Prelude: I decided to take a leap of faith to travel, including leaving my awesome job and the people who had gone from colleagues-to-friends-to-family over the course of 5.5 years and found myself in Israel with my friend Tyler and Chad, ready to sail from Haifa to Malta to Gibraltar and across the Atlantic Ocean to the Bahamas.
It's been over two weeks since I left my new home (moved in with a friend) in Portland and made my way to Portland International Airport (PDX or what some would could call my second home) to start my adventure into the unknown. The start to my journey was better than I could have imagined. My friend give me hugs as she reassured me that she'd take care of anything that I needed back home when she dropped me off at the airport. Another kind friend, who coincidentally was flying out around the same time, walked me to my gate and saw me off with a simple yet profound wish, "I hope you're happier than you think you deserve". During my longest layover in NYC, my older sister, having just flown to the US from India the day before, received me with open arms and a basket full of delicious and nutritious goodies before squeezing me goodbye and wishing me love and light as I started the international leg of my trip. After a close call with a missed connection in Turkey--which in hindsight was a great excuse for a quick jog to stretch my legs--I breezed through Israeli customs and into the welcoming arms of my friends who invited me to join them for the sail. And then...the smoothness came to an abrupt pause and the sparkle in our eyes of the adventure to come took on a different shine. The culprit: paperwork.
Paperwork is a pain in the rear. Long story short, paperwork that was supposed to be done by the selling party didn't get done so when my friends arrived in Israel, they were faced with the daunting task of figuring out the status of our paperwork and what needed to get done. Mind you that there were people from the US, Israel, Russia and the Caribbean involved, with a language barrier, a different work week (Sunday - Thursday in Israel), during a religious holiday (Passover/Easter). So we've basically been stranded in the marina.
So how have we spent the past two weeks? We're not the type to sulk, so we've been taking advantage of our time in Israel. Within a few hours of arriving in Israel, we were out and about in Haifa, complete with my first shawarma, a beach day, a day trip to Jerusalem for Easter, a visit to the hot springs near the Dead Sea, exploring the local sights and culinary delights in Haifa, learning how to make shakshuka, eating hummus and falafel every chance we get, trying to make a dent in the 900+ books a friend loaded onto my new Kindle, writing in the journals I received before heading out, and learning about the boat. We even went for a weekend getaway to Eliat which was an adventure in itself (more to come). Since I got to Israel, Captain Chad's also made the trek back to the US for the week (he gets back tomorrow). His time would be better spent there instead of being idle on the boat, just waiting, with us. And it's given Tyler and me a chance to hang out! As much fun as we've been having, we're all a little antsy to get out of the marina and sail this beautiful beast of a boat--somewhere, anywhere.
What's the rush? At first, it was nice to get a little bit of calmness to catch my breath and rest my eyes and enjoy the beauty of nothing. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to explore (and re-explore) parts of Israel--after all, we're still in a foreign country! Even with the exploring, we've had a fair amount of downtime--something I haven't experienced in years. Cue the sleep-ins and reading in the sun and catnaps and daily movie viewing. Sounds lovely, right? It was/is. But delays aren't just about your time--there are other things and people that are impacted by our schedule as well. For starters, there are two charters that the guys have lined up in the Caribbean for early June that they most likely won't be able to do because we've been pushed out. (Being the great businessmen they are, they're coming up with a plan to still keep their commitments and minimally disrupt their customers' plans, but still a pain.) When you're sailing, weather is a bigger factor than other modes of travel. The trade winds that would be taking us across the Atlantic change in the next month or so, taking ideal wind conditions to no wind. The window of opportunity to cross is getting smaller, to the point where it might not happen. To say that would be a bummer is an understatement, but aside from my own selfish reasons for being disappointed, that adds another element to the scenario; what do you do with the boat now? Do you leave it Israel? Do you take it to a different country and leave it there until you can cross again (in the fall)? There are lots of ways this can go. I think the toughest part, for me, has been the uncertainty. I'm a planner. I like to come up with a game plan and have an idea of what's going to happen, or at least have some sort of timeline as to what will happen when. But when a situation is out of your control and there is absolutely nothing you can do but wait, it's a big challenge for a planner like me, a go-getter like me, someone who is action-oriented like me. I'm great with dealing with the challenges life throws at me when I have enough information to move forward, or even in ambiguous situations where there isn't a lot of information, I can deal with it. But this is really a scenario where it's out of our control and there is nothing we can do but sit, and wait. This is part of the journey, right? Part of the adventure, part of the territory that comes with throwing caution to the wind and going with the flow. It's really different from what I've been used to, but that doesn't mean that it's not something I can learn to do and learn from. So until we get more information so we can make a plan, instead of overthinking and worrying myself as I normally do, I'm going to try something different and just live in the moment. Key word: try. Deep breath--I can do this.