Why is it that a cup of coffee always tastes so much better on the sailboat?
It can be made using the exact same method, same coffee grounds, and even served in the same stainless steel travel mug. But for some reason, on the boat it tastes richer, fuller in flavor, and more satisfying.
For me, I find this is often the case with many things—dinner always seems to turn out better on the boat, popcorn seems like it is extra fluffy with no burnt pieces, and even my writing is better on the boat.
Why is this?
I can’t say that I’m 100% positive, but here is what I think…
When I’m on the boat, I find that I’m at my happiest. In spite of mounting projects, stormy weather, or the fact that each project takes at least twice as long as you expected (quite often uncovering many more additional projects in the process)… I experience a kind of peace on the boat that I just don’t get from a house or apartment.
Yes, this is even true when the boat is dry docked on land in a dusty, noisy boatyard. It’s true when I’m working seven days a week—when I’m covered in blue dust from sanding antifoul paint; when I’m splattered in mushy black tar from removing the old caulking in a teak table, and so forth and so on…
You see, sailing and living on a boat is my happy place. It’s where I feel total joy, sheer excitement and wonder—even on the days when it’s not all smooth sailing, or perhaps no sailing at all.
I never had this kind of feeling on land. I never had this feeling in any of the houses or apartments I lived in. Teaching never gave me this feeling (yes I was a teacher once upon a time), and neither did recruiting. But plop me onboard a blue-water sailing vessel, throw a few freelance jobs my way, and allow me to work on my own writing…man, there’s just nothing better.
But it isn’t an easy life.
Boats come with a whole different world of maintenance and projects compared to what I’ve experienced on land. When you live on a boat, projects can’t be put off or you risk your safety and the safety of your crew.
Paying someone else to do the maintenance isn’t always an option either. First off, it’s far too expensive. Second, you can never be sure of the person’s due diligence or knowledge… and sometimes you can’t even find an experienced person to do the work.
Quite often, I find myself in situations such as now, where I look around at the many ongoing projects and the dirty, noisy boatyard and I ask myself: Why am I doing this?
But then, it doesn’t take me long to remember the freeing feeling of raising the sails, turning the boat and letting the wind fill the sails, turning off the engine and listening to the steady sound of the water swishing by the hulls. The dolphins jumping out of the water as they swim toward the boat, diving and leaping in front of the bows. The cool air of an overnight sail, with millions of stars filling the sky and the playful phosphorous in the water.
You see, I could go on and on about this. And that’s how I know that this is where I’m supposed to be—this is my passion.
I don’t do this for fame or fortune, because it certainly isn’t bringing me either of those. But I’ve come to find that—for me—there are things more important than recognition and money.
For you, it might be different. Maybe your passion is to be as famous and rich as Bill Gates or some famous Hollywood star. Good for you—go for it! The important thing is that you are doing what makes you happy and what brings you joy.
What is your passion? What brings you joy? What would you do, even if you weren’t being paid? What is it that you really want to be doing with your life?
Ask yourself those questions and if you don’t know the answers, then it’s time to try something new that just might lead you to those answers.