wild west - 2-9

Hello there. It’s been a little while. I still exist. So does Katie… and Reggie, and believe it or not so does Louise. I still have two legs, two arms and walk upright. My torso is still short and I remain 5’2” on a good day. My blonde hair has faded brown and my brown skin has become transparent. The freckles on my face got bored and took off but the moles are here to stay. I don’t eat like a cave woman anymore, but I kind of still dress like one. I am delighted every time I log on and reminded that I have a job to do – to entertain. It would only be fair for me to provide my readers with more chapters because like you, I don’t want it to be over.

You may appreciate a little insight on land-life and how it has thrown both of us for a loop, and not a “great” loop, but a lesser great loop without navigation or guidebooks. Wind and waves still come from every direction but instead of floating with the elements I am at an awkward stand-still. Which leads me to the big question. Who do you listen to when you are incapable of making decisions and you can’t hear yourself think? I don’t have a clue where my indecisiveness stems from and it is beginning to piss me off. I try and listen to myself but I can’t find my ears. When trying to make decisions everyone always says “follow your heart”, but I seriously can’t find that either.

There is so much noise. It doesn’t matter how quiet the room is – it never truly feels quiet. I use this word broadly. Noise is this computer. It is my  iphone. It is Netflix. It is the bar down the street. It is my social life. It is my family. It is running errands. It’s the gym. It is material items. It is paying rent. It is bills. It is health insurance and taxes.  It is the rat race. It is trying to keep up. All of these are unsolicited voices that manage to construe my thought process. It’s funny, the whole time I was boating I thought I was looking for answers. Like Christopher freaking Columbus. Well I wasn’t looking for Christopher, but for something…anything. Whether it was a place, a person, or to potentially fall off the edge. Now I can’t help but see the obvious, the exploration was about myself and nobody or anyplace else. It was a journey out of selfishness, and curiosity. Here I am back home, in a beautiful house, still feeling selfish and curious because I now know what can come of allowing yourself to be nothing but those two things. Magic. Maybe selfish isn’t the right word, or maybe it is.  Lets call it “self-serving”.  There is an appropriate time in life to have these traits and even though I feel as if mine should be suspended I want them to last forever. But that’s not how the world works.

I looked up the definition of “Millennial” today. This cracks me up.

“Millennial optimism is entering into adulthood with unrealistic expectations, which sometimes leads to disillusionment” 

When I read this sentence I can’t help but replace the word “Millennial” with “Jessica And Zevalkink”

“Jessica And Zevalkink’s optimism entering into adulthood with unrealistic expectations, has lead her to severe disillusionment” 

FUN FACT: My middle name is not “And” but when I was little I thought every person had a first AND  last name. My middle name is actually “Anne”. Get it? Every time I heard my full name I thought they were saying “and”, not “Anne”

Which brings me to another thought, one that consumes my mind more than most subjects. Why doesn’t my generation know about “America’s Great Loop”? How has this trail of waterways not become the new Pacific Crest Trail…the new Camino De Santiago… the new Eurotrip? Is it because it involves a boat? Do boats scare people? My generation is adventurous. We are wild. We are constantly dissatisfied and reaching for the possibly impossible. People jump off cliffs in squirrel suits, kayak across oceans, bike across countries, walk pilgrimages, backpack foreign countries alone, climb mountains, you name it. We want the highest, the fastest, the longest, we want to break records, we want to be remembered. We want to feel, and often putting ourselves in danger is the greatest way to feel because overcoming fear is one of life’s highest rewards. Some of us choose to never conquer it and are happy inside four walls. Those of us who choose to look it in the eye, become addicted. So back to my original question – why isn’t “The Loop” a known revelation? Is it not wild enough? Is it because It takes place right here in America? Is it because it involves moving at five miles an hour? Is it because it involves a boat? Why is this unknown by my peoples?

I have been working closely with Kim Russo the director of AGLCA (Americas Great Loop Cruising Association). She is wondering the same thing. There have been very few 20-somethings to complete the Loop. We are trying to understand why us millennial’s have yet to catch on to this incredible odyssey, and how we can increase its’ awareness. My selfish side wants to keep it all a secret. My curious side wants to share it with the world and is eager to get other youngins on board. This is “Not your parents trip”.

