Well we have now been back in Australia over 6 weeks. It has been great to catch up with friends, family and former workmates as well. At the same time it has been pretty strange to be “home” but not having a home. Having rented out our Sydney pad to help fund our extravagant lifestyle of gallivanting around Europe on a luxury yacht (!) we have been staying with various friends, family and hotel proprietors (thank you all!) in Sydney, South West Rocks and Hobart and there is more touring to come. We are trying not to wear out our welcome in any one place...
It is great to be having another summer after the recent cooler temperatures in the Med, not to mention freezing our proverbials off in London for a few days (great museum weather!) but we find ourselves in an odd situation. We are not home, we are not on holidays, we are living out of suitcases, accumulating more and more stuff to take back to ITIKI. That said, we have made the effort to do some touristy things, as well as getting out and about doing "normal" stuff, rather than sitting around marking time until we can get back on board and start over again. We are still trying to get used to “retirement” which is a bit of a challenge. No wonder people take up golf!
We have had some great feedback on the blog and website since we've been back - thank you! Its lovely to get comments on each blog post and really nice to find we have some “quiet” followers, watching our every move, living vicariously and feeling very much like you have been with us on our journey. Its wonderful to know that the blog has engaged so many people and it makes it all worthwhile.
There have been a couple of recurring questions that have come up and we have tried our best to answer those.
Was it what we expected?
This is the question that pretty much everyone has asked in some form or another and actually one of the hardest to answer. What were our expectations? We didn’t really know what to expect, how well we would adapt to living on a boat, in a small space, with mainly each other for company, how would we manage the sailing component, the touristy aspects, the bureaucracy, visitors... If our expectations were to have an amazing experience, to learn a lot and see some incredible sights, then yes they have been met and exceeded!. Every country has been different, the boat has performed really well, it is surprisingly spacious, bureaucracy has been relatively easy to navigate, we have seen some amazing places and we are still speaking to each other!! We have also met, face to face and virtually, some really lovely people.
Do you miss working??
Yes I did actually get this question and I am sorry to say that the answer is a big fat NO - although I really do miss the wonderful people I had been working with, the social aspects of work (yeah ok and some of the hot gossip...), the mental stimulation as well as the invitations to the Christmas parties. Although the planning associated with moving from country to country, port to port, anchorage to anchorage, as well as writing the blog and keeping the website up to date has certainly kept me busy and mentally challenged. I have learned a lot about managing power, water and provisions on a boat as well as how to live with a lot less “things” and especially about a tenth the number of shoes!
What will you do differently next year?
We do have a few “lessons learned” and New Year’s resolutions as we plan season 2019, decide where we are going and how we are going to “do” each country. We really want to get the most out of “being there” and living the dream, so there are a few things to bear in mind. We want to spend more time in less places, get off the boat and explore more on land, go walking, hire a car, take a bus, whatever it takes. Find those less visited places, local restaurants, markets and villages. We moved pretty quickly last year, with 63 ports and anchorages over our 4.5 months (see map below) so we want to take it more slowly this year.
We definitely need to manage our Australian summer visit better as well. We have stayed in 8 places in 6 weeks this summer, so we have already booked an AirBNB for a full month in Sydney when we return later in the year. We really enjoyed our time in Hobart doing some bush-walks and seeing a few more of the sights as well as catching up with family and friends - and of course the finish of the Sydney to Hobart for a change - so a trip to Hobart is on the cards for next year too!
Working on our photography skills is also on the agenda. We have now added a GoPro to our camera equipment so there could be an episode or two of “slow TV” ITIKI style in the offing... The Instagram account is going to get a bit more of a workout too, so if you like that medium we have treats in store for you - just search for ITIKI_on_Tour on Insta. Expect to see more aerial photography too - no pressure Keith...
Of course we have the usual New Years’ resolutions of drinking less, exercising more and losing weight - I don’t expect we will make much progress there. I never did get around to making that Jane Fonda style Helia workout video I planned - you never know though, the GoPro and Drone could come in handy for a superb production on the foredeck!