It hardly seems feasible that it has been a year since returning home from the Great Loop.
When I came home a year ago, I was very excited about getting back to work with all my favorite people in Nogales. My clinic director called me, ten miles south of crossing my wake, telling me "enough was enough", they needed me back at work. I returned to Arizona, only to find that the chief operating officer had different ideas on how the Nogales clinic would be running after my clinic director retired, the following February. She wanted interchangeable nurse practitioners, who were willing to work in any and all of their clinics at a moment's notice. Continuity of care was not a line item on their budget. After three months, I was not rehired. It was beyond disappointing, as I really missed all the people I had worked with for so many years.
While in Arizona, I was able to reconnect with colleagues and
friends, and in February I started working part-time for another company
out of Arizona. After a few months of telecommuting in Arizona, one of my friends found an advertisement for a part-time psychiatric nurse practitioner in Southport. I started working "in-person" a couple weeks ago; so far I love my new job.
Without work or income when I returned, I decided to sell Annabelle. Dock fees, maintenance, and insurance alone would cost at least $500/month. I shipped her up to Virginia, where she had repairs done at Tidewater Marina, before being sold to a gentleman from Maryland. (I call him a gentleman, but in reality, he irritated me to no end.)
I miss her very much! I miss the sunrises and sunsets. I miss the peacefulness of anchoring out. I have looked at other boats, but nothing has fit the bill, the way Annabelle did. I imagine that my next boat will be slightly larger, hopefully for two people instead of one.
I look forward to new adventures, but don't know what they will be. I dream of going through the canals in Europe and sailing in the Caribbean. Whatever my next adventure is, I would like it to be with someone.
Many people have asked how I made it back to Southport so quickly. Tom, from the fast boat No Compromises, got home to Southport a couple months after me, then Mark and Jane arrived three months after Tom. I had to be very careful on Annabelle, because she was smaller and slower than the other boats. Also, I was traveling alone. If the weather was good and the seas were calm, I took advantage of it and went as far as I could go. I stopped in places I didn't expect, and sometimes bypassed the places I hoped to stop. I think back to Soloman's Island, hearing all my friends planning a party for that evening, while finding myself on picture perfect, glassy waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Reluctantly I moved onward towards Annapolis. I anchored at an island in Lake Michigan, when the marina was full in Charlevoix. Yet, it was all perfect, in its own way.
A friend suggested I read the book Travels with Charley, by Steinbeck. I have learned to understand his descriptions about taking a journey. "A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us."
When I returned home, and found myself without an income, I floundered and felt like I had no clear direction. I related the feeling to being in the fog on Lake Ontario, only the opposite. On Lake Ontario, I couldn't see anything, but my course was clear. After I returned home, I could see just fine, but had no bearings on where I was going. My acupuncturist from Arizona, a wise young woman, suggested I be open to other ideas about my future. She said it was clear I couldn't go backwards, but must move forward; a different door would open.
In this last year, I have started writing about my journey on the Great Loop. My plan is to publish a book, a memoir, an easy read, filled with some of the more interesting stories I had on the Loop. It will not be a travel guide, or a how-to book. My hope is that it brings the trip to life in a way that anyone can understand, boaters and non-boaters alike.
I have joined a writer's group with inspiring authors. I have written my first draft and have a long way to go before the book is complete. I have incredible respect for writers, whose works are written, re-written, edited, revised, and then edited and revised a few more times. It is more tedious than navigating up the New Jersey Intracoastal waterway, and as time-consuming as preparing for the Loop.
I am no longer floundering, I have found my path forward, and hope all who read this anniversary posting are doing well. May we all find the path we choose to go down, or at least have enough vision to see the one we have taken.