Sure, there are some obvious answers here about why so few are interested – Finances, lack of experience, fear, etc. But those are common ground hurdles that we share as a population. The only difference is how we individually deal with them. Those three hurdles were a part of our every single day, for two years. But we adapted to those hurdles. Our legs became longer and the leaps became hops. We learned how to budget and how to become minimalists. We got experience by experiencing. We overcame fear by feeling it so often we confused it with excitement. Anyone can do this. Anyone.

I am no motivational speaker but I am certainly motivated to bring awareness to the Great Loop and to help encourage others to consider this an option. I invite you to join me for an AGLCA seminar Saturday, April 18 during which I’ll share the why’s and wherefores – why Katie and I traveled the loop, how we did it, how we financed it, our scariest moments, the good the bad and the ugly, and most importantly how we have changed because of it.

Come hang out. Have a beer. Pick my brain and I’ll pick yours. It will be great.

Click here for DETAILS. 

SIDENOTES:

  • I still reside in Traverse City, MI. Working part time as a personal trainer. Part time bartender. Part time wedding photographer. And when I am not working on being all of those women, I am working on being the other one I want to be… a cave-woman, who sits in front of her desk and writes till a book is born.
  • Katie moved to June Lake, California. Together with her handsome boyfriend they have four dogs. Yes Reggie is one of those dogs. Captain Reg & Katie are very happy to be back in the mountains, where space is unlimited and you can pee anywhere. She will be working at a charming coffee shop & hotel at the entrance to Yosemite National Park. Most likely spending all of her free time running around with four legged creatures and saving birds n’ things.
  • We recently met up half way in between CA, and MI and spent a few days in Colorado together.  We are still best friends, and understand every single thought that goes through each others head. In fact this entire winter not only were we dealing our own adjustments, indecisiveness, and decision making, but each other’s as well. It was like double estrogen. Awful right? I didn’t realize how much we had been feeding off of eachother. I texted her recently and said “I say this in the nicest way possible – “I am so glad you’re gone because I can finally think for just myself. I didn’t realize how much work this was.” We laughed. She completely agreed. Katie and I live parallel lives. Doesn’t matter if I’m here and she’s there. In fact when we met up in Colorado we had the exact same sickness (razor throat ) at time of arrival. Not long before that we shared insomnia on the same night. And in no time we will be buying donkeys for a trek across America. Because America is really cool.
  • A few months back, we went to an audition in Detroit for “The Amazing Race” One of the weirder things I have ever done.
  • I am continuing to write my series with “Cruising Outpost” So keep buying issues!!!!!
  • Also keep an eye out for the May/June issue of SAILING magazine, you will find us inside and we are beyond flattered to be a part of this one !!!
  • Louise has moved on to new ownership. I will have an entire story about this in the near future, but please stay tuned because not only did they buy Louise to DO THE LOOP, but they are also bringing A DOG (OR TWO) !!!  The Louise legacy continues !!!!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU TO EVERYONES WHO KEEPS COMING BACK, AND TO THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN HERE SINCE THE BEGINNING. WITHOUT YOU I WOULD BE….. I DONT KNOW WHAT I WOULD BE…. A HOT MESS.

PLEASE EMAIL ME IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THE UPCOMING EVENT. I’D ALSO LOVE SOME FEEDBACK ON WHY YOU THINK THE GREAT LOOP IS AN UNKNOWN ODYSSEY AND HOW WE CAN HELP CHANGE THAT.

LOVELOVELOVE

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34 thoughts on “The Unknown Odyssey

  1. Thanks for the update! I often wonder why fewer younger people are into boats, and sailing in general. Obviously finances play a big part in that, but seaworthy boats from the 1970s, like Louise and my own Wanderer, are more affordable than ever. There are tons of schools out there that teach boating and sailing, a basic course could go a long way towards getting people out on the water. Another factor, like you touched on, is the fact that you are only going 5mph. In our age of instant everything it takes a certain mindset to just sit back and idly watch the coast go by. Personally I think sailing is the most fun you can have at 5mph.

  2. So I have a thought on this question you asked “Why doesn’t more people my age know about the loop?”

    When Cindy and I traveled in our RV for those 4 years, we NEVER met anyone our age. Everyone was in their retirement age. We had the time of our lives and enjoyed traveling and doing it while we had our youth to endure long hikes, longer paddles and basically ANYTHING we wanted to do. We were outcasts in every RV Park because we were so young.

