Another beautiful interview, this time with the amazing Shevonne Hunt from Kinderling Radio in Sydney. She’s found her passion and when it comes to her interviews and podcasts, you know Shevonne’s found her Dharma, her path in life, as not only her eyes, but every cell of her body sparkles. Encounters like that make me happy. Thanks Shevonne and everyone else, enjoy the short and sweet 10 minute interview.
Re-reading several of the old Yoga scriptures has been the literacy guideline for my year so far. As such I am ploughing through Desikachar’s Heart of Yoga and although I’d love to quote almost all, this is one every part of me resonates with:
We can never experience our real nature if we do not expose ourselves to change. That is why we must test ourselves sometimes by doing something completely different.
Have you done anything different yet this year? or are planning something which you’ve never done before?
Few spots left for our Bali Yoga Retreat this April: https://sailingyogafamily.com/yoga/yoga-retreats-2/blissful-bali-yoga-retreat-april2017/
The dots only connect looking backwards, never looking forwards.
A few days ago a friend of ours interviewed us for her book on patriarchal hierarchies. Because with three kids and the whole shibam there’s really no spare time for special decor – and also because at times raw can just be beautiful – here’s the uncut, raw version of her transcript, some of it will appear in print next year. We really enjoyed t as it went far and beyond the usual focus on sailing which we’ve had during most other interviews.
Dini – “All of our friends started climbing the career ladder getting into mortgages and the possession hierarchy and we felt that wasn’t really our plan. We had to do what felt right in our hearts and what we valued most.”
Dini – “With a family even more so we felt that’s what we have to show our children – not something that society might say you should do, as in getting the house and a mortgage and a ‘proper job’. That really didn’t resonate with us.”
Pablo – “In my case I also wanted to do something completely different. You only live once and you have to give it a go for your wildest dreams.”
Background summary, Dini – Left Australia when oldest child was almost 2 and the now middle one was a couple of months old. Sold everything, ended house lease, resigned from jobs.
Pablo – “Those are the things an adventure brings. Getting to the unknown and doing things that you’ve never done before. For me, it’s all about the feelings from the trip – buying a boat, going to amazing places. These were the highlights.”
Dini – “I think you need to be prepared that whatever your dream or adventure is, you need to want it so much in your heart that it’ll push you through very low moments, because they will come for sure.”
Dini – “The obvious highlights are a typical amazing sunny day with a nice breeze and you set off to an unknown island and ideally you make some new friends.”
Pablo – “For me I’ll always remember and I’ll always miss: waking up anchored in some beautiful bay. And the first thing I’d do is to jump in the water, as my coffee to wake me up. How amazing is that! Jumping in the water, that’s how I started my day. It cannot be a bad day because it started in the best way.”
Dini – “I’d swim to the beach, do my yoga, go for a run… and a couple of times I’d come across these ruins, especially in Turkey, that in Australia would be THE national monument because they were so beautiful, so well maintained and so OLD – but because there’s so many of them it’s not even a tourist attraction… just those moments that you totally don’t expect.”
Dini – “When you get a beautiful sail and you’re in tune with the wind and the waves, just with nature. It’s sounds quite romantic actually, you always live in tune with nature when you live on a boat. But a part of it can be quite exhausting, because if you get a few days of strong winds you might not be able to get off the boat or you’re restricted in what you can do next. But when it aligns it can be really beautiful as well. And of course the sunrises and sunsets at sea….
P – “When we were in the middle of the Med, crossing for example from Malta to Turkey, at some point it’s just water. You don’t see land anywhere. You don’t see boats. It’s just your little boat in the middle of the ocean. And you know underneath you there’s nothing but 10km of water. You feel humble, like you’re such a little thing in the world.”
D- “And at the same time empowering because you have to be so self-sustainable. All our energy came from wind and solar (except when we had to run the diesel engine) – that’s how our kids understand it. You are your own little world. You need to make sure you have enough food. We made our own water through osmosis. It’s very scary and adventurous but at the same time very empowering and very humbling. Wildlife is always another big highlight. You don’t feel like a superior human species, as we often think when we live in a city. We’re not.”
P – “You realise when you go back to normal civilisation, in a country like Australia, we have it so easy. We take everything for granted: water, electricity, food, shelter. It makes you appreciate little things in life. I think that’s why we have some sort of crisis in our time because we just don’t appreciate a lot of things that we take for granted.”
