Am I A Pirate or a Pansy?
I had all but sworn off sailing.
Years ago, when I was still an angsty teen with no talent for sports (except dance), I joined a sailing class at the Mystic Seaport with my dad and sister. Once a week for about two months we curled rope into figure-eight knots, learned how to differentiate port from starboard, the bow from the stern; we were even taught how to upright our boats if we capsized (which, thankfully, we never did).
But while my dad and sister were expertly shifting their weight so our small dinghy wouldn't lean too far toward the water, I found myself sitting stock still, unsure of myself and how to counterbalance. When my dad rotated the boom and my sister let out the sail, I would turn the rudder the wrong way, causing us to lose the wind and sit motionless in the water.
If I'm being really honest, I sucked.
So, it should come as no surprise that I was hesitant when Matt and I were invited on our first ever press trip, one involving sailing among the British Virgin Islands. According to the itinerary we were provided, we would essentially be circumnavigating the island of Tortola, stopping at other smaller and less developed islands along the way. It was an amazing opportunity to see a new country that had never been on our radar before and it would be a chance to redeem myself (or so I'd hoped).
And so it was decided: The trip was a go.
We packed a week's worth of clothing and most of our camera equipment (including Matt's new drone) into four bags and set out for our sailing adventure, unsure of what was to come. When we arrived, we had a night to settle in, meet the rest of the group and get on Island time. The next day, our first full day on the Islands, is when our adventure would begin.
Rising with the sun, the seven of us met on deck, eager to receive our assignments. We learned how to grab the mooring, raise and drop the anchor, let out the main sail and the jib. Collectively, we were responsible for closing the hatches, organizing our belongings behind the no-tip barriers and jumping in where we were needed.
Soon, we were slicing through the water, gliding past enchanting landscapes and beaches the color of raw sugar. I was reluctant to step away for the same reason I'd never leave a movie theater during one of the best parts: There was a sense that something important was happening. Constantly.
I think we all had a sense that we had stumbled upon something truly remarkable, some wild and pristine necklace of islands that few had ever landed on before. It's the same feeling I imagine Columbus might've had in 1493 the first time he saw the BVIs.
And though I may not be an expert sailor anytime soon, I finally understood the pleasure of fear that only travel can bring. The chance to venture outside your comfort zone, without the defining parameters of everyday life, forces a kind of vulnerability that, ironically, inspires action. With travel, we're able to break our own stereotypes of ourselves when we are in different places and, perhaps, that is the greatest pleasure of all.
This trip was made possible by LaloFitness. Opinions, as always, are our own.