Follow That Dream…
“One day, let’s sail around the world.” A phrase my husband Fergus would often mutter, especially when we were up against deadlines, client demands and staffing issues in the travel PR agency we ran in Lymington, Hampshire.
Then ‘One Day’ happened. Just as the business celebrated its 10th birthday and won an award, the timing just suddenly worked – perhaps with a helping push! But there we were selling up everything we owned; the business, the motor boat, the house and the car. And purchased in their place was a six-year old Lagoon 440 catamaran, located near Toulon, France.
At this stage, I have to be honest in that selling up and repositioning to the south of France was a nightmare. Everything that could go wrong did. The tip of the iceberg was the self-drive van we arranged in order to transport our worldly goods to France. Avoid at all costs a company called One Way Van Hire as they dropped the van with us and it promptly blew up 48 hours before we were due to leave the country. With no replacement van available, no refund given and the fact that new owners were moving into our house, we were left to our own devices to resolve the issue. And fast!
Thankfully, we had left selling our car till last minute, and so having arranged for our boxes to be transported the following week by courier, we piled everything we could into our car – an Audi TT Convertible. With the dog on the parcel shelf and the car full to the gunnels, we left Lymington one miserable Sunday afternoon in February 2014 and headed to France.
With a mixture of excitement and trepidation, we boarded our boat in Toulon. I cannot begin to describe the mixture of emotions we went through as we got to know the boat. Our first night on board was far from the celebration planned; there was no gas, the heating didn’t work, the bilge alarm kept going off – and all we had managed to fit into our car by way of bedding was one lone sleeping bag and a pillow. Not the most romantic of starts to our new dream life, especially given that it was Valentine’s Day.
When the lovely courier man arrived with our belongings I was over the moon. Now I could make the boat into our home. But as we unpacked, we realised we had bought far too much. The golf clubs, bread machine and cook books were all sent home. Everything else was rammed and squeezed in and it wasn’t long before we looked cosy, stylish and felt at home.
Next step – exploring the Mediterranean, oh and learning to sail. Did I forget to say? I’ve worked on cruise ships, have been a regular motor boater and love being on the sea, but the one tiny issue in our plan to follow that dream is that while my husband is a very accomplished RYA Yachtmaster, I have very little sailing experience. Opps!
Not much can prepare you for the transition between living on land and living on sea, but do take into account other people’s experiences.
A year-in and still at sea, living that dream, we’ve had time to reflect on those first few months. We wish we had rented rather than sold our house. Not planning too far ahead is a must. And being more up to speed on the Med’s ever-changeable weather is vastly important. Every day presents a challenge, but one to rise up and meet with gumption, not defeat.
First published March 2015