How it all started...
Although I currently live in England, I am American by birth, from the wonderful State of Iowa. Iowa, as you may or may not know, is about as far from the ocean as one can get in the US.
(OK, technically the point furthest from the ocean in the US is owned by Lebanon, Kansas, but Iowa certainly felt like it.)
I was 14 when I saw the ocean for the first time. I had travelled to Portland, Maine, with my mum, to visit one of my brothers and 2 sisters that were living there. I remember, as if it were yesterday, standing on the sandy beach for the first time, totally and utterly mesmerised by the size of the ocean.
I just stood there and stared towards the horizon, for ages. My mind was buzzing! What was out there? What was beyond the horizon?
And that's when I heard it for the first time. It was like the ocean was calling to me in a small, calm voice. 'Come and find out,' the voice said. 'Come and see what is just beyond the horizon, and then the horizon after that, and the next.'
Eventually, my brother thought something was wrong and pulled me back to reality with a tap on my shoulder. I knew then I was not going to spend the rest of my life in Iowa.
When I left school, I tried my hand at university for a bit before deciding it wasn't really for me. So I joined the Air Force. I spent 9 years serving my country, and saw a bit of the world - England, Germany, Holland, Honduras, etc. But it never quite satisfied that craving I had on the beach in Maine.
I also noticed that every time I went to a beach, I would gaze out over the ocean and hear the same small voice, the same call, the same pull to come out and explore.
It wasn't until I was soon to be 50 that I put my foot on a sailboat (yacht) for the first time. And within hours of doing so, I knew I was hooked. I knew that this, THIS!, was finally the answer to that summons.
In fact, there was a moment when we rounded a bend in the river on my very first sail, and I saw the open ocean again. And in that moment, I was finally able to give an answer back to that small voice, 'I'm coming. I'm finally coming.'
Here, is my story...