Skip to main content

On December 10th, we set sail (literally) to explore the British Virgin Islands: 9 strangers from across the globe, sharing one 40 foot catamaran for 7 days.

I heard about the trip from an email list I have no idea how I even joined, through a company called Unsettled. They organize trips all over the world for digital nomads, professionals on sabbatical, and people who just need a break in the form of an adventure.

I forwarded the email to Lo, and he replied “YES,” so I signed us up.

“Embrace the unknown” was the theme of the trip, which is something I’m certainly trying to do more of this year…

But, if I’m being honest, I felt terrified and intensely intimidated.

I imagined the other participants as olympians who looked like the cast of Love Island (not so far from the reality), and that the unspecified “adventures” required strength and endurance that I didn’t have (the only time I’ve been called “athlete” was by a virtual coach on a pre-recorded Oculus workout). I imagined sleeping on a boat would feel hot and claustrophobic (it did, but we got over it), and that I’d end up getting seasick (which I didn’t – not even once!)

It’s always easier to psych yourself out and NOT do something.

Because it’s scary.
Because it’s unfamiliar.
And because you could goddamn DROWN.

But in that moment when we decided to sign up, it felt even scarier to keep living through the emptiness of day to day life without our baby and best friend, Roux.

We needed a change, and this would be one hell of a new beginning.

On day 1, we hopped on the boat, organized our provisions, and met the crew.

Our captain and fearless leader, Michael Youngblood, gave us an overview of the plan, making it clear that plans would change and adapt as the week went on, reminding us to “embrace the unknown.”

And I reminded myself there was no turning back now.

And so we set sail….

As we departed, my nerves dissipated almost instantly.

I don’t think it’s even possible to not zen out when you basically fall into a screensaver of beautiful blue waters surrounded by islands.

It was in-fucking-credible.

And the very first time our captain shut the engines off and we were just SAILING was the coolest feeling.

And things just got better from there.

When I refer to our group as “the crew,” I literally mean the boat crew.

We got to learn how to drive the boat, moor, raise the sail, and tie some cool knots.

Being at the helm was one of my favorite moments of the whole trip.

Highlights + Favorite Memories:

  1. The caves at Virgin Gorda (and the treacherous swim to get there in which some of us almost didn’t survive)
  2. The iconic Soggy Dollar Bar
  3. Cave Snorkeling (which isn’t something I actually enjoyed…it felt like drowning and I got smashed up against some rocks but wow was I proud of myself for trying!)
  4. Riding on the paddleboard with Jess on the way back from snorkeling, tethered to the dingy, right before Michael cut a sharp turn and threw us
  5. Willy T’s (a pirate ship which is also a bar, where after many, many shots, I jumped off the top of into shark and barracuda infested waters – because no one told me about that part in advance)
  6. Watching every single member of the crew deepen their connection with the water
  7. Waking up to swim in the ocean, and being gently rocked asleep by the waves at night

For one week, we called this boat home, and this crew family.

Maybe it was the ocean.
Maybe it was the people.
Maybe it was the knowing that we weren’t going “home” after this…that “home” isn’t a physical place.

But 7 days later, we felt like different people.

Happier, lighter, and more confident that sailing is something we want to pursue further.

Stay tuned for more adventures in sailing (and on land)!

Next stop: Edinburgh, Scotland.