It has been a long series of leave takings. Each day I say goodbye to something. One day it is the ferry from Auckland to Devonport. Another day to my local fruit store. Yesterday I took my last walk along the beach and went to the pot sticker place for the last time.
I don't remember feeling this way when we left Seattle. I can't remember saying goodbye to a coffee shop or a bus or a beach. Maybe it was motherhood. I had three children one of whom was quite small. They might have distracted me so much I didn't think to say goodbye to the other things that mattered. Maybe nothing else really mattered. It might have been the novelty of the boat, the nervousness shading to terror of living life adrift. Literally.
I remember being sad the first time we left Mexico. I'm pretty sure that had as much to do with leaving our boat Don Quixote and her cat Dulcinea as with the country. Boats can become family. Cats not so much but we like to pretend. However, I can distinctly remember walking through the warm fragrant night with tummy full of arechero tacos and cold cheap beer and feeling a deep sense of loss. Both times actually and to be fair the second time we actually left with both cats, feline and nautical.
I left Portland with no regrets. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. If I never see that city again, no worries. This isn't Portland's fault. I blame DrC. It was a dark time in Congerland.
And look Philadelphia... I know there are people who belong to you and you belong to them... But let's face facts. I am not one of them. This California girl was never truly happy there summer or winter. I love your cheese steaks and learned what it meant to marry an Italian American on your streets, but you are another city I can happily never revisit.
I left Washington DC twice. The first-time was horrific. I was so in love I thought I would die if I left him there. Someone else would find him. Someone else would grab him. He would forget me. I didn't regret leaving the place, but I was desperately unhappy. The second time I left, however, I knew he was waiting for me. Granted it was on the other side of the country, and I had only a bike and an attitude to get me there. Yet I was excited for the adventure, an adventure to ride across the United States, an adventure to start grad school in Seattle, an adventure to live again with this amazing man. I didn't spend even a fraction of a second thinking about what I was leaving behind.
Aeron used to cry virtually every time we pulled up the hook and left an anchorage after a stay of more than a week. She deeply felt the loss of her fellow cruisers, friends of merely days...sometimes hours...it hurt her to her core. Looking back, I admit freely that her pain was the primary reason we stopped permanently in New Zealand. We just couldn't do it to her anymore. She needed a permanency outside DrC and myself, our boat and living cats, her sisters. She needed more and what that looked like was land. Specifically New Zealand.
DrC never looks back. He never has. He is so sentimental in some ways. He tries to maintain relationships with high school friends, keeps boxes and boxes of momentos he never looks at, took videos of his grandparents to preserve their words and religiously transfers them from computer to computer as the years go by, the memories fade, and his need to preserve their voices is all that remains. Yet when we leave a place, I can't see that he feels anything at all, not one moment of regret or wistful sadness. When cruising we could never get him to stay at any anchorage more than three days. He never cries at airports. Nothing. Forward forward forward. I don't understand it. I really don't.
I hurt. Every minute since that party with my work colleagues two weeks ago has involved saying goodbye to something or someone. Some goodbyes were easy... Casual. So long and thanks for all the fish. Others -- like saying goodbye to my daughters -- left me weak, hiding in the bathroom so no one would see my tears.
This may be a first for me as well. I am not entirely certain I want to leave. Wanting to go isn't the same as wanting to leave.
Know that, family and friends. Know that, my new home country New Zealand. I really want to go on this journey. I really want to be with DrC as he explores new parts of the world and sees so many many new things. I don't feel sorry for myself, but I also really really don't want to leave you.
Location: Hoogeven, Netherlands
Plan: Amsterdam visit Monday, finish paying for, prepping, and provisioning with a desired departure for points south no later than Wednesday. On the road the rest of the week with a tentative destination somewhere in southern Spain. Probably take us more than the week though as we might get distracted in the Madrid area.