This post comes with a philosophical warning label.
Writing about my adventures on the water motivates me to get my children outdoors as much as possible and develop (hopefully) the same love for the briny that I have. In his book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv talks about how fundamental is the human need for a sense of and connection to place. Indoors alone we can’t arrive at this sense of belonging. We need to get outside and connect our senses beyond sight to encompass the other four. I realise how true this is when I return to where I grew up and the smell of the damp soil and oak trees is suddenly palpably different in comparison to eucaplypt bushland in a way that I wouldn’t have recognised as a child. Perhaps thats just a consequence of travel and not age? I don’t know. A sense of place has been on my mind a lot lately. Recent upheaval in my family home has made more urgent my desire to put down roots and create a home and a sense of place for my children. At times lately I have felt like running away to sea (or at least the non-mother part of me has). Why do people run away to sea? The sea is a constant. Yes, there are tropical seas, icy southern seas and everything inbetween, but they are all salty, changeable, calming, comforting, stormy and menacing all at the same time. The way a boat harnesses the wind is the same wherever you are on the ocean. The wind blows from all the angles of the compass (and there are always 360). Going to sea is one of the last refuges from modern life. Stress is pointless unless it is urging you to put a reef in. Once you’re out of sight of land, whatever troubles plague you there is no point worrying while you’re at sea. A well equipped ship on a well planned voyage has all your basic needs met.
The sailing community has always been a global village. People talk about common interests binding people together but I do believe that the universal bond shared by sailors and seafarers stands alone. When I’m at sea or amongst these people I am in a happy place. This is why I’ll teach my kids to sail and encourage a love of the sea, because wherever they are in the world, if they are near the sea, then they’ll never be far from home.