    Now that we own an RV park, we’re seeing more and more young couple dabbling in fulltime RVing. I think with the rise of crazy housing costs, and the new generation of mobility due to having a connection basically where ever you are, there is a big shift from the sticks and bricks lifestyle of staying permanently in one place for most of your life to being able to be more mobile.

    Many associate boating with high costs, but you and Katie are proof in the pudding to show you can do it on a shoe string budget with shoes bought from a thrift store.

    Give it 10 years, and I bet you’ll see a big shift in the age of sailors and RV’ers. Cool to know that you were one of the pioneers and hopefully with your blog, and your talks, not to mention your amazing writing and good looks 🙂 more people your age will find out about this amazing lifestyle

  3. Been thinking about this post for awhile now…….One thing I think that society, and the younger generation needs to think about is their time

    Too many kids graduate high school and go directly to college without any idea of what they want to do with their life. Next thing they know, they’re 4-8 years into a degree and they’ve never even experienced life. Especially the way living life aboard a boat, in an RV roaming the country and spending a year or so abroad will do for your mind, body and the rest of your life.

    Parents teach their kids this and our entire society thinks this is the norm. Kids should take a year or two to go out and find themselves, know what they want to do in life, or just experience REAL LIFE and the REAL WORLD, not life living with your parents while you’re in High School or living in a dorm while you’re going to college.

    Most kids I talk to these days, by the time they’ve finished college, they’re in their late 20’s to early 30’s and have yet to do ANYTHING that is really exciting or monumental. I mean something they’ll be able to talk about for the rest of their life.

    You two did that, and I applaud you for it. Oh, and stop worrying about what you’re meant to do, it’ll find you at some point. Till then keep trying to be a better bartender than I am 🙂

  4. I love these stories, photos (seriously amazing) and thoughts (all too familiar) from a similar “lost” millennial aged person stuck between a real life in Chicago and wanting to ditch it all for the road. Keep questioning, exploring and doing cool things.

  5. I think you are doing just fine. Every generation goes through this and most will finally figure out where their place is in the world, it just takes time. Its not a race against the end because we can never truly do it all. Just enjoy you doing you and who knows maybe after the book a brand new adventure will take you to different shores and us along for the ride.

  6. First: This post made me sad. I rode along with the two of you, and now for me too, it is over. And like you, I don’t want it to be.

    I too have lamented on the lack of young people entering into sailing. Perhaps the problem is that there are too few “heros” (and you and Katie definitely qualify) of an age that young folks can identify with. Heros, not that are sailing on a million dollar yacht, but rather on a boat that they can imagine is within their reach. And the adventure too has to be within reach. Sailing around the world? Too big. Doing the Great Loop? Yeah, that’s the ticket! Big enough to be an inspiration, small enough to be within reach.

    So perhaps your next big thing will be to be an ambassador for the sailing lifestyle to your age group.

    Congratulations on getting published in all those places! But for each of them it will be a little of “preaching to the choir”. How to reach those outside the community? I have no good answer. But I will share your post on my Facebook timeline as a start.

    And in further analysist, I think an important question to ask is, “What got YOU hooked into sailing?”After all, if the objective is to get more folks involved, a little introspection into what brought us into sailing might be instructive. In that light and as a beginning, here is my story. I hope you get many others.

    And best of luck with that Next Step, whatever direction it takes you…

    bob
    s/v Eolian
    Anacortes

  7. The beauty of youth is that’s it’s all in front of you. Jessie, you and Katie are some of the lucky ones who understand fully the mantra -Do it now! Life will eventually catch up to you with its responsibilities, families, work, and obstacles to simply wandering. But may you always carry that wanderlust with you and pass it on to the next generation.

    And keep up that writing -you have an amazing gift for putting thoughts to words on paper. Can’t wait for that book!
    Love you!

  8. Great post…Keep it going….You have taken an opportunity and turned it into a career. The book is already written–Take your posts on this BLOG, rewrite them, and add your great pictures. Include your experience in Daytona that you scrubbed from the BLOG. Will email your other questions.

