have you always wanted to do this?

26 Oct

[I’ve decided to commence a weekly feature of “frequently asked questions”. When there is more than one of them, I will give them their own page (but hopefully with a title that is somewhat snappier than “FAQ”). I’m still not sure which day of the week this will appear on. This first one is on a Tuesday.]

This Question (or variations thereon) is Asked very Frequently.

One of the major things that attracted Stoffel to me (and, I am reliably informed, vice versa) was his sense of adventure. As our relationship progressed, it became clear that we would plan a life full of escapades together. We have planned and enjoyed mini-journeys all around Southern Africa for weekends and holidays. We’ve travelled overseas a couple of times too.

But we were unanimously convinced that we wanted to embark on a longer voyage before we settled down and started breeding. This is largely philosophical. We want to adventure with sproglets. Evidence suggests that parents actually do this less than they plan to before childbirth. BUT, if we travel while we’re Two, then we might be inclined to travel more when we’re Three or Four*…

So we purposely took a short honeymoon in Southern Africa because we wanted to embark on a trip that was at least six months long at some time in the future (i.e. after the World Cup). Six months quickly stretched into a year.

Originally we wanted to spend three four-month chunks in different countries: travelling via different means or living in an exciting place.

At the same time as we started having these discussions (which was only very seriously after our wedding, really), we had some friends doing pretty amazing excursions themselves. Amongst others, DavenRejane took themselves around India on a motorbike. SarahnDoug lived in a tiny town in Argentina long enough to become part of the community and emerge fluent in Spanish. RijknJen are currently sailing around the world.

All of a sudden, because our friends had done it, we felt like we could do something really outrageous too. So we decided to travel around the Pacific Rim.

Initially, we had planned to do a little sailing in any event. We’d hoped to island-hop up from Australia to China and explore PNG, Indonesia, Borneo, Malaysia and other such wonderful places. From China, we’d continue our trip via more traditional transport (trains, cars, planes). Then we purchased Jimmy Cornell’s sailing tome: World Cruising Routes. He described the route we’d hoped to follow as being beset by “violent typhoons, all through the year”. It didn’t sound like a very positive sailing experience.

Emboldened by our circumnavigating friends on uMoya**, we realised that the Pacific was something that we would be able to conquer if we set our minds to it.*** So we did. And so began our search for the perfect boat…

* Or SEVEN. Two people told me this weekend that they could see us having five children. Ha!

** Rijk and Stof essentially grew up sailing together. Jen, similarly to me, has not grown up sailing anything.

*** Also: Jimmy didn’t use the combination of “violent”, “typhoons” and “all through the year” in the same sentence when describing a Pacific crossing.


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