This move that started with so much anxiety and uncertainty has now settled into a calm where both my husband and I have been able to give up our unrealistic expectations of ourselves. We have had to put aside our "Hong Kong" mindset, where speed of implementation is proof of ones capability, and its not by any grand design of our own, it is truly because we have no choice but to slow down.
We have already paid for the boat from Sweden in full, and as I type, we are in the process of getting the final payments on the boat we have sold in Hong Kong.
For those who don't know me, my father was in the Merchant Navy, he was a man of the ocean, through and through. He trained at Dufferin from 1961-1963, I always thought it was some kind of college, which, technically it was, it no longer exists, but it was actually the name of a ship! If you are curious about a bit of Indian Merchant Navy History, you can always check out this website that is created and curated by someone my Dad went to training there with: www.dufferin61-63.com/
Anyway, my Dad can navigate by the stars! He is often heard bemoaning the loss of the old school sailor, how youngsters rely so heavily on computers they wouldn't know their ass from their elbows if they were stuck in the middle of the ocean with their tech failing. I always take great pride in my fathers ability to navigate by the stars! To this day, I find it very attractive that my husband knows exactly where all the stars are in the night sky, or that he has an app purely to plot the location of the milky way and planets in the sky, something that was super cool to check out when we went camping in Australia where light pollution was non-existent on a protected island and the stars clustered in the night formed a snow globe sky around us from horizon to horizon.
My father always dreamed of retiring and buying a sail boat and just wiling away his days sailing into his old age. Dad is 75 now, he never got to realize his dream, although until just a month pre-covid, he was still sailing ships as he's never given that up. He pilots ships through the Mallaca Straits, a tough job, but one he trained for when he got aged out of sailing oil tankers, so he'd still have access to his love of the ocean as he got old. My father works not because he has to, he works because he loves the sea. So its with great pride that my husband and I got our first sailing vessel, a Lagoon 450, a catamaran, and we were able to take my father out on the water in Hong Kong. I know it made my Dad happy, to see us living out his dream. They say that we all carry the dreams of our fathers in our own lives, and I think that we, my husband & I, have found that old adage to be true for us.
It wasn't just my fathers dream, it was the dream of my Father-in-law too. Although he's finally got himself a modified sailboat, that has been converted to a motor boat (the mast has been removed) so he can navigate the canals and rivers of Holland, its not the same as sailing the ocean in a sailboat.
When we found out my husband lost his job, it was the most stressful time for us, stressful because like many other Cathay Dragon staff who up until that day had been confident they were working for a company that granted benefits to long term staff such as boat purchase (as long as you lived on it) or home purchase (same rule) they were suddenly left having to pay for these things from savings vs earnings. Many have had to beg banks for a one year leniency on mortgage repayments, but for us, for a boat that we were fortunate enough to buy with 100% financing thanks to it being brand new some four years prior when we made that commitment, we were facing the very real prospect of becoming individuals with shitty credit.
Either we had to find a way to pay back the financing by some miracle each month or we had to sell the boat. Back and forth with the finance company that had initially promised us leniency for a 6 month break only to change their mind and say that wasn't possible, it was very stressful indeed. It took us a few months, but those months were the toughest of our life as we had committed to a very high pay back rate so we could clear the debt sooner. We lived frugally so we could ensure that we would be debt free within 7 years, and when he lost his job we were almost 4 years in but still 3 years away from our target.
We made the choice to sell our properties in Holland, one which we had bought with a mortgage and the one above it that we had paid for outright with a personal loan from HSBC. It had been nearly five years of paying that off too, and honestly, I am glad we made the choices we did because we wouldn't have had anything to start a life with now if it weren't for the sacrifices we made back then. We took a risk, we put a lot of our finances into the one thing we were told would not depreciate in value, property. Now we are back to owning no property, a prospect that doesn't necessarily bother me as I have always been up for the wanderer lifestyle, and honestly, we have the boat we bought recently, even if its sitting on the dry in Sweden as I write. Unlike a car which depreciates in value the moment you drive it off the lot, a boat can do pretty alright as long as you take excellent care of it. Oh, it will still depreciate in value, but it will never be like a car that you practically have to pay someone to take it off you!
The new boat is a mono-hull, unlike the Catamaran, its likely to be a lot more rolling around on the water and it will take some getting used to for the whole family. On the Catamaran you could leave your glass of water on the counter and even while sailing, you could be certain you would still find it there when you realized you'd forgotten to put it away. That will not be how it goes on the new boat. The new boat is a 52 footer, a blue water boat, a custom build from the 90's...its sturdy, and likely a bit worn around the edges inside, but its a good boat. As I have mentioned prior, we have named this vessel "Kokoro" and I can't wait to see her and to memorize every inch of her once she makes her journey down to Holland in April.
I will try to post some pictures of the new boat, and I believe there is a video floating about Youtube where another sailing couple went to survey the same boat but didn't buy it, their requirements were for a smaller vessel fit for their needs, I believe the boat is perfect for a family of four who hope to take friends or family on board for the duration of short voyages. With five cabins, I am confident we will have ample space to share our journey with others or to take on crew if we need to.
If you want to check out our boat, you can have a look at the Ran Sailing family as they check out the boat that we ended up buying: https://youtu.be/hJLyzQXsuJE
I wish I could get my Dad to come with us, but at this stage its not looking great with the Covid-19 situation, I am confident in a few years it should be possible, and honestly, age is not a barrier, I've known about people taking their 80 year old wheelchair bound mother on an ocean crossing, so it ain't impossible unless you believe it to be.
