“May you find light even in darkness.
May the arc of your narrative be full of unexpected treasures.
These wise words appeared in our mailbox the day we locked the door of our home to set sail for new adventures. Our good friend, Kipper, wrote them in a card, which we read as we lifted off from Montana toward western shores.
Today, I’m re-reading them and finding new meaning. It’s been one week since one of our bags was stolen, along with most of the gadgets we’d amassed to take on this voyage. It left us feeling extremely vulnerable. But over the course of the week, we learned that the gadgets we wanted to bring along were not what we truly needed to reach our goals for this two-year trip. We’ve replaced them tenfold already – not with new computers and cameras, but with an abundance of human kindness and the soothing balm of generous friends.
The loss of our expensive gear revealed an unexpected treasure: reminding us that the most valuable asset on earth is connecting with the people around you. Since we reached Mexico, Rob and I have been lucky enough to sync rhythms with new friends, and fall into well-loved grooves with those we haven’t seen in years. It’s remarkable how quickly we can become a tribe tied together by story-sharing, fireside chats, and the games and music that fill the space between sunset and bedtime.
For instance: we’d spent about 3 waking hours with Mark and Katie after a year apart before we were all happily crammed in their little Subaru. We headed to the beach with no plan, 2 sleeping bags, 1 sleeping pad, a dog, a cooler, 5 gallons of water, some field guides, fishing gear, a change of clothes and a lot of willingness to explore. We ended up in Todos Santos looking for Missoula friends, and managed to track them down with no cell phone or email, and only Rob’s vague memory of visiting their plot of land 5 years ago.
With Mark and Katie, it’s always simple. No one argues about where or when to eat, who cooks or cleans. We don’t have to belabor “what we’ll do today,” since we all have the same goals: hang out, enjoy what the land and water has to offer, give thanks for the beauty of our freedom and for each other. Even in the midst of stressful robberies and chaotic transitions, the four of us made plenty of jokes and took care of the others.
And the next instance: we had dinner with another couple of young cruisers the night after the car was stolen. After dinner, Sabine and Terry hailed us over the VHF radio inviting us to accompany them to Isla Espiritu Santo on their 60-foot catamaran, Sea Raven. Rob and I spent 5 days with these strangers-turned-friends, sharing meals, hikes, dives and chores. Not only did they welcome us in their floating home, they also gave us a small netbook computer they don’t use, which is perfect for staying in touch during our travels.
From the home-front, we’ve felt an outpouring of love and support riding the winds south. Thanks to all of you for your offers to help out, and your kind words these last few days. The lightness in the dark sting of last week’s double-whammy thefts was finding the many kindred spirits who live lightly and fully – people who are welcoming and easy, and who look around often to remark: “I’m just happy to be here.” So are we.