Slow Life Family Gap Year- Sailing with Vigilant, Bay of Islands


IMG_4005Today was a reminder of what I’ve known to be true for a long time; that life speaks to us in opportunities.

Opportunities that can be as transformative or as perfunctory as we’re willing to make it.

I booked a day tour sailing with Vigilant Yacht Charters, aboard a 42 foot gorgeous yacht as an introduction for our family to the Bay of Islands, NZ. Funnily, I booked it with uncertainty, I was rather dubious that a 6 hour day of sailing would be entertaining. But the tour was well reviewed, so I took a measured risk and booked.

It should have just been a sailing tour but it wasn’t. It should have just been a cinematic encounter with the environment and Islands, but it wasn’t. It was an opportunity.

An opportunity to enjoy slow life.
An opportunity to still the mind and move the heart.
An opportunity to connect to the numbered few onboard with us.

You see, the ferrymen and sailors of old knew something of the sea that I believe is forgotten in our modern time. In our modern day of haste, many of us look at planes, trains, automobiles and boats as a means of transportation, simply moving us from A to B. A means by which we can continue on with our demanding life and go about our “productive” business. These have become our tools and not our treasures.

And so I had not accounted for experiencing the magic of sailing the sea as I sailed the Bay of Islands today. But the ferrymen and sailors of old would have known what mystery and truths are revealed when the sun beats down upon your neck and flits across the water.

They would have known of the connective power and intimacy that develops whilst on board with others. Where you arrive as strangers and depart as storytellers.

I knew of no such things until today.
Life was slow. Languorous. We exchanged stories with a handful of strangers from around the world about why they were there. Where they had been. Where they infer to go.
We talked of the past. The present. And the future. And by the time the wind had picked up on our return, and the boat was on a keen angle, the sea spray sharp in our faces and the air considerably cooler, we all huddled under a shared doona. Intially it wasn’t comfortable, we were all acutely aware of the intrusion upon personal space, but again life spoke in an opportunity.

Life revealed the ability of the human nature, of how quickly and readily we can adapt. From uncomfortable to comfortable within 20minutes, because practicality won out.

There was a palpable sense of intimacy on board by the time we returned. Somewhere between the cliff top hike, gourmet, fresh lunch and shared anecdotal stories amongst strangers, we had become like the ferrymen of old, and had been claimed by the sea.

A moment of where horizon meets the heart.
This was not just a tour. The Bay of a Islands has not just been a place.
It has been a revelation, inspiring new ideas and fresh perspective. Essentially, it has been a truth serum. And therein lies the opportunity.

Today we learned that slow life may just get us to where we want to be, faster than any other route.

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Categories: Family Travel, Gap Year, New Zealand, Travel StoriesTags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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