In a world where everything is speeding up and we run the risk to lose ourselves in an overload of information, I took the chance to slow down everything – instead of simply going to the airport and going back to where I came from, I took the scenic route, extending a nine-hour flight into a two-month journey with open end.
Impressions and thoughts from a place in between continents, where fish fly and stars dance in the water…
Day 1: Under Danish flag
I stepped from the pier onto deck with a huge backpack, my surfboard and five kilograms of nuts. This white boat under Danish flag with the name “Beli Dulce” and those huge white sails was going to be my home for the next few weeks. I had never been sailing before, and yet I was about to embark on a sailing trip with three Danish guys that I had only met three days ago.
My parents were worried, my friends told me I was crazy. But I was so excited about this. And when we set sail and this little island that I had fallen in love with over the past year slowly became smaller and smaller I realised that I was really about to do this! I was going to cross an entire ocean with nothing but the wind, waves and a good portion of hope!
Day 5: New Horizons
We’ve been out on sea for five days now. I spend the hours looking out on this endless surface, the rays of the sun reflected a million times in the ripples of the ocean. But the hours I spent looking out on the ocean are not wasted hours – on the contrary: I count them among the most precious in my life. The sea has many life lessons to share, if you know how to listen. Here, I have space for my thoughts and I spread them out on the surface, let them drift past me and watch as the heaviest of them slowly sink and go under, swallowed by the ocean. There is nothing but sky and sea around us. Blue in blue. The world has become nothing but a horizon and it reminds me of all the possibilities that are out there, just waiting for me.
Day 13: Happiness
We have been out on sea for 13 days now. Everything is covered in thick layers of salt which makes it impossible to dry anything. I have stopped counting the bruises on my body as well as the times I have fallen out of bed in stormy weather. The water has gotten colder and the nightshifts harder. I haven’t had a shower in almost two weeks and the saltwater bucket we use to wash us, makes things somehow even worse. We are almost out of fresh vegetables, fruits and fuel. There is no wind, we are drifting in this endless ocean, not being able to properly steer. But it is not the absence of the things that we normally take for granted that determine my mood.
It is the presence of all the things that I do have here: waking up outside to the sound of the ocean. A hot cup of tea for my cold fingers. The sun on my face. Laying underneath white sails looking up at the clouds. The hours at night where I am all alone behind the steering wheel, navigating our ship towards a faraway destination, beneath a sky full of stars. The sunsets and the sunrises that look every time, like someone had used the entire colour palette to paint the sky. Trailing behind the boat on a rope, racing through the water, diving deeper, becoming one with the sea. Those moments put everything into perspective and I realise that I have everything that I’ll ever need. I carry it within myself.
Day 16: Solitude
This evening the loneliness hits me with full force. So sudden, that it hurts. I listen to the rest of the crew, talking in Danish, a language that I don’t understand, that I don’t speak. I sit a little apart, just absently staring into this vastness all around me. I feel so utterly inutile, not even knowing the basics of sailing, so often just standing on the side, doing nothing, because they don’t know enough English to explain to me what I have to do. Instead, I’m down in the kitchen, cooking and cleaning. I never would have thought that here out of all places, a place that is probably the furthest from any society, that it was here, where I would be confronted with social expectations and constraints.
Suddenly all the things that had been slightly annoying the past days, come rushing together, piling up. The hierarchy on the ship, the fact that I am not included in the decision making due to the language barrier, not being able to go anywhere, not having a private space to go to and be alone, being sleep deprived: I wish I had someone to talk to. But there isn’t and so I sit and talk with the moon. I am not okay today. But sometimes it is okay not to be okay. And I retrieve my calmness with the passing of the hours while the wind is drying my tears.
Day 17: Gratefulness
When I am sitting on the bow in the very front of the ship, my toes almost touching the shimmering surface, my clothes getting drenched by the sea spray, then there is this huge wave of gratefulness rushing over me. Gratefulness for this beautiful ocean, this unique nature that unfolds all of its magic right here in front of my eyes. Because there is no other word for everything that I can experience here: it is purely magical. It makes me realise that I never want to get used to this life. I never want to take the time that I was given on this planet for granted! No…I want to wake up in the morning and be excited about what the day might bring. I have completely fallen in love with the simplicity of life. And with being alive.
Day 22: Life
The captain had asked me the other day: “How many times did you think: What the hell am I actually doing?” But I hadn’t at all. Because when the silhouette of an island is starting to appear on the horizon, I can’t believe that we actually made it. I stare at it in astonishment so absolutely taken away by the fact that we had just crossed the Atlantic Ocean with nothing but those sails, bending with the wind. This had been one of the most amazing experiences that I ever had!!
When you drift on the ocean for days, you slowly come to grasp how small we are in this world. How unimportant. We take ourselves so seriously, losing our minds over problems that we have created ourselves! We have become so blind to the important things in life. Spending those days on the boat, reminded me how simple life can be, how easy it is. And how incredibly beautiful. I saw it in the nights, when the boat was leaving behind a trail of lights, ocean lights, when someone screamed “Dolphins” and we’d look in awe at those animals that embody joy like no other being, when we were simply taking time for the most basic things in life.
When we grow up, we forget to be surprised by all the wonders around us. They become normality. This journey has taught me, to appreciate this amazing nature again. I cannot count how many times, I have been completely overwhelmed, speechless, by the things I was seeing, the things I was experiencing. Filled with this incredible feeling of joy and freedom, that sometimes I was on the edge of crying, not because I was sad but because I was so happy. And I am just starting to understand the value of all of it. The sensations that I felt were so deep and raw. The calmness of the world around me had found its way into my heart and I became stronger, calmer, more balanced.
And so, I pick up all these impressions and my thoughts from where I had put them and where they had blossomed, grab my backpack and my surfboard and I step from the deck onto the pier….
Thank you so much for sharing this experience in such a wonderful way. The words keep peace and freedom within them which gets sent all over the World. And suddenly the wind outside seems to be blowing a little stronger. Waiting for more from you to read!!
Wow, thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to truly read the article!
Tous ces mots sont clairement le réflet d’une expérience magique et indescriptible.. mais tu as réussis à le faire, merci pour ça <3