I think we all reach a crossroads in our lives. When somethings strikes you. Bolts through your chest, lights your nerves on fire and smacks you right outside of your skin. Then you’re standing there, completely exposed, wearing your true desires now on the outside rather than in, and you see your life with a new perspective. “Am I really pursuing my dreams?” you ask yourself. “Is this still making me the happiest I can be?” Doubt puts a haunting hand on your cheek and turns your face to the left, then to the right and alternative paths begin to form in your field of vision. They lead to big, frightening dreams, grand adventures, risks, rewards maybe even regrets and failures. There is no right answer and there is no guarantee, but now—for the first time—you see an intersection and you don’t know which way yet to go.
Wow, that sounds pretty dramatic. Sometimes it can feel that way. That big and scary. Some moments in your life are that powerful and the decisions you make afterward are the hardest you have ever faced. I wrote about that moment in my life in my book Keys to the Kingdom and how it led me to quit something I had been very devoted to and to which I had given a great deal of my time and efforts (the practice of law) in order to pursue another path: cruising. I recently had another mini-moment like that. When something slapped the sense out of me and made me see my current situation in a new light, or perhaps I should say in a shadow. A cave.
I was staying on our boat alone down in the Keys for a couple of weeks while Phillip was handling a trial and some other matters in Pensacola and we were gearing up to sail together to the Miami Boat Show on Libra. Many of you know, offshore sailing is one of my most intense passions. To me, there is nothing as beautiful as the sun sinking into a blaze of pink on the Gulf, nothing as soothing as the sway of a floating boat, nothing as entrancing as water cresting off the hull.
So, I love to sail offshore. To reach foreign shores by boat. But—over the last couple of years—in order to do it I have had to complete hours and hours of computer work before-hand so I could unplug and go off the grid, with most of them devoted to making our weekly HaveWindWillTravel YouTube videos and Patreon posts. While I have several marketing clients I do work for—work that I enjoy and am very grateful I can do remotely—I spend about about 1/3 of my time working for them and the other 2/3 working for HaveWind, while also only making a mere fraction of my income. And there is no search for sympathy here. I set this all up myself. I know that. While a fun-loving, swearing sailor I am, a lazy underachiever I am not. You can take the lawyer out of the practice, but … I’m still Type A and I still push myself very hard at times. Too hard sometimes. And I might have continued down that path had I not had been slapped in the face with my own reality. This was my moment:
I’m down in Key West, where the waters are crystal green, the wind is often blowing a perfect 10-15 kts out of the southeast and the sunshine, itself, is bright and warm enough to make you smile within. I’m healthy, working for myself and living on a boat. An amazing, great sailing, loves-to-have-water-moving-under-her-hull boat. And I’m down in the shadowy bowels of her cabin, with probably eleven hours of video work ahead of me, that day, and griping to a very good friend about how much HaveWind work I have to do. You know what he tells me? “That’s dumb. You should take your boat out and go sailing.” And you know what my answer was?
“I can’t! I have to make a video. And, I can’t single-hand the boat.”
You see? SLAP! Did you feel it? I did. My own words coming out of my own mouth sounded so stupid. So unnecessarily defeatist. I knew everything about what I had just said was wrong. I knew my friend was right. I knew a lot of things, but not what to do about it just yet. So, I stayed. In my cave. Squinting at a glowing screen, for about three days straight, making videos. It took some soul-searching, talking with friends—particularly my Phillip who has always guided and steered me to do things that make me happy, even if they seem big and scary and perhaps full of failures—but I finally got there. And I knew which way I wanted to go.
Toward the water. Into the sunshine. Offshore on more adventures. Sometimes with me behind the helm, learning to actually steer and sail and truly single-hand a boat so I would never have to again say “I can’t go sailing because I can’t sail alone.”
Ahhhh … that’s better.
After looking at how many hours I already have on the water and offshore, Phillip and I decided I should go for my Captain’s License. What an amazing thing to pursue at such a young age in my sailing career. I’m a little scared of all the studying and the big test I’ll have to take. I’m a little scared of taking the helm of the boat and bumping into things. And, I’m a little scared to say I’m not going to make weekly full-length YouTube videos anymore because I’m afraid to disappoint people and feel like a quitter. But, I’m saying it anyway dammit! And, I’ve quit something before when it wasn’t right to pursue what I felt was.
