What would I say at 57 to me at 44?

Doubt I’d say much to discourage the courage it took to carry on when I was 44 living in Malta. During the low point of our long, nomadic adventure. But that was then and now I was nervous.

I was getting ready for my close-up, trying to focus on the questions I’d just received. An American podcaster asked me to be on his show, turning the tables, letting me play interviewee. I needed a distraction so I posted these pics on facebook, a double dose of diva to get me in the mood. Above, last summer at 57, and below, once upon a time in the middle of the Mediterranean.

The podcaster wanted to discuss my book, including the cities in which I’d lived, and seemed quite keen to chat about the transatlantic voyage we took aboard our sailboat back in 2002. I thought I’d mention the time we went to the Caribbean to get certified in ‘Bareboat Cruising’.

The year was 1999 and the tech boom party was still going strong; we were living in the middle of it, still in Seattle. Off we went for two weeks of sun, sailing and studying in the Caribbean. At the end we took the test. My guy passed with flying colors. Me? I was pulled aside by Captain Thomas, a world weary sailor who’d been living in the Caribbean for way too long. We got along quite well but when he pulled me aside from the group, there was concern etched all over his face as he said, “Now Bailey, I want you to promise you’ll never do any serious sailing, promise?”

I did promise Captain Thomas. And then I proceeded to sail across the Atlantic aboard our 43 Nauticat with my husband and two small papillons Colette and Godot.

Getting ready for the podcast meant it was time reflect on that trip across the ocean. That moon that took up the entire sky and all those stars. And the dolphins that came to play at our bow each day. Every single day, at 4pm, up to a dozen of ’em, bringing us joy, for about an hour before spreading their joy elsewhere. Not sure where they went. For days we didn’t see another boat.

We made it, obviously, it was an easy crossing, until it wasn’t. One of the highlights was arriving at the mid point, in the Azores. We met some crazy people, including a German guy named Clemens. We had tricked out our boat with new sails, a gen set, back up weather systems, global electronic charts, a satellite phone. Clemens seemed to have little beyond weed and a prayer. But he too made it to the Azores. Not sure if he made it to his destination. Not sure he even had one.

It was fun recalling that trip, knowing I’ll never do it again. But whenever I’m given the chance, like now, I recall Joan Didion’s advice about staying on familiar terms with our former selves. I think that’s a good idea, you may need the courage it took then to face the world you’re living in now.

Published by baileyalexander

An American living in Piemonte. Sailed across the Atlantic aboard our 43 Nauticat in 2002 and spent over a decade living in Rome, Paris, Prague, Malta, Venice and Bucharest before settling in Piemonte, Italia.

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