  9. I think finances are a big issue. We’re in the career building phase and very few of us can afford to take off for that long. Then there’s all the people who don’t want to work and just ask for the money on kickstarter to sail around in return for blogging or making YouTube videos. I’m amazed at how many millenials have no qualms about begging for money online to basically take an extended vacation.

    By the way, that’s very funny about thinking your middle name was “and.” I thought my great grandmother was a “grape” grandmother for years. I never understood why, I just figured that was why she always served grape jelly at her house.

  10. Everyone I know of around my age is broke, and struggling to pay off a ton of student debt while working in crappy jobs. That doesn’t lend itself well to boat ownership (unless you go all out and move onboard – in fact the only people my age I know who are boaters are all liveaboards, myself included). Even then, 80% of the cruisers I meet are retirement age.

  11. Hey, I’ve been following your blog for a while, but only discovered it when you had finished the loop, so I went back and read all your older posts. I’ve loved reading everything here and I just want to say when you finish the book I will definitely be buying it!!! 🙂

  12. Hi girls! How have you been? We are busy up here in Georgian Bay getting Ursa Major ll Ready, waiting for the ice on Georgian Bay to melt its way into mother earth.

    Your text is fabulous, your thoughts inspiring! When is your first book coming out? We will come to the official launch! LOVE

    Victoria & Robert & new puppy Timamisu

    Sent from my Samsung device

  13. Gorgeous photos of what I’m sure were wonderful experiences. You’ve worked hard for what you have so far and you should be proud of your achievements! I think all of us have a period of disillusionment, and millennials are just the ones now coming to that age of life. What we do with it will be what defines us.

  14. I love this post. Everything about it is beautiful…the photos, your choice and art of words, the honesty, wonder and desire to inspire.

    Apparently I am on the cusp of generations. I experience this as being in the middle of a tug-o-war, where the millennial side of me is dreaming big and excited about an unconventional, adventurous life and the GenX side of me is grounded in convention and feels 10 steps behind in terms of how to imagine and enable your dreams through technology and online communities/relationships. I’ve experienced many of my friends (we’re in our early 30s) feeling the same angst and often settling with “living vicariously” through those doing The Great Loop and such. So if you are feeling the millennials are absent in this, I can assure you that the GenXers are even more so.

    Money/funding, fear of the unknown/getting out of the comfort zone (often translated as “I don’t know how”) seem to be the two biggest reasons that people give as to what is holding them back. This is no excuse to stay stuck and yet people often choose to remain with known discomfort rather than tackling fears of the unknown.

    I left a career in management consulting after 9 years to go wander South America, discover what my passions are and to build a life around what I found. The other travelers I encountered often fell into one of two categories…The Adventurers often on long term expeditions with specific goals and those who were getting their thrill, armed with their Lonely Planet telling them where to go, before having to return to the self-proclaimed “real world” of unsatisfying, just-to-pay-the-bills work. I was surprised and sad to hear that even those who had made a big leap were seeing it as a “time out” from life instead of an opportunity for a way of life. I’ve become obsessed with knowing the differentiators and with being on “The Adventurers” side of things.

    I started following your journey when you were published in Women’s Adventure magazine and immediately added ‘sailing’ and specifically “The Great Loop” to the list of adventure I’m after…so thank you!

    I’m so happy to hear you are writing a book. I think story telling is a vital tool to answer these questions you’re raising and to experience them as a community. When I found out about The Great Loop, I was devastated to not have known it sooner…but then quickly became wildly excited that I knew about it now. Sharing your story is working!

    I’m writing a book about my journey as well, along with an interactive journal/workbook that calls out questions, ideas, exercises and such that I used on myself to get the courage to go on a long term adventure, hoping that it generates ideas and inspires action in others. That’s where I feel the ‘selfish’ move towards ‘service’…through storytelling.

    Onward and happy writing!
    Erin
    http://www.erinkmac.com

  15. When I was sailing a lot in my early 20’s, what was tough about convincing my younger friends to come sailing is not only detaching from the noise, but also committing to the money, time and emotional investment that sailing requires of you. I’m 33 now and it’s still hard to find people my age who love sailing as much as I do. Most of the true sailors I’ve met are strong willed yet very introspective and very disillusioned with mainstream society and it’s not that easy to convince people caught up in the rat race chasing what remains of the american dream to cast off the lines for an extended period of time and explore not only the world beyond their doorstep or computer screen, but also to become one with their own thoughts without the constant distraction of facebook and instagram and CNN and mass media and social status and celebrity gossip and keeping up with the Joneses. I mean, it is definitely possible now to stay connected even if you are out there with your sails up cruising a steady five knots all day with the autopilot on, but there’s something magic about the actual act of tuning into the forces of nature that makes you not NEED to be connected in any other way. Money plays a big part in it, but not if you are thrifty and extremely handy, which again, a lot of people aren’t, and younger people even less so.

