I would enjoy it while I was there. Brett will either let the chute out and glide us in for a safe smooth landing or he will give me one spectacular entry into the after life. I took a deep breath and surveyed the landscape, I couldn’t believe how much more beautiful it was without the airplane window separating me from this view! The adrenaline was pumping through me and I was free in a way I doubt I will ever be able to describe. Before the chute even opened I knew I would have to do this again. As we sailed through the air Brett said “You Know, Shea, I will never be rich but I get to come here and do this every day.” I love that! He did not need to find something he was good at that could make him rich, he was satisfied with simply getting by and enjoying life. Over and Over I find I am coming across people who at some point decided they didn’t need to follow the American Dream or keep up the Joneses, instead they think “I will never be rich but I get to really experience life every day.” How could it get any better than that? I feel so blessed to have the rest of my life in front of me!

“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” – Alan Keightley

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Josh – Learning to appreciate

There are so many experiences in life that are taken for granted and I think it’s time to attempt to appreciate them!

When we were young the things that mesmerized us were the things we now desire to have in our life and bring back that lost feeling of amazement. It was the small things and simple things that captivated our minds and exploited all of our senses that have now become dull as we set these things aside.

It’s not enough to just add on to our lives the desire to appreciate these small things that have passed by the way side, we must de-escalate our priorities and relearn these things.

Giving up all the things that really have no importance to the life that we truly yearn for is the beginning and though it is very hard at first to allow ourselves to let go of these items that we have worked to acquire it will begin to feel as a weight is lifting off of your shoulders because these items bring stressors into our lives. The ease that will come over a short time of letting these go and the relief that it brings will fuel the fire to continue the quest that has begun.

 My story:

I have always had a desire to live a very modest life with very little in my possession. This desire has been overwhelmed many times throughout my short life and though it peeks through from time to time suggesting that I listen to this feeling. It has been acted upon so little until this point that I find it difficult to fallow through. I do not want to have this be another instance that this flame inside of me is smothered so I am trying to be diligent and fallow through.

God has allowed my life to take many turns and I appreciated the travel so far and am looking forward to see what happens!

After I decided to separate from the Navy and see what else I could find out of life these desires continued to grow inside of me. I have built up a wanting to continue traveling and the call of the ocean has escalated inside of me so I would like to fallow that and see where it leads me.

So far I have been researching a lot about boats and how to use them though I have gotten a little lost in the search and lost sight of the goal. I need to focus on what it is that I am moving towards and continue to move forward and not stray.

I have made a friend that has been feeling a very similar desire as I. We have begun to feed off of each other and the company we keep is allowing us to not lose sight of what we would like to achieve.

I have started to get rid of stuff that really has no business being in my life I have decided. It took some encouragement though once I began it started to get easier and although I still have a heavy weight of things left to discard I’m bent on achieving this.

The gravitation that pulls me towards this is growing. If it leads me on a path that may be difficult though allows me to appreciate everything around me and live with just enough to get through the day I welcome the day I can learn to exist in such a state.

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Shea- Kick the Coffee

Since I will soon be hitting the road with a limited budget I decided my daily need for coffee has to go. It has been 62 hours 10 minute since my last sip and I can feel it; my head is pounding and I am crankier than I care to admit. Words that my mind relates to coffee are making me salivate. I am not a big soda drinker but there is a Pepsi taunting me with it’s caffiene goodness in the other room, I think I can even hear it calling my name. This is not good.

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Shea – When I Grow Up

“What would you like to be when you grow up?”

This is the question all Americans seem to be posed with from day one. Some of us have people in our lives (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents) ready to answer this question for us; they buy various articles of clothing, toys, and books reflecting their dreams for our future. Others of us are presented with many options, enrolled in a multitude of extracurricular activities, and pressed upon to find something we will succeed (or preferably exceed) in. Most of these people love us and want us to be happy, continually encouraging us in one direction or another to become successful so we can “afford to enjoy life”. Some of us have lacked particular family members or loved ones to help guide us into a career choice, maybe there was an a concerned teacher or mentor that took children under their wing. Even if we manage to be overlooked by all these people, society will quickly step into the role offering a and extended list of skills it is looking for; grudgingly exchanging  three weeks of paid vacation for after four years consecutive years of adequate work.

