travolta-1Hey mate. Casually I am allowed to use the word “mate” because I have recently returned from England . I tried to explain to a British lad that when I heard the use of the word “mate” I immediately concluded one was referring to A) a (soul)mate/significant other or B) the person you are physically mating with. I was reassured that A) I am American and B) apparently I know nothing, oh and C) Everything I have ever known to exist was invented in England.

Then I tried to explain that if I were in Key West for example, and referred to Katie as my “mate” the assumption would be that she was my girlfriend.  In return I was delivered the historic definition and how the word is used in a nautical context. Yeah, I get it, I’m just saying #Cultural differences.

Back in America. Back in the grind. Back with all of my favorite people.  Back to wide roads, open spaces and country music. Back to my sleepy little town in northern Michigan. Most importantly – back to boat shows.

I’ve missed it. ‘Merica, that is. Feeling patriotic.

Sailing has recently brought a lot of new traffic to our blog so I wanted to encourage and invite those of you who have not heard the full story to come listen to one of our seminars. Let us enlighten you on what it is really like to live on a 27 foot sailboat for two years with your best friend and a dog. The full story.


Thursday 14TH – 1pm (Great Loop)

Friday 15th – 2:15 (Bahamas)

Sunday 17th – 1pm (Great Loop)

Monday 18th – 11:45 (Great Loop) 3:30 (Bahamas)


Thursday 11th – 4:45 (Bahamas)

Sunday 14th – 3:30 (Great Loop)

monday 15th – 3:30 (Great Loop)

OAKLAND BOAT SHOW  //  April 7-11 

Seminar times to be determined

If you don’t catch a seminar, swing by the Cruising Outpost booth and say hello. You should probably bring a beer. We will be working all week with Bob Bitchin and his bad ass wife Jody.

On a sidenote – A lot of you are aware that I took this past fall to travel across the pond to a continent most commonly know as – Europe. I had high expectations for myself to do nothing but write. I admit to placing those expectations at an unfathomable height forgetting that I am only 5’2” and can not physically reach, climb, nor pole vault that high. But I tried. And I did write. In fact I wrote a lot. But not in the way I had imagined. So… I had ditched my employers, ditched my roommates, ditched my family, packed up my bags, took off to Europe on a one-way ticket with dreams to accomplish my passion project and found myself… um…slightly frustrated… in the same way I have been all year on this subject. So proceeding this I am going to stop talking about it. Not giving up. Just going mute.

Isolating myself in Hungary where I couldn’t speak to anyone (at all) I had intentions to stay for a month. I signed up fully aware that conversation would be light if it existed at all. But somehow I’d forgotten what it felt like to be alone with my own thoughts. You’d think this issue would be pretty obvious coming from one who spent two years on a boat stuck inside her own head. Whoever I was having conversations with in my mind over there in Europe…had me completely convinced that this project was/is the stupidest Idea I have ever had and that I am quite possibly the worst candidate to be the author. Every time I sat down to write I was staring at a freshly painted white canvas. I could smell the paint that had erased everything I completed the day before. Nothing there. Not shit. Just because I have a story doesn’t mean I can tell it in the way I want people to understand. Just as one can take a photograph of the most beautiful landscape they have ever laid eyes on, only to later see that photo gave no justice to what one actually saw. Nothing there. Not shit.

That being said, I started to move around. City to city. Country to Country. Buses. Trolleys. Trains. Planes. Boats. Hovercrafts. I walked, and walked and walked and walked some more. I took thousands of photos (a few below) I took notes (mostly mental) I watched people (not in a creepy way) I mastered the art of going to pubs alone (trying not to look desperate for conversation)  I honed in my survival skills (after misplacing my phone in Budapest for two weeks) I stared at my computer screen hour after hour (completely constipated) And even experienced an power failure at 300 feet aboard a single engine Piper with my friend Mark (end of constipation)

I drove 111 mph on the Autobahn while having a sip of beer in Germany. I sang “The Sound of Music” through Austria. I rudely stared at the beautiful people of Prague. I had lunch in Poland. I got lost more than once in Budapest. I was weakened in the knees by England’s seaside and cream tea. I spent 30 minutes in France. I didn’t even smoke weed in Amsterdam. I ate cheese and drank beer through Belgium. I found myself to be one of the most logistically uncoordinated humans ever as I repeat visited most countries twice at completely different times.

I saw a lot. I missed a lot. I learned a lot. I am most complacent when scenery is passing me by. I don’t care what the scenery is. I don’t care which mode of transportation. I don’t care where I am going. I don’t care how long it takes. I’ve sealed the envelope and stamped these two things  – my motivation comes from movement, and from people. I want to keep moving, but I don’t want to do it alone.

Right. Ok. See you at the boat show, mate. 

14 thoughts on “MERICA

  1. Jess, so excited, happy to read this. Your writing, as always, is funny, insightful, intriguing. And gorgeous photos, wanting more commentary there. Been wondering bout your whearabouts, glad you’re back in Merica, can’t wait for the next phase in your journey. Fwd ing your blog to eldest granddaughter, Julia , just turned 18, matriculated from her Capetown high school, still unsure of her next step. Love you Jess, and so proud of you, AB

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Great post. I saw your post on Instagram of the bead boarding project…..looks like a great girl power story there too… should write a blog post about that!!!!

  3. Jess, I am the same way about writing. I just finished sailing down the east coast for the past 8 months and I am trying to write up my experience sitting next to a space heater on my boat in Jacksonville FL in January. Have you though of getting a ghost writer? Gary Fong a wedding photographer put out two books that way under his own name. Good luck with the boat shows and I hope to read about your journey when it gets published.

  4. Jess, you have already written your book. Print off your BLOG. Start from day 1 and rewrite what you have already written. You could have one book called the loop, that covers just the Mississippi and ICW. I would include your experience in Daytona. This part was deleted but an important experience for your or other person that reads your book. A book about life is not all great stuff. Then your second book would cover the Bahamas. The guys you met there and your visits by plane are important. Bahama love? The trip there and back to US. Your rescue in the Gulf Stream. The can of beans going all over the cabin. You have a lot going for you. Grasp the ring girl. Your pictures are great. You have done it and you can polish your BLOG into a book. Love You… Your St. Augustine, FL friend

  5. Writing is over rated, live your life while you can, soon enough you will be old and stinky like me and there will be pleanty of time to write;)

  6. Love your website/travel blog. First caught wind of it via Sailing Anarchy. I appreciate that you are you (plural Katie & Jessie) are not just another euro trash couple traveling around the Caribbean telling us how wonderful and carefree life is while asking for money. Rather I see your travel blog more as the Anthony Bourdain of the sailing world. Keep up the good work. Cheers !

  7. After reading this whole blog while mechanically talking to prospective clients (while simultaneously planning my kayaking trip for “the great loop”) I have noticed a couple things.
    1) You and your friend Katie are extraordinary people. You inspire me and I’m sure you have inspired countless others. I appreciate the guts it took to set out on the trip around the loop with nothing but a couple friends and a refurbished boat, and I applaud you (I’m literally clapping as I type, it’s impressive if I do say so myself).
    And 2) You have gotten infinitely better with your photos! (Not that they were bad before, by any means) I’ve always been an amateur photographer and greatly respect people with your sort of talent. Honestly, your photos are out of this world. Keep on keepin’ on ya’ll. Maybe I’ll see you on the water someday. Best of luck from Iowa.

    Live strong!

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