“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the 1st time.”
It was about 10 years ago I decided to become the 1st double amputee to sail around the world alone. I had just bankrupted 440,000 in medical bills, paid off an offer and compromise to the IRS, and had a reconstructive surgery on my residual leg. My rehab was going well and I was getting stronger. I was debt free but my carpet cleaning business and fishing boat were in disrepair. With no cash or credit there was no way I could revive my business quickly and I had no promising job prospects. It was a lack of other options, a need to redefine myself, and a random website that gave me the idea to sail around the world alone.
Choosing to sail around the world alone did not do wonders for my romantic relationship at the time nor the ones that followed. It is an inspiring thing to focus all one’s time and energy towards a big goal. There is a price though. I’ve missed 7.5 years of holiday dinners, weddings, funerals, kids growing up, my friends and family. It has been 7.5 years of meeting new friends and lovers, getting close, and sailing off alone again.
Until my steering failed on my trip here from Galapagos the last 2 years has felt like I was running out the clock on a game I’ve already won. Learning to sail in the pacific on Rudis was tough. Crossing the Indian ocean and rounding the cape of good hope was tough. My atlantic trips were easy. The Caribbean is easy. Covid added a year for me in the atlantic. It worked out really well because Bristol Marine helped fix up Tiama but I missed my friends. I missed my family. I missed home.
It is hard for me to really process everything I’ve done in the last 7.5 years. I sailed to 36 countries and over 30,000 miles alone, over 10,000 miles on deliveries, 5 equator crossings, and to every continent except europe. I have met amazing people, learned about new cultures and food. Even spending this much time as a guest in other countries I was always treated as part of the community.
10 years has passed since I got this crazy idea in my head. I could have studied for a medical degree in that time, become a lawyer, or given into despair. Choosing to sail around the world has brought me more opportunity than I expected and possibly the self definition I was looking for. After 7.5 years maybe I’ll even know Hawaii again for the 1st time.