Woh Woh Woh – Where have you been Lily!?

Wow, sorry guys. I kinda went AWOL there didn’t I?

But guess what? I have SO much to tell you!

When I left you last, oh so many months ago, I was in the Mediterranean, working on a 70ft classic sailing yacht. Remember the one?

image11Right. So, Marc and I are still working on the same boat, but a lot has happened in the meantime! For starters, we bought a boat together !!!!!!!! Yes, we bought a boat together. That’s sort of like marriage isn’t it? It felt just as serious and stressful and fun and heart-racing as marriage anyway.

Ladies and Gentlemen… Introducing… our new darling lady… the one and only…

Sailing Vessel PROJECTION – a Stevens 47:

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Wow, right? Are you thinking what I’m thinking? (**NB: I’m thinking: DAMN, that’s a big boat!!**)

Yes, we bought a big boat. She’s 47 ft long! That may come as a surprise to those of you that know me as the “smaller is better” “go small go now” “who needs a fridge anyway” philosophical sailor… but there is rhyme to our reason, don’t you worry.

Here’s the thing. It’s not just our boat. It’s your boat too!

The story is, we’re launching our very own business. It’s called Projection Travel and it’s officially a company so you can go ahead and put PTY LTD at the end of that ūüėČ We will be offering sailing and¬†cycling charters throughout the Pacific, starting in January 2016. Think gourmet food, kayak expeditions, tropical bike tours, turquoise¬†anchorages, yoga mornings etc, etc…¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† So, can I get a HELL YEAH?

More info on all that exciting stuff will come over the next few weeks as we get our website launched – watch this space for an opportunity to join us for some sailing and cycling adventures!

But by now you might be thinking… what about baby Portal?

Yes, baby Portal.

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My first love… my beautiful, darling Portal. This little lady will always hold a very special place in my heart. She taught me so much of everything. And she made it easy. Portal was a wonderful First Boat, and our journeys together… all the way from the smog of LA, through the clear waters of the Pacific, and into the tidal belly¬†of the Brisbane River… will never be forgotten!¬†

What? Portal’s GONE!?

Yes, ’tis true. Well, she’s “moved on” let’s say. She has found herself an abundantly suitable new caretaker, who I trust will love and care for her twice as well as I did. She will mosey her way along the Northern NSW coasts, and be grateful to have the wind in her sails once more.

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… So that’s about it for the BIG NEWS items. A summary, for those of you that skip to the bottom:

  • I left my job in the Med for a 3 month crazy-head-spinning trip to Australia, where I scrubbed my lovely boat Portal within an inch of her life and sold her to a delightful man named John.
  • Marc then came to snatch me back. It was a joyful reunion after 2 months too long!
  • Then,¬†we signed some big documents with scribbles at the bottom to say we just bought a NEW boat – Projection.
  • We are now back at work in the Med. But only for a few months – in September we jump ship, and start the real¬†project – Projection Travel: Sailing and Cycling Adventures.

Stay tuned for more ūüôā

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And like a raindrop falling from a luscious leaf, my time in Australia comes to an end. Almost five months, but they seem to dwindle into a small stack of memories, finishing before they fully begin. When I left Madison, last year in early winter, life was pretty chaotic. My four years away from ‘home’ had finally caught up with me –¬† I was losing touch with myself, grasping for truth, for happiness, and looking in all the wrong places.

Getting back to Australia, to the people who will always know and love me – let life click back into sense. I spent much of my time alone… reading, learning, growing… and enjoying my solitary company. I’d bike around for work from dawn till mid afternoon and silently watch my city come alive. On rainy days and during my breaks, I’d devour a book on sailing, or diesel mechanics, or live-a-board lifestyles, escaping into dreams and plans for my pretty little Cape Dory. On weekends, a train then bike to the beach would replenish my soul and inspire positivity. Life makes more sense in the water, that’s just the way it is.

Often I’d catch up for tea with one of my few dear friends, who’d listen compassionately and help look for new perspectives. The running saga of my life (latest skype calls, emails, letters) would tumble out my mouth as Mum, Ange, Andy or Jester returned comments, suggestions, or just hugs and understanding.¬† Always I’d come home to smiles, good meals, and a cosy nest. And as the quickening time tramped on, my heart mended itself, my soul found itself, and happiness happened.

A jet plane blew me into yesterday, a train choo-choo’d me across America’s plains, and now here I am, full circle, back in Madison’s Midwest.

This last 6 months Charlie and I have jumped some big hurdles. We stumbled a few times, made lots of mistakes, and the tunnel grew dark once or twice… but from here, sharing together this springtime light of day, I’m thankful. Our strength feels doubled, our love more unified… and our new adventure ready to begin…

Owning a sailboat! California here we come!

Family Member Addition

As I toil away here, screw-driver and allen keys in hand, working Monday to Friday for the first time in my life… I picture this:

and suddenly, the 40 degree heat, the monotony and the strain of an outdoor bicycle-mechanic job (for Brisbane city’s City Cycle bike-share program) doesn’t seem in the least bit arduous.

I’m putting away the pennies and true to the old adage – “A boat is just a hole in the water you throw money into” – tearing up $100 bills with ease and finesse. But doesn’t she look PRETTY?!

She’s had her cute little bottom painted, a brand new blue boot-stripe, her sea-cocks and thru-hulls replaced, a new depth sounder put in, and a whole long list of other fun (just add zero’s) additions or replacements.

She’s a Cape Dory 30ft Cutter (always a favourite of mine) and designed by Carl Alberg. We settled on January 1st – not a bad way to start off the year in my books! Before and since, she’s been in the experienced, nurturing hands of my old friend (and Captain of ‘Ramble’), John, who I am forever indebted to, thanks to his continuous love, support and level-headedness.

I’m spending my days turning them into weeks, work-work-working my way to her, and plan to be state-bound by mid-April. Perhaps no name will suit until i have felt her under a slight press of sail and a following sea, but I’m all open to ideas, if you have any!

For now, I console myself with dreams of letting go the bowlines, sailing away from the safe harbor, and catching the trade winds in my sails…

and at long last, I know where to call Home.

Some Things Never Change

I’m drinking a Flat White. It’s 28 degrees hot. I biked here on the left side of the road, and someone just said “see you this arv'”. Where am I? Home!¬† A week after landing, it all still feels like a novelty, but the part of myself I left here, 3 and a half years ago, has been welcomed back. Traveling, as is well-known by addicts of the open-road, allows you to be whoever you want to be. You can leave behind past identities and recreate. Usually, if you’re gone long enough, you’ll run right back into yourself, but there’s still an element of anonymity, of character-play.

Here, back home, I’m the Lily my old friends know, the woman my family knows. My mother knows me almost better than I know myself, so there’s no getting away from it here. And it’s so nice. Not to have to explain, not to have to decide, who that is. I’ve got a few more stories and a few more scars, but essentially, I’m still me.

And in the same way, my City is too. Buildings have come up and gone down, the dramatic floods early in the year have altered it’s shape and shaken it’s stumps, but it stills smells the same, people still smile the same, and Kangaroos still graze in the morning fog. Some things never change.

I left Madison in chaos, and with a heavy heart. My world there was splitting off into two different directions – one outside, one inside – and rather than decide which to go in – I left them both.

Brisbane, this is where I know. Where my constants can be constant and leave me room to figure out the rest.Where working out who I am doesn’t get in the way of working out what I want.¬† Where my city stands, and where I stand – afraid, brave, and intrigued – together.