D – “Also having time… on the boat, so often we would just sit there as a family, we might read, we might play games, we might talk, we might just sit there – that’s something you never do in land life. I don’t know any family that just sits in the garden and spends time together. People are always rushing.”
D – “It’s like the ocean: the waves of the ocean slow you down, and you’re forced to adjust to it. Maybe at the beginning you fight it and you still want to do a thousand things, and then after a while you have to give in because it’s the rhythm of nature.”
P – “Most people are scared to follow their dreams.”
P – “People create their own prisons. You are a prisoner of your own freedom. I think it’s about liberating yourself from your own prison. Your own baggage plays a big part of that. It’s a mental game.”
D – “To put things into perspective, they say there are about 10,000 live-aboard sailing boats out there at any one time of those just 1% are families – so there’s only about 100 families cruising the world like we did. So we were nuts!”
P – “Me being from Argentina – having instability is normal. That is what I got from my parents; they were in some bad economic situations but they showed me you can always get up and come back.”
D – “People slide into a mortgage because in our culture you need to own your own house. The way people talk is that the bigger the house you have, the more you must have achieved or the cleverer you must be.”
P – “Society is telling you that if you want to climb the hierarchy and you want to be at the top, you have to have a lot of material possessions. You need to have the big house and your wife needs to drive the latest 4-wheel drive BMW/Mercedes.”
D – “It definitely does exist, this hierarchy, especially in terms of possessions – but there is always the option to opt out. Maybe because we grew up in different cultures, it’s easier for us to step out and see that, that you don’t have to buy into it.”
D – “I’ve got three kids, I don’t have the energy to start a Che Guevara-style revolution. But I feel that it’s a silent revolution just being a living example that you can live a different life, rather than aggressively fighting against it.”
P – “I think a lot of people are realising that there’s nothing there in possessing, or climbing up the ladder in the corporate world, or trying to get the mortgage for the biggest house. I think a lot of people like us can see there’s emptiness there and it’s not going to fulfil your spirit.”
D – “People have realised there’s limits with possessions. They don’t really make you happy.”
D – “The more people have, the more fear they have of losing it. The less material stuff you have, the more you can just go with the flow of life and see where it takes you. And get all these wonderful surprises that otherwise you’d miss out on.”
P – “If you get rid of material things that you don’t actually need, you will feel freedom somehow, you will feel lighter with more options.”
D – “For example, we bought a boat with a relatively low budget compared with many other sailing families and we never worried about getting robbed – and our lock didn’t even work properly. Whereas we have quite a few friends who have boats worth 15 times as much as our boat, and talking to them I felt they actually enjoyed their experience much less than us because they were always worried about people kidnapping their kids or stealing things from their boat. So in a way it was freeing living on a boat that always looked like the poorest in the harbour.”
Life is too short to wake up with regrets.Dreams are too real to just dream them.
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Namaste. Blessings. Love – always.
Unexpected deeds of generosity are what touches people most and gives life colour, especially in moments when all colour seems to fade. Doing just one nice thing, social, environmental or other, has been in everybody’s mind through various Do Something initiatives lately. Stop the cycle of negative news!
Closer to home, during one of my post-partum days a surprise parcel brightened up my day. A lovely yogi and blog reader from the UK, Susan Sternkopf, had sent us two copies of her beautiful kids book Sail On. In fact, the short rhymes contain messages for everybody, regardless of age.
It’s been one of the boys’ favourite bed time stories and the never ending questions of, ‘Why Mummy, does the book always say ‘sail on’ after every rhyme?’, has kept the whole family wondering, and pondering, discussing – and may I go so far as to say, sometimes given us the courage to dream again when it seemed that our big dream had prematurely ended and we were lost in no-man’s land where no other adventure seemed to be tempting enough to compare with a life at sea, ‘en famille’.
Thanks Susan. You can contact her here if you would like your own copy. Let me share a couple of pictures and one of my favourite passages from the book these days:
Even getting lost can help you learn to find your way. So don’t be guided by your fears. Just inch along until the weather clears… Sail On… 
Sometimes there’ll be no wind at all. Sails will lag. You’ll think you’re stuck. Stay calm. Anothehr wind will change your luck… Sail On…
by Susan Sternkopf & Glenn Halak
Disclaimer: Susan never asked me to write this review, nor do I get any commissions on sales. It’s just a heart-felt ‘like’ which deserves a post and a thought and a smile;)
And now, what nice thing am I going to pass on today? Just making some lunch for a friend and took the neighbours’ bin in this morning. You?
