I actually don’t know where to start.
Life has been moving so fast, even these quick blog posts have been swept aside. I’m still stuck in a slow February on here, which really, feels a lifetime ago.
I’m living in Bodrum, Turkey. How’s that for a start?
Ok, ok, I’ll back up. Well, for us hopeless romantics, it always starts and ends with LOVE doesn’t it?
Four and a half years ago, a man named Marc came into my life. I was sailing on “Ramble” in the Caribbean, and as we motored into a marina in the BVI’s, we passed a very fine, 90ft, classically designed yacht. She was a head turner. While everyone else was busy admiring her sweeping lines though, my attention was caught elsewhere. Leaning against the mizzen mast, was a very large-framed, well-loved, touring bicycle. I knew more about bikes than boats at the time, and I was instantly curious to meet its owner – obviously a fellow bike traveller.
The next day I wondered up the dock, and was introduced to Marc, a French Canadian… nomad. A single word isn’t enough, but nomad fits him better than most. We went cycling around the island together, and I learnt he had been on the road for almost 10 years, at first on two wheels, then later afloat. Needless to say, we had a lot in common, and discussion flowed easily as we shared stories of adventure.
I was 22 at the time, and just a few months earlier had bid farewell to my sweetheart, Charlie, before crossing the Atlantic on John’s 36ft classic “Ramble”. I was truly inspired by Marc’s enthusiasm for life, our friendship and certain conversations staying with me long after I had sailed north.
We stayed in touch over the years, through letter-writing and the occasional email, sharing the trials and tribulations of the long-term traveller – how to stop, when to keep moving, love, jobs, family…
When Portal pulled into Brisbane, I was, after 6 years of ‘on the road’, ready for some stability. I liked the idea of a 9-5, of relatives close by, of a community I was connected to. Nevertheless, any friends I told this to would shake their heads in disbelief. Maybe they know me better than myself. Maybe they knew, that despite me really wanting those things… income, stability, family… that I would give it up, all too easily, for love.
Marc flew out to Australia from Vancouver, in March. When my mother asked him what had brought him here, his answer was pretty clear: “Lily”.
Charlie and I had separated, and were working on our new phase – ‘friendship’, but I was in no hurry to embark on another romantic adventure, relishing my newfound freedom and time alone. Anyway, I had a long list of firm criteria I was looking for in a future partner and even a cursory glance at it would have you questioning if such a man existed.
Must be adventurous but also grounded and professional.
Must have great sense of humour, but love a heart-to-heart too.
Must move fast and not just welcome, but breath change and all things new.
Must not take life too seriously, but just seriously enough to live it to the fullest.
Must have his health as a top priority.
Must love sailing and cycling and want to share that with kids, as a family.
Must want financial stability.
Plus a whole bunch of other stuff, like a passion for music, languages, writing… and deeper, harder to find balances too, like loving me tenderly without putting me on a pedestal.
It was a lot! I wasn’t holding my breath.
But now I’m in Bodrum, Turkey, working on a 70ft wooden yacht as first-mate and cook, with Marc, that handsome French-Canadian as captain, and suffice it to say, he does exist, and I’m still holding my breath.