The last two days seem like two weeks--that's how much has happened. I'm finally taking a moment to breathe and write now and I'm realizing how I'm going to need to work at finding time for rest, thought and reflection (all things that I've had loads of time to do when I was on the boat and I found has helped me breathe). Where should I start...
On Wednesday we finished getting the ship ready for sail by tightening the rigging, provisioning for the cross-Atlantic journey and going through any last instructions for the new crew. We welcomed two new crew members to Tellstar: Daniel and Greg. Daniel is a Danish guy that Jorge had sailed with on other trips. He showed up with a full backpack, a yoga mat and a ton of enthusiasm. Soon after getting to Gibraltar, he had the boat washed down and him and Ty were practicing yoga on the cockpit in no time. Greg is an American who is just coming off of vacation (a few months in Asia and a few months in the Med) and was excited about getting back on a boat and to the US. I'm pretty sure he's going to be speaking another language or three (including a coding language) by the end of the voyage--I got to practice my French and Spanish with him in the few hours since we met.
Like I mentioned in my last post, I was going to re-evaluate my next steps when I got to Gibraltar, and I did. I decided to get off of the boat and not cross the Atlantic (but you already knew that because you're a smart cookie and you know that I have no way of updating my blog if I was at sea :-)). There are lots of factors that I considered before making the decision but ultimately, I felt like the trip had fulfilled the things I had wanted to address and an additional 3 weeks at sea weren't going to change much. Yes, crossing the Atlantic would have been cool--REALLY cool--but just because an opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime type of deal, doesn't mean you should do it. Be mindful about how you spend your time and energy. My time on the boat was well spent and I have memories and stories and learnings that I'll take with me, but I also just felt that it was time to do something different. So Tyler and I passed Tellstar over to the new crew and wished them a great (and safe) journey across the Atlantic. Maybe I'll cross the Atlantic one day, but I crossed the Med, and that's nothing to sneeze about :)
Tyler and I found a random Chinese restaurant for lunch and started plotting our next moves. Originally, we were going to head to Barcelona to visit a friend of Tyler's who lived there, but the friend, Mark, was in Lisbon for work. So we decided to go to Lisbon. I looked up logistics on getting to Lisbon over some spring rolls and soon we were on our way. From Gibraltar, you walk across the border to a town in Spain named La Linea dela Concepcion, where we were going to catch a bus up to Sevilla and then another bus to Lisbon, Portugal. Walking to Spain was really cool because you have to cross over the airport runway and it's just feels surreal. You flash your passport to the police office and customs officer at the border and before you know it, you're in Spain. We quickly found the La Linea bus station, only to realize that they don't take credit card, we didn't have any cash, and our bus was going to leave in under 10 minutes. Tyler parkoured his way to and from an ATM a few blocks away and saved the day with his speediness! (As soon as he left, an American family who must have heard us trying to pay the cashier with US dollars offered to exchange some USD for Euros. I declined their offer because Tyler was already on his way, but I thought it was really nice of them to offer. It was almost like the universe was trying to help us out when we were in a pickle!) After that close call, we settled in for a 4 hour bus ride to Sevilla.
The bus ride from La Linea to Sevilla was beautiful. I was cheesing the whole way as we passed lush pastures and views of the ocean and tons of sunflower fields. When the bus stopped in Tarifa to pick up passengers, I thought Tyler was going to jump off. Tarifa is where the winds change, making it a hot spot for kite surfers (and the latest water sport Tyler had been introduced to). Definitely a town that I'd want to go back and check out, for the sport and the people that it attracts. While I spent the trip smiling out the window, admiring the sights, what captured our attention was a catamaran on the water right before Tarifa. Could it be...was that our catamaran on a parallel path? We think so and got pretty excited about it!
We made it to Sevilla, but not without another event. The bus was pretty empty so we all spread out to get some space to ourselves. Tyler was looking through the window, enjoying the ride, when he turned to the gal on his left and with a smile on his face, he asked her in broken Spanish if he could practice his Spanish with her. I love his enthusiasm and how he just goes for it. My smile grew bigger as I realized how much I had learned from him over the past few weeks and how much I admired his zest for life, his positive attitude and his beautiful soul. Just another moment when i realized how much the company had impacted my experience and how blessed I am to be surrounded by great people.
We had a quick dinner in Sevilla, stopped by McDonald's for dessert and wifi and boarded a bus for a 6 hour overnight ride to Lisbon. What a day.