Pffff, what a few weeks it has been! Besides the usual challenges of mentally transitioning from life at sea to land-lubbering (yep, many things even after more than three months still take me by wonder, the good and the bad) I ended up on my first ambulance ride of my life as I came off my scooter in the silliest way possible on my way to a Yoga class on an early Sunday morning. Despite the rather deep hole in and almost through my big toe and the few road-burns along the legs I was incredibly lucky as I could have easily lost something in or around my foot permanently. As it stands, it was just followed by a rather unpleasant day on a hospital-enforced semi-fast (How can you tell a pregnant woman not to eat for nine hours???), although with lovely staff, amazing friends who cheekily sneaked in a sandwich and a juice, immense gratitude for having such great medical services at arm’s reach when needed – and of course the following weeks of forced resting. I can’t hear one more ‘What a great opportunity to rest!’. I’m over resting! I’m dying to a go for a simple, humble walk! But then they say;
Life doesn’t always give you what you want, but generally what you need.
So here I am, learning to walk again as my hip and pelvis rock completely out of sinc in which pregnancy’s softer ligaments aren’t helping. Then I get the phone-call that finally, after months of fine-tuning, our beloved Happy Dancer has been sold. The first person who came to view her in Malta few hours after posting the ad on this blog several months ago when pregnancy forced us into an unplanned cruising break. Given this is our first round in and out of boat-ownership, I definitely can’t agree with the old saying that the happiest days of owning a boat are the one you buy and the one you sell it. There was no champagne, there was no high-fives or cheers. There was just an almost numbing sadness and vast void – more so as the boys keep asking every day for their home – our boat – and I’m running out of explanations on what to say. A chapter is over. Of course we wish the the new owner, his family and friends as much happiness and unforgettable adventures as she’s brought us. And just as I hang up with them, I get an email that a share in our old boat here on Sydney Harbour has become available. We’ll explore this option, as well as getting our very own little 30′-er on Pittwater for more frequent weekend sailing and to help fill that emptiness which not having a boat at hand has left in our family’s psyche.
Such is life, continuous flow, incessant change. Nothing ever stays the same, everything changes constantly. No use in lamenting what is no more, when there is so many things to embrace and look forward to.Besides future adventures in Asia, the Pacific, South America and who knows where else, there’s the here-and-now. Sydney’s natural beauty – to me without a doubt the world’s city with the highest living standard. The opportunity for the boys to experience ‘normal’ school for a while. Believe it or not: Routine. There is a certain freedom and tranquillity in having a routine which I would have never understood before living three years on a sailing boat with husband and toddlers and uncertainty part of every breath we took. Here now, so much time to read, potter in the garden, be with the kids (without an imminent boat maintenance issue in the background), and study again (Vedic Astrology – here I come!). Breaks from our relationship – you wouldn’t believe how nice it is to see your loved one after a day of separate adventures, as opposed to the challenge of sharing a rather small space together 24/7. Regular yoga with fabulous teachers and other fun and insightful activities (think contact impro in Newtown; markets on Saturdays; bush-hiking and whale-watching on Sundays; medicinal walks; BBQs; birthday parties; book clubs… Sydney’s got it anything you could ask for and more!). And last but not least, our amazing community, including some new friends we’ve made who bought exactly the same boat which we used to call home for years, are preparing for their next sailing season in the Med and, needless to say share the same vibes and having enjoyed several summary BBQs with them since we got back, it feels like we’ve been friends forever. If you fancy reading more about family sailing fun, check out their excellent blog: A yacht more to life.
The other fellow blogger/dear friend who I’ve been enjoying numerous after-noons over cup-cakes and tea, beach time and family picnics with is beautiful Bianca from OurYearInSpain. Another blog worth while detouring to, even more so if spending a year in Spain (or possibly other parts of the world) is part of your and your family’s bucket list.
In Yoga we always talk about detaching from the ego. In a way, I wonder, how much dreams and longings are part of that ego as I’m trying to detach and feel content without an imminent glamorous dream to turn into a project and then reality – well that is if pregnancy, birth and transitioning to a family of five didn’t count!