    I understand what you mean though about being out there looking for some great answer or revelation. I’ve spent so long doing the same and I’ve read a lot of similar stories and blogs from like-minded people, but I don’t think we’re meant to find it, the solution, or the “more than this” that we can feel out there, whether sailing, traveling the road, hiking the trail, or any other manifestation of wanderlust. It’s hard to even explain or talk about without crossing into religious discussions but for me I think the act of being out there is the sort of emotional therapy that some people need just to stay sane, now matter how hard you think and reflect and how often you do without ever actually resolving or discovering anything from it. You really are out there for yourself and with yourself but still….looking for yourself all the same. Whatever it is, it’s anything but selfish, at least not in the negative connotation that selfish implies, but very… of the self, I guess you could say.

  16. I have followed your adventure/blogs for nearly a year and you have inspired me to the point of secretly starting to plan on doing the Great Loop. This event planed for April 18 is a fantastic idea, the problem I have is I live in Alberta, Canada. I’m sure there are many others who have the same issue as myself, we are just to far away from the event site. Is there some way you can look at making this as a webinar? I think you would get much more interest from people being able to take part and benefit from what sounds like a great event. Technology should be able to make that happen. I hope you consider this option for those of us who cannot attend simply due to distance. Good luck on the 18th, I hope you have a full house! All the best!

  17. Ahoy Ladies… When we traveled the loop I think we were also looking for a bigger meaning. Ultimately, we found that we were living life in a house that happened to float. It does bring you back to basics in that amenities tend to be limited even though we were fortunate to have a pretty comfy boat. It was a great chance to meet people and share life with our family. In a world where next day delivery and instant messaging seem the norm, it is hard to get people to slow down and truly experience life. Young people seem under huge pressure to succeed (good grades, good jobs, big paycheck). Maybe we need to redefine or expand the meaning of success. We have had many people say to us that they wish they could do the loop. We suggest that they just “do it”. It seems they can always find many reasons to not go rather than building on the inner drive that says to venture out. I guess it takes all types to make the world work. There are loopers and bloggers and those that live vicariously thru the us. Know that when you get to our age, you will not look back and be sad that you missed out on a chance to live on the edge. Keep pushing the envelope… maybe that is your destiny. Best of luck on your voyage be it on sea or on land. If you are ever in Maryland, stop in and see the crew on Copesetic.

  18. Hi Jessie,

    I am sure you do not remember me but you went to elementary school and middle school with my son Matt VandenElst. I know your mom and Aunt Peggy and Uncle Duff Lewis. I came upon this post via a Facebook friend and wanted to shout out to you that I have been so moved to hear of your adventures. Matt left after college on an adventure of his own moving to NYC all by himself after college. Your generation’s bravery blows me away. I know you both will be better people for all the chances you are willing to take. The safe journey has been what many of your generation from GR have taken. They are doing fine BUT! you and Matt and others like you will end with such life learning and memories. Keep at it! That book will come and it will be great! Matt’s screenplay will do the same! If not you will both be the better for going for it1

    Best,

    Kay VandenElst

  19. Yay–an update!!

    Ah, I think I know where in CO you were!

    I’ve always felt like I was occupationally-challenged. Now I realize that it’s time the norms changed. Why should we toil away at work that doesn’t interest us for most of our lives, counting down the days until retirement? Why not find little things that engage and encompass us and let them carry us through?

    I’ve started seeing money as a semi-necessary evil and time as the holy grail. The less I think about money, the more liberated I feel. I’ve gotten to the point that there’s nothing from the commercial world that I want, and it’s as if the chains have been lifted. One of my inspirations is Daniel Suelo, who has lived without a cent of currency for many years. He states that the financial system is imaginary–it’s just something we dreamed up (ironically in an attempt to manage greed). Most money is completely intangible–just a number in a computer. Why does it control us the way it does?

