Hello to our friends who have followed this blog in past seasons! We have been woefully neglectful of the blog this year. The reason? We have had a summer of hosting a continual string of guests. It has been a lot of fun, but there has not been an abundance of the quiet time and reflection it takes to put words on paper.
If you’re anything like us, many friendships are catch-as-catch-can when we’re at home. Life is busy for all of us. We have impromptu visits in the grocery store or post office, or share an occasional evening together over a meal. But these visits often leave us wishing for just a little more time. In contrast, when we spend several days with friends on our 42-foot boat, there is time for an abundance of togetherness. The first couple of days is usually filled with lots of talk and catching up on the events of life. Then gradually, guests settle into a more relaxed rhythm, getting into the routine of life on the boat, and noticing more of what is passing by outside. It’s as if we finally all take a deep breath and settle into a more relaxed state of being. We love watching this process happen. We think of it as giving our friends a chance to step back from busy life and have a “reset.”
Each set of guests brings a different chemistry to the visit. We enjoy discovering what they like to do, because they typically arrive saying, “We just want to do what you want to do, and go wherever you want to go.” Over time though, it becomes apparent that some people enjoy scenery and nature, some like geography or the history of the area, some people enjoy stopping at a town and eating out, others like the boat and want to learn how to help with docking and handling the lines. We try out a variety of experiences until we discover what really engages our guests, then we try to do more of that particular thing. In the end, we share fun and quality time, but we also really get to know each other. It’s like opening a gift together – lots of smiles and surprises.
Even though everyone is different, we’ve found that most of our guests share a common disability. We call it BANG. Actually, it’s not a disability, but has more to do with the nature of boats versus the nature of houses on land. In a land house, you can close a door or leave it open, because you can count on the house standing still, and the door staying where you left it. But in a house on the water, there is constant movement. Sometimes the movement is gentle and subtle, and sometimes the movement is more vigorous. Even the gentle variety can cause things to move around, though, and for this reason, there are hooks and latches to hold doors in place even if they are open. If they don’t get latched every time, we have BANG! At those times, Mike and I just look at each other and say, “BANG.” The cupboard doors above the sink in the galley are particularly unforgiving if left unlatched, because they are right at head height, and perfectly situated for swinging a glancing blow to the forehead when you’re least expecting it. When that happens, we sometimes say something a little worse than “BANG.” Another frequent offender is the bathroom door. You can relate, I’m sure: You roll out of bed in the night to take care of nature’s call, then stumble back to bed never thinking to latch the bathroom door open. You guessed it, when the inevitable happens, Mike and I roll over in bed and mumble, “BANG.” BANG is a relatively minor problem, and it provides one more reason to laugh. Besides, all our guests have turned out to be quick learners, for which we are grateful.
We are sometimes asked, “What about time to yourselves? Don’t you get tired of guests?” Well, we learned during an earlier summer, that it is important to leave a few days between guests. Part of this is practical: We need to do laundry and change the sheets, restock food and water, empty trash, etc. But the other part is breathing room for ourselves. We do need time to recharge from being “on” socially, and to do some boating on our own. We generally find a quiet cove where we can anchor away from people, kayak around, take naps, and just enjoy being by ourselves. After a few days, we’re ready to greet more friends, and share this wonderful resource we’ve been given.
We now suddenly find ourselves at the one week mark before we begin the long drive home. We have much to do to unload Voyager, and prepare her for the winter months. But Home is calling… Home means loved ones to hug, a larger space to live in, a neighborhood of fine folks to connect with, and a community to participate in. We have everything we could ever wish for, and more. But we may find that we miss… BANG!