It’s a question I get every day: “Where are you sailing?”

Most people assume that I have a first stop in mind or a schedule planned out.  I always just answered the question by saying that I was going to take it a day at a time and see where the wind takes me.  And that’s why I’m so excited about this – a lifestyle drastically different than that of a regimented military officer – not worrying about a schedule or where I have to be next.

But I do need some direction in mind to know where to point my bow once I leave North Carolina, and I’ve had plenty of time to ponder it in the last few months.  I think I have it figured out.

When I moved out of my apartment and onto the boat last October, I incurred a total daily commute of two and a half hours.  This was worth it to me; I wanted to begin projects on the boat, see what it’s like to be a liveaboard, and work out whatever issues I could before I finally set sail.

I have enough leave accumulated so that I’ve taken all Mondays off between now and July (when I separate from active duty) and I also stay at a friend’s house near base at least once a week when I have an early morning or late night at work.  So during those 2-3 days of commuting, I typically spend five to seven hours a week in my jeep driving between my boat and the base.  Plenty of time to think (or worry?) about the future.

I’m going back to California.

Stand up paddle boarders and boaters out on Christmas Eve morning, Dana Point Harbor, California

But that’s all I know.  I was born there and love my Pacific Ocean and Sierra Nevadas, and all of the recreational activities and exploration opportunities available.  When and how exactly I get there is still all up in the air, figuratively and literally speaking.

I might be there next year after abandoning my voyage either by choice or natural disaster.  Or I might finally land there ten years from now, after exploring every Caribbean island that I can, holing up in a small banana republic for a few years, and exploring Patagonia at land’s end (no play on outfitter companies intended!).

Or I might stumble upon an amazing woman in Uruguay and spend the rest of my life there.  The world is waiting for me and has its own plan.  I’m not going to force it, but now I have some direction.

Places I would like to visit, if my journey allows, are Patagonia, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and the Galapagos.  I’d cross from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Strait of Magellan (although athletes have rounded Cape Horn in kayaks, the thought of sailing around it makes me squeamish).  There are many places in between, but those would be the highlights.  Now we all have to see if I make it.

Subject to change.

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