Brianna Randall sailing with a baby in San Diego

Do you know where marrying a local is forbidden?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Parenting, Sailing

Spring roundup of stories and adventures

Three months since I wrote a blog post? Yikes. But here’s my excuse: I’m writing a book. It’s about the year we spent sailing the South Pacific in blissed-out freedom, and the year we spent transitioning back into responsible adults and new parents. Stay tuned.

Between book writing, child-chasing, and working our real jobs, Rob and I occasionally keep up with a few hobbies. These mostly include playing in the water and the dirt, but we also try to squeeze in time for taking photos and telling stories. Here are highlights of recent articles:

1. This tale combines my writing and Rob’s photos on BBC Travel: : “Where Marrying A Local Is Forbidden” (Hint: it ain’t in Montana)

2. Rob’s photography website is live, including pics of our February trip scuba diving in Bonaire:

3. My recent piece on Mamalode might make you chuckle: “To The Guy Sitting In Front Of Me On The Plane

As for playing, spring is in full swing, full of wildflowers and sun that beckon us outside. Last month, we reconnected with my family at a memorial service for my grandmother in Capistrano Beach. Highlights included building a fire pit in the sand, taking Talon out for his first ocean sail, and watching him turn into a monster over Easter chocolate.

Back in Montana, we loaded him in a canoe for a float down the Swan River. Sadly, boats are still second to buses in our son’s list of favorites, but he’s quickly learning the ropes on all sorts of watercraft. And Talon’s already got the whole throwing rocks in the water routine down pat.

Scroll down for a photo montage of our recent adventures. Happy Spring, friends!

Cali and Swan_020 Cali and Swan_025 Cali and Swan_015 Cali and Swan_026Cali and Swan_031 Cali and Swan_033 Cali and Swan_034 Brianna Randall sailing with a baby in San DiegoCali and Swan_044Cali and Swan_045Cali and Swan_040Cali and Swan_012 Cali and Swan_007

Spring traveling through the Northwest US - On the Horizon Line Travel Blog - Brianna Randall and Rob Roberts

Melding Back Into Missoula

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Reflections on Life, Traveling

Transitions can be exciting or scary, slow or abrupt.  But rarely are they comfortable.  As Rob and I transition back into “real life” on land here in Missoula, Montana, we are attempting to accept the discomfort that comes with change.  Our life is full of unknowns right now: where will we live?  What will we do next?  Who do we want to be when we grow up?

Luckily, even while immersed in the unknown, it feels good to be surrounded by familiar sights and our favorite people.   Our transition back to the States was buffered by spending two weeks wandering the Northwest before settling back in Montana.  We reconnected with friends from Bellingham to Bend, stopping in Seattle, Portland and Mosier in between.

Spring traveling through the Northwest US - On the Horizon Line Travel Blog - Brianna Randall and Rob Roberts

We saw balsam root flowers springing up along the Columbia River, and mushrooms poking out amid the cedar forests near Canada.  We played with doggies and goats and chickens, told stories, caught up.  And we bought warm clothes at Goodwill to ease our heat-soaked bodies into the cold northern spring.

Now, vacation is over.  By choice, for sure, although the ending is no less poignant. Rob and I are both ready to delve into new projects, new passions, new challenges.  We’ve been back home for a week now, living in my parents’ very comfortable house and reacquainting ourselves with Missoula.  When we get overwhelmed by all the “to do’s” in front of us — find a house, a car, insurance, income — we call a friend we haven’t seen in over a year and go for a walk in the hills.

Spring traveling through the Northwest US - On the Horizon Line Travel Blog - Brianna Randall and Rob Roberts

It’s almost too easy to slip back into old habits.  But that slip seems to make the transition even harder, as we struggle to hold on to those hard-earned travel lessons.  We are working to find the balance between embracing our old lifestyle and carving out a new one that accommodates our expanded horizons.  Mostly, we’re just taking the good advice of a wise friend: be kind to ourselves, and forgive ourselves when we hit rough spots on the road as meld back into our home.

Spring traveling through the Northwest US - On the Horizon Line Travel Blog - Brianna Randall and Rob Roberts

travel blog sailing polynesia

A Tough Blow

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Sailing, Traveling

travel blog sailing polynesiaWe’re back in paradise. It disappeared for a week, swept away in fierce winds and soggy clouds. Now it feels like French Polynesia again: warm, silky, easy. As I write, the handle of the Big Dipper dives straight into the horizon. Venus illuminates a bright path on the water above the glow from the set sun. And the Southern Cross, pushed by her two bright pointer stars, arcs over the still marina here in Raiatea.

The last week was pretty rough. We had 30 knots of sustained wind, chop, rain, dark clouds, driving gusts. It’s the kind of rough that flips dinghies upside-down, makes the mast squeal like a banshee, sends people diving for cover, and traps boats in semi-protected lagoons.

You can’t sleep through that, with halyards banging, straps flapping, the hull groaning. Or swim through the murky water and ripping current. Or sail away to a new spot. Or go visit the nearby boats. You wonder if the anchor will hold, and if the anchor on the boat in front of you will hold. You wonder why the hell you’re stuck on a tiny boat in a big blow, relying on a long chain and lead weight to keep you from careening off into the ocean or into sharp reef rocks.

Then the sky clears. One night, the winds suddenly calm. Everyone looks around, wondering what the new noise is — it’s the forgotten sound of quiet. Today, we’re enjoying the reprieve. The storm receded and the fresh clean sulight baptized everything in a glory veil. These green mountains are blindingly sharp. The fish seem happier. The afternoon heat is a blessing. Speeding across the lagoon to visit neighbors makes you laugh aloud.

Today was my version of a perfect day in the cruising life. Ironically, it wasn’t so different from many past, but the end of the big blow made everything shinier. How simple it is, my perception of perfection. A morning yoga circle with new friends. Dancing alone, free, spinning to my own choreography. Clean hair. A swim to say hi to the parrotfish. Fresh-baked carrot bread. Singing songs at sunset. Coffee on one boat, cocktails on another. My husband’s hand on my back. My laughter loud. The men cooking. Stars again.

travel blog sailing polynesia

Just like all life, there’s good days and bad while cruising. Stormy ones and sunny. Monotonous hours interspersed with magical moments. The difference out here, though, is that the cycle is so damn fast. The pendulum between good and tough rocks rapid-fire, marking time in minutes rather than months. Maybe the swing between good and tough just feels so fast, so bipolar, because our lives depend daily on the wind, the currents, the rain, the sun. We feel their shifts more vicerally.

It’s like that first day of spring in Montana. I learned to appreciate the bitter northern winters for the spring they usher in. Tonight, I’m thanking the gods for the calm that comes in like an exhale on the coattails of the departing winds. I revel in the quiet and the still, the sharp and bright stars, appreciating them all the more after their absence. And I suppose I’ll appreciate the next blow, too, since it makes paradise that much more vibrant in the end.


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