Tag Archives: Paulo Coelho

Winding up life on board

It’s all whizzing by so fast now! I’m watching the miles tick by and it’s making me a bit nervous. I’ve mixed feelings, of elation and apprehension. Some excitement too. How do people go back to real life after sailing the seas?

Our ration of sweet things ran out over a week ago. Alan, the captain, disappears into his cabin and returns with a Toblerone bar. I make a mental note to remember to have my own secret stash on future voyages. Surprising the rest of the crew is priceless. We each break off a piece – dessert for the evening – and leave the rest in its packet in the middle of the table.

We’ve eaten well on board, a little too well and I know I’ve definitely put on some weight. The lack of ability to exercise has been frustrating, but I’ve resisted keeping up with the boys’ daily press-ups and sit-ups in favour of lounging in the hammocks and watching sunlight speckle the ocean surface with a million diamond fragments. Between losing myself in Paulo Coelho books and reflections brought on by the Ya Ya Sisterhood, I’ve been listening to Keith Richards on my MP3 player. Stories. People. Life. I can’t get enough.


Hammock time to tune in, tune out, switch on

And I’m writing like a woman possessed, articles and diaries full of thoughts about past and future, about opportunity. Out of nowhere come contemplations on life and philosophies that reveal some growth and the start of a connection with something a bit bigger. And hope and confidence. For the world and everything in it, including little me. Cabin fever has got to me, it would seem, in a crazy, creative sense.

Two days later and we glimpse land for the first time since leaving the Galapagos. With no deep-rooted earthiness, in some respects this coral collective is a bit of a cheat claim to sighting land, but the tree-lined strip of the atoll nonetheless breaks up a constant flat horizon and reminds us of a different view, of a world we were part of not too long ago.

Mirage fuzz or something more?

Mirage fuzz or something more?

Later I wrote in my diary that it

‘was so exciting to see something other than ocean! Birds were flocking towards it, around it. Signs of life. Wonderful.’

Suddenly the excitement of a piece of chocolate is put into perspective. It was important, for sure, but this sighting? Something else.


Filed under activity & sport, nature, pacific, sailing, sea

Travelling and living in the now

Cover of "The Power of Now: A Guide to Sp...
Not my usual choice, this found me.

I met a guy at a sober yet beautifully random gathering in Byron Bay. Let’s call him Paul (he was a bit freaked out that he might feature on my blog, so let’s cloud him in a pseudonym and all will be well). I asked Paul where he was from. ‘I’m from….,’ and then he stopped. ‘You know, it doesn’t really matter’, he said, ‘I’m here. I’m interested in the now, not the past. It’s so long ago. Who cares?

I looked at Paul. With his long, curly hair and tight, bright blue leggings, he cut an intriguing figure. He had a rock musician’s face, one that placed him anywhere between twenty and thirty. He was fascinating and elusive with an air of experience, and now here he was, waxing lyrical about being in the now.

Strangely enough, a few days earlier I had finished a book – To Kill a Mockingbird (I’m keen to finally catch up on some cults and classics) – and my friend gave me two follow up options: Einstein for Beginners or The Power of Now. Neither offered fictional escapism or elegant discourse, but maybe, as when Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist made an appearance a few months back, these options turned up at precisely the right time in my journey. I started on the Power of Now.

When you’re travelling, you could argue that you have nothing but the now: new friends, new experiences, new places, often on a daily basis. Life is full and varied; last week feels like an eon ago. It’s easy to forget ‘back home’, easy to lose contact with people who matter, not because you don’t care but because you are living in the here and now, drinking up these new experiences.

But I had stopped for a little while, stepped off of the backpacker trail, taken a month out of travelling, so to speak. I was staying a five minute walk away from a stunning stretch of beach. I was meeting some lovely people, and finding time to write and relax and look for work. I was attempting something similar to normal life again, but then my mind started to play tricks on me.

Wouldn’t my friends in England be hanging out together at cosy open-mic nights around the licking flames of a pub fire? Ah, wouldn’t it be nice to do that again. I missed them. Didn’t I meet some fantastic people in South America? What are they doing now? I missed some of them too. Maybe I could meet up with them again? I thought about the point of my own journey. What shall I do next? I wanted to plan something, to get excited about the next step, because stopping felt strange. I would look over photos from my sister’s wedding, from my travels, of times with my ex, and I would think: yeah, they were some good times. Past, future, past, future.

And then it was time to re-enter the now. Paul and Eckhart Tolle showed me the way. I had tickets lined up for my next travels, so let that be. I had people to potentially meet up with in the next few months, so let that be too. Unlike Paul, I do care about my past. People and experiences have helped me to grow and become who I am today. Similarly, I do care about the future. To me, the future is about hope and potential. But now it was time to shift focus. Time to enjoy my surroundings and the hot, sticky Australian heat with the sweet relief of regular heavy rainfall. Time to smile and talk and laugh and dance with strangers who may or may not become friends. Time to run on the beach and surf in warm waters and ride a bike with the wind in my hair. Time to just be. The time is now.


Filed under australia, beaches, culture, random, travel