HaveWind is about inspiring you all to pursue your dreams too. Whether they be cruising or writing or travel or whatever. It is the pursuit of your passion and the courage to make the tough decisions that get you there. It’s not about spending 15-20 hours a week making videos and other content to meet self-imposed deadlines. I am incredibly proud of the videos I did make (I mean … a complete two-hour movie covering our Atlantic crossing! Come the heck on!) and was glad Phillip and I were able to share Cuba with you in that way. But, the filming does take me out of the moment. The time needed to edit and create weekly high-quality videos takes its toll and takes away from our enjoyment of cruising. Nothing about what I do here should ever do that.
And, to be honest—and those of you who have tried it may agree—YouTube can sometimes feel like a hamster wheel, making you chase harder and harder with each video to please people and grow more than you did yesterday. It can be exhausting and frustrating. I’m looking forward to my next voyage where I don’t have to worry about camera angles, lighting, one-sided audio or hard drive storage. I can just sail and breath and read and write. And Phillip and I are getting so much closer to our cruising goals and traveling more. We will be flying down to Key West next week to spend a few weeks sailing our beautiful girl home where I will be taking the helm more, studying for my Captain’s license and accomplishing that and I’m so excited to devote my time to all of those amazing, fulfilling things.
I’m going to spend more time on the water, learning more, challenging myself, and seeing more suns melt into blue horizons over the bow of my boat than the square of my screen.
I also have a desire to challenge myself to write more and try to create scenes, characters and even more powerful emotions in each of you through words as opposed to GoPro footage.
I believe in words. I hope you do too.
And I hope these convey to you the need, motives and excitement about this decision. If you enjoy my writing, it will always be here and will continue to come in a heartfelt, relaxed rhythm when I find something that inspires me to share. Not because it’s Wednesday and I have to get a post out. I also have several articles coming out in the various sailing magazines soon and I can’t wait for you all to read them. I have several more that a handful of editors requested from me while we were at the Miami Boat Show and I’m eager to devote this new-found free time to those as well. Heck, maybe there’s another book in store in 2017 from Author Annie. I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out. Aren’t you?
As far as Patreon goes, we’re going out on top. I know many folks signed up there because of the weekly videos and we would not feel right continuing that when we’re no longer producing full-length videos so we will be closing that chapter after our last giveaway. I struggled with that platform on many levels because it did occasionally feel like begging. And self-promotion is not something I have ever enjoyed. But, Phillip and I have been humbled and honored by the support and our hearts have always been invested in our Gift of Cruising campaign. It’s been awesome watching people follow our footsteps and start cruising on their own. For that reason, we have decided to use the last of our Patreon funds to give away our fourth and final Gift of Cruising: a free voyage on SailLibra. Libra is making her final run of the season this coming May from Key West to Pensacola May 10th – 15th and we want to give that experience to one of our Patrons.
Patrons, if you are available to make that voyage and would like a chance to win free passage for the sail of your lives, email me. We’ll throw your name in the pot and we will draw in one week, on April 14th. Sound good?
Are you kidding me? Sounds freaking awesome! This could be you at the bow!
A big thanks as always to Captain Ryan for partnering with me on this. Y’all need to join a sail on that boat. I’m telling you. It’s life-changing. And, we hope, Patrons, that you all shuffle those weekly donations to a separate bank account of your own (mine is literally called “Cruising Kitty”) and put them toward your own goals and dreams.
While this decision was very hard for me to make and I had to muck through some very muddy emotions to get here, I’m very excited for what the future holds. I hope you all see this as a positive transition and continue to find yourself inspired here and eagerly working toward your own goals. I am incredibly proud of what I have shared in the past, the content I have created and the passion I will continue to share here. I’ll just be doing it now more than filming and editing it. That sounds awesome. Let’s do it.
“Take the boat out and go sailing! Whoo hoo!” says In the Moment Annie.
“And I want to go there, and there, and there, and … ” Ha. Sail on friends! I put a lot of heart into this farewell video. I hope you enjoy it. Get inspired. Get on board.