When I imagined the dream it was full of adventure and sunsets and crystal clear waters. There were scary storms and tense repairs, there were mountain hikes and fishing successes. There were secluded beaches and palm trees and hammocks.
There was not ice on the windows or scrubbing slime out of engine rooms. There was not trips to screwfix, hiding from marina staff or days feeling more than a little useless. And there definitely wasn’t watching every penny, feeling defeated when there was no reduced food at the supermarket or worrying about how much electricity the heater was using.
But I have realised that this first chapter, the hard one, has been one of the most important. This chapter has taught me that I REALLY want the dream, I want it enough to make the last six months worth battling through. And if I want it this bad then I know that the twists and turns, the cliffhangers and edits and rewrites, will be tackled with the same determination.
It has taught me that I am capable of working hard for something, for me. I always loved my job, but there was a different level of motivation. I was working hard for the children I was teaching and not very often for me. I went from working flat out from 8-6pm, feeling needed and useful, to working on my own time scale and (to be honest) feeling completely useless. This was the hardest work I have ever had to do. In a world of engines and wiring the most useful job I had was holding a screwdriver. So it may seem as though I have done no work at all for six months, but I feel as though I have never worked harder-at feeling useful, at achieving, at learning new skills and at staying positive and happy.
This chapter has taught me that I am brave. Or perhaps just insane. But I like to think of it as brave! Either way, making the decision to do something so drastically different with my life has been pretty scary. Terrifying in fact. There have been many sleepless nights spent wondering whether I’m making a huge mistake, many teary phone calls to my mum and many, many pep talks from Adam. Luckily the thought of not doing it brings me an even greater sense of dread. The realisation that I can of course do what I want with my life has been exhilarating, and this is 100% what I want. Whether this works out the way I want doesn’t ultimately matter, as long as I have tried my hardest (you can take the teacher out of the school but you can’t take school out of the teacher-for more inspirational teacher quotes sign up to my newsletter here.)
I have learnt that I am surrounded by people I can rely on and turn to. Family that has helped on the boat tirelessly, friends that have offered coffee and lunch and baths (and emotional support)! That have pulled a washing machine through the roof of the boat on a hangover. That have offered endless advice to a pair of amateurs. That have read this blog, and not laughed (to my face!) I thought when we started this journey we would face a lot of negativity. I thought people would tell us we were crazy or try and persuade us out of it. The opposite has been true, and a lot of the time peoples positivity, interest and words of support has kept me going.
Now we are at chapter 2. We packed up our lives into a suitcase, bought a one way ticket to Sicily and prayed we had found the right boat. Whether we have or not is still to be decided but as I sit here now, the sun warming up the morning and the smell of fresh coffee warming the room, I feel sure that whatever the next chapter brings will be exciting, terrifying, and will prepare me for those chapters yet to come.