Personally I was somewhere in the middle. My parents indulged many of my constantly changing interests; getting frustrated after investing the money  for me to learn the basics of a skill before finding a new pastime. My dad shelled out one enrollment fee after another; signing checks and waivers hoping I might actually stick with something for a while while my mom would find little knickknacks that related to my current hobby. I never felt like my parents pushed me into a particular direction. Ballet, tap dance, art, soccer, softball,  gymnastics, basketball, swimming, drama, golf, writing, hula dancing, Japanese, Adventure Ed…. the list goes on, and as I got older I continued the pattern on my own dime. Most of these activities I never really lost interest, I just found something else that I wanted to learn as well. Some of my interests I took to naturally and was encouraged by instructors or teachers to pursue careers in them, while others I was terrible at and decided were better left to someone else. As much as I really  did and still do enjoy the things that I am good at I could never truly commit to being tied to one endeavor, so I continue to dabble in various activities never quite putting one down before I move onto the next. This tends to leave those in my life more than a little mystified and some slightly annoyed by my spontaneity.

I have found that even now I am frequently told “You know you are not too old to go to college. What would you like to do for a living?” More often than not before I can answer, the person presents a list of high paying career choices. When I get a chance to tell them I don’t plan to go to college I am often met with a look of shock, disbelief, and scrutiny that leads to the inevitable “Why not?” Inside I am shaking my head at this person, sad that we have been conditioned to react to a young women choosing opt out of the college route as a scandal. How many years ago was it that middle class women were not expected to go to college? It doesn’t seem like that many too me, realistically it wasn’t that long ago that college was for young men from wealthy families on a predestined career path and those who already had a higher IQ than average. Don’t get me wrong I am not against anyone taking part in a higher education; I just don’t like people treating me like I should have to go because everyone feels they should. My response is usually “What for? I am not interested in anything enough yet to spend that kind of money.”  Most people dislike this answer, probably because it sounds unmotivated, and rightfully so.

People say “If you find a job you love you will never work a day in your life”, but I just can’t relate: looking back it was when someone would start suggesting how I could make a living by pursuing my hobbies I would change directions. I think because what it seems most people mean by “making a living” is “live extravagantly”, we constantly are filling our lives with things we do not need to live. We go to work so that we can afford live, then we are told that just living is not enough: “you need this to be able to enjoy life”: we work more to be able to buy “this”, we realize we now need accessories to use “this” so we work harder, and since we have now invested in “this” we need to protect “this” which means more time working. But wait now there is a new and improved (faster / less time consuming) version of “this” and we the accessories to use it now we need it because the old one takes too long and we don’t have enough time away from work to enjoy it. I can’t justify the cycle anymore, and now that I look back I didn’t need “this” in the first place. I am not saying that I don’t enjoy a nice bubble bath now and then, but I could be just as content without it. I can get sucked into watching TV just as easily as the next person but it has been my personal experience that I enjoy life more when I am engaged in doing and learning; I like being conscious about what I am absorbing rather than having a constant flow of media trying to convince me I can’t live without (insert product in the next commercial you watch here). I am an American and have to reestablish what it means to be content with simply living but I have always enjoyed the mental and physical stimulation that can come from inconveniences. I view that as having an advantage to stepping back and embracing what it takes just to live.

Unfortunately being content goes against the flow of a progressive society, I need to want bigger, better, and faster in order to have the motivation to progress. I am fighting against what we have been conditioned to think it the best way to live; “How are you going to shower? Where are you going to sleep? What are you going to do about healthcare? Don’t you want to be comfortable?” I hear these questions almost daily and they sound so silly to me. People lived for thousands of years with less than a self inflating sleeping pad, a collapsible bucket and a water purifier. Sure there will be times when I am extremely uncomfortable and miss my queen size bed with a down mattress pad, but isn’t it the times we go without that can make us really appreciate the beauty and luxury of a soft moss covered log after a long day. Instead of over indulging in and feeding my desire for things I cannot afford, \ I am opting out of the rat race; I have started giving away or selling most of my possession; minus a few sentimental items in a trunk in my parents’ garage, and a few items in a backpack, and I am releasing the wandering spirit that has been fighting to get breath of air.

I guess I found the answer to the society based question that I have always felt but never expressed, and next time someone asks what I would like to be, I will smile and say “I already am.”

“He who knows he has enough will always have enough” –Lao Tzu

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