We've bought our kids wet weather gear and our own, basically it makes us look like a family from that show about catching crabs in Alaska! Like snowboarding gear, its built for functionality, you won't be winning any fashion awards wearing it! My husband and I got bright red gear and the kids have got green and beige.
Anyway, as we wait for March to roll around as that is when winter ends and spring begins, but my husband has to wait until April 8th to roll around before he can push off to Sweden to pick up the boat, the main reason is that I will be in Hong Kong from the 4th of February to the 7th of April 2021. That is how long I believe it will take me to ensure everything comes to a clean and amicable close of the restaurant. 21 of my days will be an imprisonment in a hotel as I quarantine despite a negative Covid-19 test on arrival, so that should be fun. Once I get back to Holland I will have to hit the ground running as I will then take over the reigns from my husband and begin the process of school drop offs and pick ups, prepping meals, helping with homework and trying not to fall asleep mid afternoon from jetlag.
There is so much about the next few months that fill me with trepidation, the least of which is the anxiety of being trapped alone in a room with a view. I had to remind myself that I spend 10 weeks on strict bedrest while pregnant with my middle son and then an additional 14 weeks on strict bedrest when pregnant with my third/final son. So technically, I remember that was not easy, it was depressing, I shopped a lot on Amazon, I watched a lot of downloaded series while lying on my side, my only break was to use the loo or float in a bath tub to ease the aches and pains of muscle atrophy and joint softening.
I will not be bed ridden this time, I can always do yoga or meditate, but then what do I do with the remaining 14 hours of my day? Yeah, fasting still involves doing nothing, I have planned to finally do a 10 day water fast while in captivity, this so I can finally "cure" my Ménière's disease. My extensive research has brought me to various options and the fasting option is the hardest but most promising so far. The thing is, for the most part now, I have been able to get rid of most of my symptoms, I no longer have hearing loss or pressure in my ear (or ears), I no longer have vertigo or dizziness, but I do get headaches when my sodium levels are not great. I have given up alcohol altogether, I don't touch caffeine, not even in tea, and I avoid all pain killers (asprin and NSAID's as well as Paracetamol can cause my symptoms to flare), not that I used pain killers anyway, but I avoid them now.
I want to be able to just get the last vestiges of the disease under control. I have been able to get most of the symptoms under control thanks to my research on the disease, my effort to eat a cleaner diet and to also take supplements such as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, Coriolus versicolor (Turkey tail mushroom extract) and glutathione, just three to name a few that have helped. I am on Curcumin, Resveratrol, Vegan Omega-3 from Microalgae...and a tonne of CBD. Basically, I am trying to take a lot of different supplements to slow down the damage of oxidative stress on my neurodegenerative condition, the Ménière's disease.
Anti-aging is the key, and oddly enough a clean, plant-based diet, low stress and all these supplements are proven to actually prolong the possibility of a long life with quality-0f-life being the main focal point. The mushroom supplements have done exactly what the research paper I read had said it would, at the dose specified, which I am glad for someone my size and body weight, has been a more affordable dose than I had expected (I take 1500mg vs 3000mg that was used in the study, I calculated according to their recommendations for mg to kg of body weight). These supplements are not cheap, but they are not by any means out of reach for someone who wants to avoid losing their hearing prematurely or permanently.
When I had a health scare many years ago, for my liver, when I was diagnosed with lesions and cysts, I took it upon myself to learn how I could heal, and I did. Now, this is no different. Who expects to get something like this? Not me. Hell, I was sitting here thinking being vegan was all I needed anymore, but this condition can be hereditary, and I can clearly remember my mother suffering from painful migraines, dizziness, nausea, the lot, only then we never knew it to be what I know it now is.
I don't have any plans to lose my hearing (prematurely) before I age out, so if I care about my hearing, I will do everything I can to commit to a lifestyle that ensures I can succeed in my goal. The most promising option I came across was the sharing of a 7 year Ménière's disease sufferer who did a (supervised) 10 day water-only fast. Not only did he cease to have any more symptoms after that, he was also rid of his Tinnitus (this incessant ringing in the ears that sounds like a fire alarm at worst and like silent white noise at best). I am down to only the occasional headache that technically is like a low-grade migraine and the tinnitus.
I will be honest though, the last few days, my Tinnitus has decreased drastically. I was waking every morning with this loud, shrill ringing and now its more of a quieter distant ringing.
For those who suffer from Tinnitus, its a horrible thing and I wouldn't wish it on anymore, heck, I am just lucky I am not as attentive as many other people, to a great degree I can ignore it, but it can be quite crippling for some, causing depression and aggression in others.
The reason I want to clear my symptoms altogether is because the future holds a lot of sailing and the ocean can be unforgiving for someone with an inner ear instability. I do not want to be puking daily or to hold my family back, I want to be able to be present and to share in the daily responsibility for the next decade plus, so it is of the gravest importance that I succeed.
I have fasted for 10 days before, this was maybe a decade ago when doing a reset to help with infertility, so I know it can be done. What better way to utilize my time in quarantine than to consciously choose to use that time to actively commit to healing? Yes, I know, I am trying to frame that 21 days of what could be a very stressful situation, in a whole different light so that I can actually gain from it! Its what I am learning now, to view stress as a positive thing and to work with it as a motivator.
So lets see how I go. All I have going for me right now is time!
Overall, I am content with life right now, what is will be, what will come, will, and I am ready.
My name's Lisa. I love to cook, I love to laugh, I love to write. I don't always believe I have the time for creating, and now I am going to work on simply going with the flow, with the food, the restaurant, the writing...and if I can, for one moment, spread a little joy along the way, well, its worth the effort.