I am sitting in a tight seat trying to write some concluding remarks about our sailing project.
Amos is sitting next to me watching cartoons on the little screen in front of him. We are flying back to Boston where Nomad waits us tied to a small mooring ball in the bay of Hingham. Exactly two weeks passed since we left Boston back to Switzerland and I miss Nomad already. In nine days it will be 3 years since we left Switzerland and set sail to discover what lies behind the horizon. Three years of living in a dream. My dream. A dream I had since many years that hunted me day and night.
We need to get the boat out of the water and prepare it for the cold New England’s winter. On our last attempt the driver who was supposed to move our Nomad to its storage place was not very motivated to do the job. He arrived two hours late, did not say sorry nor hello, and announced in a cold and emotionless voice that we had to take off the aft arch where we carry our solar panels, wind generator and different antennas because with it we wont make it through the roads under the trees and the electric cables. Remove? what do you mean remove? Yes, just unscrew it. But ours is welded to the metal body of Nomad, and we had no intention getting out a saw and cut it off. Ok so we are all set. Says the driver. Back in the water.
Nomad was probably only about 6 minutes out of its element before our sympathetic driver put her back in the water. The different wires that stood stiff and held Nomad’s mast in its adventures since 3 years were banging on the side of the mast. In the two hours we waited for the driver we removed all the pins and undid most of the swivels so we were ready to remove the mast. And here we were, again in the water. Nomad naked from his wardrobe. actually naked by all means – in the last weeks we emptied the boat completely. Everything – toys, books, tools, spare parts, sails, lines, blocks, clothes. Every little piece of equipment that was not bolted or welded came off. We used Jack and Claire’s little motor boat as our moving truck and everyday, when the tide was right, we would go on the boat, pack stuff, put in boxes and bags and move all this equipment into their boat, to their dock, up to their house’s garden for sorting out, cleaning and back into boxes and bags. All those things that were an integral part of our lives in the last three years. Some will come back with us to Switzerland. Most will go to Jack’s warehouse where he set us some space to put all this stuff of ours. And wow, it’s unbelievable how much stuff a 38 foot boat can have. At a certain point when we took out our spare parts and materials we were laughing with Jack that we probably have enough material to build another little boat in case Nomad had a problem…
I wish I could put you, Claire and Jack, in a little box and take you back to Switzerland with us. The two of you, whom (by a very big chance) we met on a little island up in Maine two years ago, became part of our life, of our family. Thank you for being who you are and for being there for us. We love you.
Today it is exactly three years that we left our old comfortable and secure life behind and set sail towards the unknown, towards a new life. But we had to do it. We dreamed and planned for this departure day for many years and somehow we knew we had to untie the lines and simply give it a try. When we left we knew what we left behind but had no idea what we will discover behind the horizon. What we found as we sailed on can be summed in two words – freedom and happiness.
I think that the thing I will miss the most is this feeling of absolute freedom. Freedom in deciding what to do, where to go, with whom to befriend, how you want to pass your day, how you want to live your life.
In a way, this trip allowed us to live like millionaires even though we are far from being ones. To weigh anchor and set sail with land in your back and only the vast ocean before you and being able to decide to change course at any given point towards any point of the compass is a feeling of absolute freedom.
We also took our lives in our hands. We cannot predict what will happen and we cannot avoid what the future prepared us but at least we know we did everything in our hands to make the best out of what ever will come. It is not some unknown airplane pilot, nor a stranger driving his car, or some unknown mechanic that fixed your engine that has our lives in their hands but rather it is us, we took complete responsibility with everything we do and if something does go wrong we can only say we did all we could to fix it or at least get out with the least scratches. This responsibility is another component that gives this life it’s freedom. We decide.
It was my dream to which I dragged Virginie and my three kids into it. But without them my dream would have looked so much different. I want to thank you, Amos, Noa and Adi, my three amazing kids for allowing us, as a family, to live through this amazing and magical adventure together. I was very lucky to be able to live these three years with you, seeing you growing up, sharing with you every moment of the day. Experiencing together the pleasures of swimming with wild dolphins, watching a humpback whale diving and swimming right beside our little boat, fishing mahi mahis, crossing an ocean, dancing salsa, climbing pyramids, visiting wild and remote tropical islands, walking on a deserted beach, watching the sun sets behind the horizon for hundreds of times, waking up in the morning and first thing going for a swim, jumping off the back of our boat for the millionth time, and so many other amazing moment we spent together. I am so grateful we had the chance to live this dream as a family. The time we spent together on board our little boat has no price and I would repeat this experience again and again if only I could.
