In October I found my boat after a long 6 months kissing frogs. Since I immigrated to New Zealand in 2019, I have been looking for my new adventure. I was scuba diving, then it was solo camping trips in my Land Cruiser to Norther Botswana. In New Zealand there isn’t much land, but there is loads and loads of ocean, so how hard could it be ? After all, I learnt to sail in my 20’s.

So I got onto a sailing course and, well, decided that the best way to learn was with my own boat. Remember that statement, how hard can it be ? After all, I have done something way harder before.

Here is the thing. Learning for me, at the beginning, when I feel like I have no solid ground of knowing to stand on and everything around me is unknown, that place of learning, is hard and uncomfortable. I know only one thing, that the only way forward is through. So I plan small learning adventures. Things that are within my range, that (hopefully) don’t add in too much task loading. Because sailing isn’t the hard part of this adventure. It is getting the boat into and out of the marina that is the hard and stressful part.

If I reflect back on my world record I can remember moments of intense discomfort, so hard to bear that I almost backed away and in fact, couldn’t step into that discomfort for quite a while. There is this thing about being solo, about being totally accountable for the consequences that is both liberating and petrifying. I am 54 and one would think that in that time, I would have created a solid sense of confidence in myself. After all, here I am, in a new country, with a life that works and works well, with a career and profession that I have built and is well established, and yet, somehow, I have not quite anchored in the fact that I am able to cope with the consequences that come my way.

This realisation is a relief. It takes the edge off the discomfort of learning and reminds me that the experience I have is created by the way I think about what I am doing and that I can (mostly) control.

So here is to a new learning adventure. One that is going to be filled with mistakes and consequences and even as I type that, I find myself tightening up, trying to avoid the inevitable. Trying to avoid the shame of not being perfect. I know it is a lie, not to believe it! And believing is in the doing.