Friday, July 6, 2012


Paris, France

"I soon realized that no journey carries one far, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within." -- Lillian Smith

It's time for Raft-Up, where a group of sailing bloggers writes each month about a common topic, one of us each day, to offer readers varying perspectives on the same theme. You'll find links to the other blogs at the end of this post. This month's topic: Sailor or Traveler?

Traveling by boat obviously makes me both a sailor and a traveler, so the real question here is, which one is not optional. The fact that I write this during a one-month stay in Paris is probably a good hint.

I am a tumbleweed raised in a family of oaks, born with an itchy desire to find out what else is out there, who's out there, and what they're doing. I seek out new places, new cultures, new anything, new everything.

Travel is both my teacher and my muse. I never tire of seeing what a very tiny piece I am in this gigantic human puzzle, how different I am from the other pieces and yet ultimately, if I look hard enough, exactly the same. It is that fuzzy line between foreign and familiar that feeds my writer's mind.

Sailing for me is secondary but a perfect mode of transportation, teaching me to slow down and savor, to notice and digest. It requires me to be in touch with nature, to live outside myself. If I am a very tiny piece of the human puzzle, in the midst of gargantuan nature, I barely exist at all. It is humbling and at the same time invigorating.

It is uniquely rewarding to sail into a faraway harbor, knowing I came under my own power, that I have earned my way, inch by inch. It's an accomplishment that cannot be matched by stepping off a plane (although I like that too).

And, best of all, when I've explored that new harbor, I can go home, because I have brought home with me. Every day I travel. Every day I am still home.

For Chip, sailing came first and gave birth (or is it berth?) to an avid traveler. Sailing quickens his pulse but travel tunes him into the pulse of the planet. I have to say, he embraces the planet. I am an observer, but Chip is a member of the global family. He walks right in and sits down at the table. He will communicate with any form of language at hand, by sharing his meal, holding the door open, surprising them with his thoughtfulness. He is a keen observer of the human condition and should be the writer here. Instead you're stuck with me.

We both find that cruising comes with limitations. That little bit of water we cross to go ashore separates us from the people on land in a way I don't quite understand. We can interact with them, but we are perpetually separate, always the outsiders. While that might be true of all forms of travel, I have found it much harder to make that arc from the water, an arc we will keep trying to make.

So we are one traveler who loves to sail and one sailor turned traveler. We have no immediate plans to stop sailing, but when we do, we will not stop traveling. How else would we find out what's waiting just beyond....and just inside. How fortunate for us that we are kindred, roaming spirits, the further we extend into the world around us, the better we understand the world within.

Read other Raft-Up bloggers on the same topic.

who are these people? me | chip | cara mia | our very long timeline


  1. Oh my goodness Tammy, you have literally quenched my thirst for splendid prose today. I don't have to read anything else all day, I'm done! Beautifully written. Exactly on point.

    My favorite lines: "If I am a very tiny piece of the human puzzle, in the midst of gargantuan nature, I barely exist at all. It is humbling and at the same time invigorating." This is so true, we are just visitors here and being so connected with our surrounding in cruising I believe we have a better understanding of that than our land loving counter parts.

    This made me miss you guys. Chip is precisely how you describe him. So sweet and engaging to humans from all walks, ages etc. He sees no lines. Big hugs to you both from our crew!

    PS This was sooo fun! Thanks for telling me about it.

    Jessica, GR & Gia

    1. Hi Jess,

      It's great to hear from you! We miss our Florida pals. Sounds like you're having quite an adventure. Hope we can catch up soon. Hugs to you three.

      Thanks for the kind words.


  2. Now that I've finished drafting my own post I'm luxuriating in a glass of cold rum and catching up on the writing I've missed. (and even enjoying feeling just a bit incompetent, reading your lovely writing)

  3. Tammy this is so beautifully written. I too wrote mine before reading the others. I think it needed to be that way.