Since Christmas and New Year came and went without a peep from me, I thought I’d go all out for my birthday instead and invite ALL OF YOU to my party!
That’s right! You are invited to the Nanny Cay Beach Bar in Tortola on my ACTUAL birthday, February 1, 2020. And I’m absolutely serious!
Because, here’s the thing: I will be landing in the British Virgin Islands on my birthday, having sailed from the Turks & Caicos with a badass group of women who are taking the WOW (Women’s Offshore Week) Course with me and my co-skipper, Meg Reilly, of Ocean Racers.
Also, here’s ANOTHER thing! We had a drop-out on that course, so if there are any women out there keen to take a last-minute spot on our WOW 2 (January 26 – February 1) sailing 500 miles offshore to get to my birthday party, there is an available spot for you! You must have some sailing experience, but we’d happily interview you to find out if you’re right for this women’s course! Come aboard and sail with me and Meg!
A note about the very wintry cover photo at the top of this post: it is a collage of my birthdays of the last several years, which were woefully devoid of warm waters and boats. As a February baby, my birthday every year is most often celebrated on the snow, which I love. But as my 43rd year on this planet will begin in the Caribbean islands, I am SUPER excited to have a different kind of birthday this year.
There will be cocktails. And a beach bar. And Brittany (of Windtraveler). She is, after all, my favorite human on the island of Tortola and, possibly, on any island. So, I’m making Brittany my birthday present and sailing to Nanny Cay so I can “force” her to drink rum cocktails with me.
So, now that the birthday invitation is out of the way, we can talk plans for 2020 — what’s on my horizon, what’s on the horizon for Turf to Surf (here) and Chase the Story (my paused YouTube Channel) and Tasha’s Turf (the web site I started with a very personal post last year, then ran away from because I was overwhelmed).
I feel like I’ve been in a sort of coma for the last few years and I’m just starting to learn how to walk and talk and relate to the world again. And I’ve decided this is the year I find my way back to writing about my experiences again. Because the emotional mess swirling around in the silent vacuum of my head has done me little good.
On one hand, I have processed a great deal through talking, which means my therapist has earned a steady income off of me, and I’ve worked through some crippling grief. But I have missed writing and storytelling — the companion that’s helped me process most of what I’ve experienced in life since I first learned to hold a pencil and scribble in a journal.
This is something I thought about a lot over Christmas, which seemed to sneak up on me this year, catching me totally unprepared.
Unlike last year, when my mother and I traveled to Maui together for Christmas, this year, I didn’t make any plans. So, I flew to New York to spend Christmas with my mother so we could be alone together. Which felt less depressing than being alone and apart. But, still, it wasn’t good.
And probably because I was feeling lonely, I found myself on a second date right before Christmas with a guy I hadn’t completely written off yet. I mentioned to him that I was feeling a bit down because I used to have a big, loud, obnoxious family, which is what made me love celebrating the holidays growing up. Then I asked him if he ever missed having a big family, since he was also divorced, and he returned my question with an abrupt, “Yeah, so why do we have to talk about it?” And changed the subject. Which is when I knew I definitely wouldn’t be seeing this guy again.
It’s also when I knew that I needed to learn how to be my own companion. And I needed to write more to do that.
So, yeah, dating is a thing I’ve been doing on and off. And it’s been pretty terrible, if I am completely honest about the pool of single men I’ve encountered in Lake Tahoe these last few years.
And I’m sure there will be a moment when I share some of those stories over on Tasha’s Turf (the new site I created a year ago then immediately neglected), but right now I’m going to pull a mountain-man move and push that depressing topic out of earshot so I can focus on the good things that have come out of 2019 instead.
Because the good things of the last few years have all involved friends. And boats. And friends on boats.
Which brings me to the subject of everything I will be writing about here on Turf to Surf in the coming months and years: stories about boats and adventure travel. Because, as much as I tried to purge boats from my life with my divorce, they keep finding their way back to me.
And, no, it’s not because I’m an Aquarius with a February birthday that I keep finding myself drawn to water – I may live in California, but I’m still a New Yorker at heart. Mysticism has no place in my rational brain. It’s because I love adventure. And boats are still the greatest adventure vehicles I know.
In the last few years, in no particular order, here are some things I’ve done on boats:
- I got my USCG Captain’s License (Master, Near Coastal, 50 Ton).
- I got my US Sailing Instructor’s Certification, which involved single-hand sailing a boat for the first time.
- I sailed from the Bahamas to Cuba and Jamaica (with Meg & Morgen of Ocean Racers).
- I raced with Meg & Morgen in Antigua Sailing Week.
- I raced a Melges 24 on Lake Tahoe, and fell in the water when the lifeline snapped. (First time ever falling off a boat!)
- I did media coverage for The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, racing on a few different boats, one of which had an all-female crew.
- I sailed Hermes double-handed with Morgen from Annapolis to New York City.
- I spent a month in a boat yard in Mexico helping a friend, who was recently widowed, get a Tayana 37 seaworthy (which we were utterly unsuccessful at).
I have learned a great deal from all of these experiences and more, but I haven’t written about any of them. (Or produced any videos about them). And this is about to change. It’s a new decade. And I am going into it equipped with a Captain’s License, a great deal of sailing experience and the freedom to explore what this next chapter has to offer.
I’m starting out this 2020 with an offshore sailing course designed by women for women, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the female sailors in my life (especially Meg) who have nudged me in this direction.
So, if you can’t pop down to Tortola to celebrate with me on February 1st, I hope you’ll celebrate with me in spirit wherever you are. Because, honestly, you (yes, all of you who are reading this) have been the community that has helped me over the last decade to see that I belong somewhere, even when I have felt lost at sea.
The boating community, both online and in person, has come to my aid when I’ve been stumped by engine problems, I’ve needed a ride to run a marathon in a random port (that happened – thanks, Gretchen!), or I needed a laugh on a long ocean crossing. (Seriously, there was a guy who used to message jokes to my satellite phone to keep me amused while I was crossing the Atlantic.)
And my efforts to share what I’ve learned on boats both in writing and videos has provided me with an invaluable connection to all of you in the boating community. For that, I thank you. And I will be celebrating with gratitude on February 1st, 2020.
Join me if you can!