But the person who deserve the biggest and most special thank you is my wonder woman that without her optimism and positive way of looking at life this dream of mine most probably would still be only a dream and not something I actually lived. This was my dream but without you, Virginie, today I would still be dreaming instead of living my dream. So I would like to thank you, my pishpeshit, my brave woman that you made my dream come true. To live these three intensive years with all the ups and downs that it implies with you and our three wonderful children together with me in our little floating home was better than any dream I ever had. Thank you. I love you.
And just a quick update, we are back in Switzerland since 3 weeks and things were moving very fast, to say the least. We had an amazing and warm welcome at the airport ; we are lucky to have great friends that host us at their home (thank you Chantal), that lent us a car (thank you Philippe and Stephanie!) and to help us with everything that a new start involves.
In this short time we managed to find an apartment, a car, a job and reunite with family and friends. Last week I flew back to Boston with Amos and together with Jack and Claire we finally took our dear Nomad out of the water and placed it in a safe storage for the coming New England’s winter. We were back in Switzerland last Saturday. Virginie came to pick us up from Basel airport from where she and the kids went to Alsace while I took the train back to Prangins. On Monday morning I was already on my way to work…
Sometimes it seems as if we never really left, as if it was all but a dream.
Mais ce n’était pas un rêve mon amour.
Nous avons grandi, muri et vécu tant de choses pendant ces trois dernières années. Nous nous sommes rapprochés les uns des autres et avons appris à nous voir tels que nous sommes vraiment. Nous avons découverts de nouveaux endroits, rencontrés tant de belles personnes et surtout partagés le même film de vie pendant trois belles années.
Notre voyage nous a permis de montrer un petit bout de notre monde à nos enfants, pas encore assez, mais déjà un peu, juste pour leurs montrer que les chemins à suivre sont vastes et variés, que le bonheur n’est pas toujours là ou on l’attend et qu’il peut se découvrir de milles façons différentes.
Nous avons semé de petites graines de vie dans nos coeurs et dans leur âme d’enfant et maintenant nous les verrons grandir en ayant foi que tous ces miles parcourus, toutes ces belles rencontres et ces expériences partagés, les feront avoir confiance en eux et les aideront à avancer sur le chemin de leurs vies.
Nous sommes de retour, à Prangins. Les enfants prendront le chemin de l’école d’ici une semaine, alors que toi, tu as déjà retrouvé celui du travail. Nos amis sont les mêmes, bien que devenus encore plus précieux d’avoir su nous attendre et nous retrouver si chaleureusement, et oui l’odeur de la fin d’été qui approche est, c’est vrai, identique à celle de mes souvenirs. Certaines choses ne bougent pas, mais tu sais, et je sais, et nos trois amours avec nous le sentent aussi, nous ne sommes plus les mêmes. Nous portons en nous ces moments partagés de notre voyage sur Nomad. Cette force que nous avons partagée et qui continue de couler dans nos veines.
Et tu sais quoi mon amour?, notre voyage n’est pas terminé ! Il se poursuit simplement différement et tant que nous continuerons à rêver et que main dans la main nous transformerons chacuns de nos rêves en projets, notre voyage se poursuivra !
La vie est beeeeeelle, la vie est beeeeelle chante notre Noalinette, et comme j’aime entendre cette chanson là ! Ne l’oublie jamais, capitaine de mon coeur !
Ta femme qui t’aime.
Et pour tout ceux qui nous lisent, qui nous ont lu et accompagnés pendant notre voyage sur Nomad, si je pouvais vous donner un sentiment, une parole, ce serait celle ci : N’attendez pas de vivre ! La vie c’est MAINTENANT !
To be continued.
This picture was taken exactly 3 years ago – on the 15th of August 2015, in Port Saint Louis du Rhone, the day we put Nomad in the water. The next day we set sail to Cadaques, Spain and our adventure started.
And three years after: