I've been having a recurring dream the last few weeks. It wakes me up with a feeling of confused concern. In my dream, I'm trying to dress for the day, but when I get to putting my socks on, I realize that there are barnacles growing on my toe nails. Big healthy barnacles, with living creatures in them! In my dream, I can't figure out what to do. If I put my socks on, the socks will be torn to shreds. Worse yet, the shoes I am going to put on are beautiful leather boots with heels. If I put my boots on, then it will really hurt, my boots will get ruined and the barnacles will die. I keep waking up confused and concerned.
Obviously the dream sums up my confused feelings about coming home. After all, you only get barnacles if you spend a lot of time in salt water. In Mexico, I never wore socks and hardly ever wore shoes unless I was going into town. Now home in the chilly NW, I can't imagine going a whole day without putting shoes on (whole bunches of different shoes, not just flip flops!) multiple times as I go in and out, and wearing toasty, thick, wool socks constantly, thank you very much! I have to put shoes on, but if I do, it means I'm not a cruiser anymore. Is that so bad??? Truthfully - no.
All three of us absolutely love being home after being gone for so long. Many times in the last three months, we have spontaneously had conversations about how nice it is to be home. We enjoy everything including frequent visits with family and friends, the supermarkets stuffed with excellent organic and ethnic foods, a warm house, the chilly rainy weather, the people we meet, the beautiful clean town we live in chock full of dog parks, giant trees, a gorgeous library, festivals and kind neighbors. Now back in cold weather, Rudy has been free of the endless health concerns of the last four years. He can race around for hours in the dog park or out on wooded trails without getting too hot. The new opportunities for Jack are boundless and he's energetically thrown himself into working, being with family, and new adventures. Jack loves the NW forests and is gone for hours biking the trails. It's just nice to be on land in a cool climate. It's also a joy to snuggle up under a thick down comforter and listen to the wind howl outside the house late at night. There's no fear of dragging, and no need to jump up to make sure everything is lashed down. There's no battle with breakdowns or finding parts - order anything you need from Amazon and it comes right to your door! It's also just nice to be back where I understand what everyone around me is saying. Hot water, convenience machines, electricity, heat on a cold day, a real kitchen, a giant bath tub - there is a lot to enjoy about being home on land.
However, it's not all fun. This is a time of major transition for us. It's exciting, it's challenging and it's exhausting. In the last three months, we've gotten a lot accomplished, but we still have so much to do. We randomly chose a town to settle in that looked nice. It took almost a month to find a suitable home to rent. Then we had to gather up our scattered belongings as best we could, including emptying our storage unit. Then we had to start settling in to a new town. It's not easy. You don't know where the post office is, you don't know the best stores to visit, you don't even know when garbage day is. You know no-one. Add to that we also had to get Jack settled in school - the first real school he's been in for the last four years. Now that is a task! Not to mention getting phones, internet, insurance, power, heat, registered to vote, etc. Thankfully we were able to come home still in control of our situation. We have a cushion and did not need to start making money right away. With all that accomplished we are now getting ready to work on the next phase - employment. How that goes, we will find out in the coming months. After employment comes finding a home to buy, getting involved in our community with volunteer work, picking up old hobbies, and finding new ones.
In the meantime, I still have barnacles on my toes, grown while I was in Mexico. So if we are all so happy to be home, why am I having disturbing dreams about giving up being a cruiser? I think it's because I love the person I became after four years out cruising. That's what the barnacles represent - growth. Usually you aren't happy about barnacle growth on your boat, but in the case of my toes, I'm tickled. I'm worried that now home in the Land of Bigger, Better, More I will forget the lessons I learned in Mexico about a simple Life of Less. It's something that I will need to keep an eye on, but I think those barnacles are here to stay.
4 hours ago