When Bryan invited me to accompany him on a Barefoot Yacht Charter for ten days in the Caribbean, I had visions of Goldie Hawn in Overboard (pre going overboard). I imagined scenes aboard superyacht White Night in The Bourne Identity (less the gunshot wounds). I envisioned cruising in style with James Bond aboard the luxury M3 in Casino Royale (before Vesper dies).
And so I went out and bought a new bikini. And gold anchor earrings. And ordered two pair of adorable new Sperry’s online. I pre-planned my outfits for each day, complete with matching headbands, figuring that if my hair was going to be windblown, it may as well be windblown in style.
Instead, I discovered that living aboard a catamaran is essentially roughing it. It’s camping at sea, with hand-pumped toilets, no showers and rationed fresh water. Prior to the trip, I’d shaved, waxed and dieted for the perfect, pristine bikini body. But by day three, I’d grown oblivious to my leg stubble and peeling sunburn as I smeared on multiple layers of deodorant. I no longer concerned myself with further sun damage, since the rays surely couldn’t penetrate my skin’s countless layers of dirt and grime.
I will say, all of those color-coordinated headbands turned out to be useful in mildly masking the greasiness of my unwashed hair. Actually that one white headband I threw on every morning at the crack of dawn worked wonders when I went aboveboard to hoist the sails before getting drenched by seawater from gale-force winds.
Despite not having a proper shower for over a week and living in perpetually damp clothing with a sheen of salt on my skin from my “Caribbean baths”, I actually had a great time letting go, letting loose and learning a new skill. Once I got used to leaving my makeup bag untouched and sleeping in a stagnant cabin on salt-encrusted sheets next to a man who almost never kissed me goodnight, I adapted well to the life of a sailor. It was kind of freeing.
But as fun as it was to unplug for a while, I’m grateful to be home. I remember afresh why I used to commit to volunteering abroad at least once a year. Living in a third world country has a way of righting my perspective and making me thankful for my very many blessings. Now I can add to that list of blessings the ability to skipper a keelboat. Life is good.