One of the things I love about cruising is that it forces you to let go of schedules and go with the flow. Planning, of course, is key to cruising comfortably, since you need to look ahead at the weather so you can sail when conditions are ideal. But it’s just as important to keep an open mind about changing course if conditions change, an opportunity for adventure comes up, or you hear your friends are meeting somewhere interesting you hadn’t planned to go.
I’ve always loved this about backpacking, and now I’m starting to see that cruising is kind of like traveling with a way more versatile “backpack.” Namely, one you can live in.
So, when we found ourselves in Newark Airport on Boxing Day, packed up and ready to head back to Hideaway in Vero Beach, Florida, and our flight was delayed for the third time because of a Nor’easter howling outside, we wondered if we should persevere with the flight delays or if we should change course and take advantage of the two feet of snow about to drop, and squeeze in a few more days of skiing while the storm blew over.
When I first blurted out the idea, I thought it was too silly and last-minute to be sensible. After all, the sooner we got back to Vero Beach, the sooner we could get going to our next big stop: the Bahamas. But Ryan began to think it over and check the weather, which seemed to say we wouldn’t be able to make the trip across the Gulf Stream from Florida for at least another 10 days. So the question became, should we go back to Florida now and get eaten by no-see-ums for 10 days? Or should we take advantage of the fresh powder and ski now and worry about that weather window later?
I love sailing as much as any sport, but the chance to hit the ski slopes after a big snowstorm is one of those rare things that makes me giddy enough to throw myself face-down in a snow bank and make snow angels like a 3-year-old. So, once we confirmed that United Airlines would change our flights without charge and we remembered we had two free passes to Hunter Mountain, we dropped our plans, rented a car and drove back to the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York, where I could throw myself at as many snowbanks as I wanted.
With our mountain lodge cleaned and packed up for future renters, and with no more chores to be taken on, those cheekily gained 48 extra hours meant we could completely relax and just have fun (after surviving the grueling drive through the snow).
And boy did we have fun. I may not have found a way to combine sailing with skiing yet, but for now I was happy to settle for the impromptu chance to tear up the mountains one last time before heading back to my life aquatic.