    I am afraid of boats (largely because of the water they’re on), but I do hope to do more land-based adventuring. I imagine you have been, are and will-be very inspirational to others who are contemplating the Loop or a similar journey. It does take a great deal of courage, however (I think this is the largest obstacle–I know it is mine).

    1. Every time I log onto my bank account and read the numbers I think too myself “why do these silly numbers control everything I can and can not do?” It does seem imaginary to me as well… the less I care about it the more content I am. Thanks Eric.

  20. I think that, from a very young age, we are molded to think that there is a certain path to follow, and that if we don’t follow it, people will be disappointed in us. The reality is, however, that when all is said and done, the only opinion that matters is that which we have of ourselves. And if you never really know yourself, are never really alone with yourself, and never really test yourself, you can never have that. Most people only seem to realize this at retirement age, but I really hope that is changing. Also, Jessie, if you haven’t already, watch the movie “Wild” or read the book it was based on. I think you’d really enjoy it!

    “There’s a sunrise and a sunset every day, and you can choose to be there for it. Put yourself in the way of beauty.”

  21. A lot of good points by both Jessie and commenters. I’m a gen-x-er who just turned 40 (!), and took time out from the epitome of rat races (wall street) when I was 30 to do a year of cruising and traveling. At that time I only met a handful of other cruisers under 60, and they were either sailing addicts from an early age, like me, or itinerant adventurers like K&J. But they were so few! And there was little encouragement. Except for a few old hippie sailors who “got it”, the rest assumed I was a lazy trust fund brat or running from the law — neither of which were true, of course.
    I now work with a lot of millenials, and to say they need instant gratification is an understatement. You guys are amazing in that you committed two years to your adventure. That’s huge! The twenty-somethings I know do not have that kind of attention span, and definitely do not understand the idea of using their own money to fund things. Entitlement is the rule. Some of them work very hard, but refuse to spend any money — a great habit, but not an excuse to expect others to fund their lifestyle.
    So yes, committing to buying a boat, planning for an extended period of who-knows-what, and sticking to the plan doesn’t befit their attitude. It’s a lot easier, requires far less commitment, and makes for more impressive facebook/instagram posts to jump on a plane to Timbuktu and ride elephants with the natives — which brings up a point already made, that doing something distinctly American, the Great Loop, is unacceptable in an age of increasingly anti-patriotic sentiment. Seems most would prefer to go on a yoga retreat to India. Good for you guys for seeing the amazing adventure and diversity right here at home. Convince people of that, and you’ll achieve your goal of getting younger people on board.
    Finally, more practically, yes, I acknowledge their are reasonable, bright, adventurous young people who defy the millenial stereotypes and who probably would do it the loop in a heartbeat, but they’re drowning in debt from student loans and other burdens they’ve had foisted onto them. I left at 30 because that’s just when I had finished paying off loans and a car, and saved just enough for an old boat and a 6 month cruising kitty. And now back in debt at 40! It’s a problem for multiple generations, and it’s not easy to avoid. You’d be doing an amazing service by speaking to kids at 18, 19, before they take on these monstrous, useless student loans and buy new cars and houses they can’t afford, and convince them to do as you’ve done: work your way through, earning and paying as you go, until you’ve lived a few adventures, traveled a bit, and satisfied enough wanderlust to move onto other things and make wiser decisions.

    1. Great reply Cal Sailor. The younger generation needs to read more replies like this!!! Kudo’s to you for doing it while you had the chance

  22. At 33, I awkwardly straddle the line between Gen-X and the Millenials, so my thoughts probably aren’t totally reflective of you whippersnapchatting isntagrammers.

    1) Although I’ve been fascinated by your sailing adventure, I grew up in canoes and never learned how to sail. The idea fascinates me, but I feel like I would have a ton to learn before I could even think about driving a boat a few thousand miles. Speaking of learning how to sail, Outward Bound has a sailing school in Maine. I wonder if they would consider opening a school in Michigan.

    2) As a young expert on the Great Loop, have you thought about leading tours and teaching your guests how to sail on the way? Maybe you could partner with a charter to lower your upfront capital investment and get some assistance with the frustrating boat maintenance.

