On exactly one month from today, barring some unforeseen circumstance such as a hurricane, we will pull out of our slip at Regatta Pointe for the last time. It is slightly surreal that we are nearing an adventure that has been in the planning stages for the past two to three years.
The intervening days between July 11 and August 11 will be packed with working and preparations. I have eleven remaining shifts in the emergency department in July before we drive to Ohio on Sunday, July 27th. We have already started sifting through what remains of our personal belongings which were kept in storage and that, since we gave up our storage unit, have been occupying one of our guest berths on Beatitude. We will pack all of the things that we have been keeping for land-life into the back of our Honda Fit and drive them to Ohio to reunite with our other belongings which are in storage in the homes of our family members.
After passing on our automobile to our youngest daughter, Mariah, I will fly back to Florida at the beginning of August for eighty-eight hours of caring for the sick in the emergency department over nine days. The next day, August 11, we will untie the lines and venture forth into our yet to be charted future.
The plan, as of now, is to journey south into the Florida keys for the winter. We will likely stop in a few places along the southwest coast of Florida as we move southward. We hope to spend a month or two in the Bahamas this winter as well before we return to Florida in preparation for a summer venture up the eastern seaboard of the United States. If all goes as planned, we’ll make it all the way up into New England and spend some time visiting our daughter in Boston. I’m so looking forward to visiting by sea many of the lovely places we’ve visited by land.
As I’m sure I’ve previously mentioned, I will continue to work part-time for the next several months at least, and likely longer (but less and less as time goes on). The plan will be to leave the boat for nine or ten days at a time and either fly or drive back into Lakeland for a concentrated string of shifts in the E.D. We’ll then make our way back to Beatitude and continue on for another few weeks.
Of course, all cruisers know that their plans are written in sand and subject to change with the next wave or gust of wind. Yesterday, I came across a quote by C. S. Lewis that emphasized living in the present moment: “Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment ‘as to the Lord.’ It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.” I think C. S. Lewis could have been a cruiser.