We have yet another new home. Her name is Waking Dream, a 42-foot Cooper monohull owned by Ben and Lisa Newton here in Vava’u. They sailed her from Oakland, California and spent three years cruising before deciding to stay in Tonga. Now that they live on Fetoko Island and are building Mandala Resort, Waking Dream has been vacant for a while. And we know what happens to vacant sailboats: they start to crumble under the relentless tropical sun and saltwater.
Rob and I offered to help get her all fixed up in return for a free place to live. It’s a good deal for everyone. We get to learn more about maintaining a sailboat and build our own little nest. Ben and Lisa get a working sailboat. What are some of the problems with it, you ask? I’ll just list the top few for now: #1 termites #2 the coral reef living on the bottom #3 disintegrating dodger and algae-covered lines. It’s nice to have a purpose again.
It also feels good to be living on the water again. And it feels really good to be all by ourselves on a sailboat again. We haven’t felt like the capitans of our own space for over 8 months now, since we’ve been sharing living quarters on boats and in others’ homes. It actually felt slightly eerie to make dinner for just the two of us last night. For three-quarters of a year, we’ve shared meals with at least one other person, and lately it’s been more like 6-10 others. Neither of us could remember the last night we’d spent with no one else around.
Transitioning from communal living to independent living is probably more of a change than moving back to the sea from the shore. We are both quite comfortable cohabiting with others — we enjoy the social dynamics of sharing space, food, ideas, chores, music and ourselves with more than just each other. Yet we’re both quite comfortable alone, too. I, in particular, crave my alone time almost as much as I crave social interaction.
What a strange and beautiful paradox, this human pull to be so close to others in tandem with the pull to have our own individual corners to retreat into. A yin and yang of co-dependence and independence, where finding the balance is the magic ingredient to a fulfilling life. Here aboard Waking Dream, we hope to strike that balance, to build our own little nest where we can retreat, while still keeping close to the flock of new friends who support us.