A: It is barely mid-November, and already I am getting reports from home about snow. I sit in the cockpit reading my email, and when a chill wind blows and the temperature plummets to 24 C, I put on a fleece. I can't even handle the suggestion of snow anymore, much less the reality. Perhaps these notes are my family's passive-aggressive way of keeping us out at sea. So if you ask me today when I'm going home, I'll shout out, "Never! Not in a million years!"
Which is a lie. Of course we're going home again. But the problem with asking about The End is simple. It is the absolute, number one, gold medal, top-ranked worst question to ask a cruiser because the answer you get will be worthless. Because nobody really knows.
When we started out, we knew we would be gone for two years, maximum. Maybe less. I had never set foot on a boat before, so we took a "try it and see" approach to the cruising life. But we had a fixed best-before date, and it was summer 2012. Home in time for grade three and junior Kindergarten.
And then we decided to cross the Pacific. We needed more time - another year, at least. And then we were in the Pacific. So much to see, such great distances to travel - one year more. And we needed money, which involved a work stop, which ate up a few months more. Plans flexed and morphed.
When I went home for a visit in April, we had one year to go. That was it. Erik and I had talked it through, built an Excel spreadsheet, looked at family ages, individual needs, finances and a host of other relevant factors. One more year was all we could squeak out. That's it. And, like a fool, I told people that. I believed it sincerely. We were wrapping up. One last tour of glory! The kids loved being back home, and I thought that would be that.
But when the girls and I arrived back in New Zealand, they announced that another five years on the boat would be about right. Erik and I raised our eyebrows at each other. Five might be pushing it a bit, but two. Two we could do.
I still honestly believe that we have two years left in us. But I know perfectly well that I might be a great big lying liar on this point.
|Am I ready to say goodbye to this? Not yet.|
So the most honest answer is: I don't know when we are going home for good. And I won't know until we have actually bumped up against the end. We aren't ready to stop yet. We know what we value, and we know what will tip us back into a land life at some point. But it won't happen today.
And, if I have any choice in the matter, it won't happen in the middle of a Canadian winter, either.