    3) Student loans are a killer for a lot of young (or in my case, youngish) people. I went to grad school, so my payments are over $800 per month on a 25 year graduated plan. I would love to take a year off for a grand adventure, but if I deferred my student loans for a year, I would accrue about another $10,000 in interest that would get tacked on as principal to my debt. That’s before you even talk about buying the sailing lessons, the boat, and the boat’s maintenance costs!

    4) The AT and PCT are accessible. Everybody knows how to walk (albeit, with varying levels of skill) and people can hike sections on weekends/vacations with a much lower investment than sailing. Also, awareness! The PCT had Wild and the AT has a boatload (pun intended) of books with A Walk in the Woods hitting theaters soon. No pressure or anything, but you have an opportunity to write THE BOOK for your generation on experiencing the Great Loop. Then, picture this: “Starring Hayden Panettiere as Jessie and Jennifer Lawrence as Katie…”

  23. Thank you for this wonderful post. Each one your posts is a treasure. As a young person you are doing exactly what should be done… learning about the world and the people who inhabit it, the animals and nature… and of course the unexamined life is not worth living. When I was young I took traveled far and wide and it was amazing.

    It’s ironic that young people have the energy and the freedom to “travel” and explore but lack the money. Of course you don’t need a lot… but you do need. And a boat is a marvelous way to take your home with you wherever you go. How cool is that! The older people have some money from years of hard work, unfulfilled dreams because they got bogged down in the mainstream rut and can’t seem to disentangle themselves from the mess life has woven around them. They read of your adventure and think… if only… if only… and sadly few can do the loop or anything similar. A few break out but not many.

    What concerns me is the influence (bad) of technology and connectivity on the younger people especially and everyone in general. I’ve grown to have a love-hate… or is it hate-love relationship with screens. There were none when I began sailing and I loved very much that I could get away from things like phones! Now you can’t escape pixels and digital stuff, and www and so forth. But of course without this “connectivity” and screens we (I) could not share your journey. So I am thankful for the amazing digital work we live in… but hare seeing the little grand children with their faces in screens all day. I fear this will render them incapable of the great loop. Just another hurdle and barrier.

    I saw an elderly lady from the neighborhood… sitting in a walker/stroller thing… reading. I see her sometimes when the weather is fair… reading a novel… Does anyone read these days? Books? And can anyone write… You can and write beautifully…. but ur n xceptn…texting and sexting and so on. I don’t like where all this is heading. Everywhere I go people are looking at the smart phones… everyone. I was at the ABT Gala… and during intermission I saw a very elegant woman stunningly dressed clutching her iphone… at the ballet! I suppose to snap some selfies!

    I’d love to see this journey of discovery as a book with your amazing photos… I want it signed and it will be one of my most prized possessions… read and re read…. till the lights go out.

    Namaste and thank you so much for doing this AND for documenting it. This has been truly one of the most beautiful corners of the www.

    Jeffrey
    sv shiva

    How simple, yet complex
    The sailboat is
    Each part essential
    Time tested solutions
    To the problems
    Of how to go
    From here to there
    With wings of cloth
    Flying through the air
    Yet swimming too
    With fins of metal
    Across vast oceans blue
    Touching and caressing
    Each land
    On our planet Earth
    Afloat in a vast
    Heavenly sea of stars

    Men of all times
    Looked to the heavens
    to find their way
    Knowing the signs
    Placed skyward
    To guide them
    Over infinite waves
    Disappearing into the horizon
    Where all dreams lay

    Now electrons too small
    For senses to know
    Carry the messages
    From man made stars
    Too insignificant to shine
    A matrix of ideas
    Dividing the earth
    Into precise little squares
    As addresses
    In a metropolis
    For all to know
    With the need to go
    From here to there

  24. Hey you two :). How is life treating you these days?? We are currently in Trinidad visitingDwayne’s cousins. Nov 1, we head back to the Bahamas foe our last season. We will be selling BoomDeYada either in Annapolis or Florida, leaning towards Annapolis. When we return the next plan is to buy land and build the home we’ve always wanted to build. We spent the summer home and it was great to see the boys. They all have girlfriends now!!! Jessie, you waited too long, Katie we know you’re spoken for. Keep in touch guys, it’s great to read over your current day lives. Be well and be happy xxx Julie & Dwayne.

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