At the time of writing this post, I am back in the motherland. Home for a rest, my daughter’s birthday and just to catch my breath. I have been away for a month and a half, it feels like much longer. Stepping back into this world of unlimited decadence seemed a little surreal. I felt like I did not belong. Unlimited water, internet and electricity. A grocery store I could walk to in 10 minutes without having to get into my dinghy first, it won’t be long before I can wear my shorts without a belt again and with the oppressing heat confining me to the indoor AC arena, I will no doubt return to my pasty white self in no time.
So after my whirlwind two-week tour back in Ontario, where do I go? What do I do? When I left I had a no-nonsense easy peasy, straightforward very simple plan. I was going to get on my boat with a very brief stop at a boat yard to replace a few things and then within the span of one moon cycle I would be lounging in my hammock while entertaining daily visits to the front of my camera lens by Spirit bears and Orca whales. When I grew bored of being a National Geographic superstar and had painted a thousand or so watercolour paintings, I would leisurely meander down the Pacific Coast to what I liked to call, “not winter”. Armed with my 15 sporadic years of sailing experience, my trusty vessel and a mortgage-like investment in camera gear I had all the bases covered.
It should have been apparent when I explained my plan to the first of many seasoned West Coast sailors who looked at me like I was about to play Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun.
“What about winter?”,
“Do you have permission to go to Haida Gwaii?”,
“You must really know the tidal rapids well then, I have only been sailing here for 10 years and that is out of my league”
"That's the most dangerous stretch of water in the world"
and many other reality slapping you in the face conversations started eroding my confidence. I did not know there could be more than one of, “the most dangerous stretch of water in the world”. More importantly, how can they all be in one province?!?
Oh well, I had work to do to get the boat ready and there is nothing more I hate than people telling me I can not do things. On to the boat yard!
The boat yard will be simple, in and out in a one-week operation. I must have said that out loud, loud enough for that Murphy guy to hear or maybe just my ignorant optimism leading me to think I could have the standing rigging replaced in under a week. On top of that going flawlessly, I was disillusioned in thinking I could knock off changing the chainplates, replace the existing toilet system with a composting toilet, install solar panels, replace the dinghy, the electrical system and more. Ok, the electrical system was unexpected but still, what was I thinking?!? Somehow it all got done, well most of it. There are still things I need to do but more on that later when the existing PTSD wears off.
The sailing there is amazing, I have never experienced such a marriage of ruggedness and beauty in any other place on earth. It is unforgiving, unpredictable, and scary and I miss it already. When I think to what I have learned so far, more than anything is that I know nothing. On top of not knowing where to go or if I can even get there, I do not know whether I want to film, photograph, paint or just look at it. I know I need to make some form of income but I do not know what that is. I want to share everything on social media and at the same time, horde it all to myself. I know I should paint but I am distracted by photography and the same more so by video. In the end, I get so frustrated not knowing what I should be doing I do nothing. I have paintings half finished, and videos partially edited. I have stunning photographs I have not posted because I think my followers only care about paintings. I want to do it all but there is only so much time in the day and most of my days are spent just getting from point A to B. In my last week there, I put my foot down and started doing more of just what I wanted to do. I spent a day at Sidney Spit just photographing birds. I kept telling myself it was so I could paint them but in the end, they may just be nice photographs. So if you are reading this and are waiting for the part where I start waxing watercolour tips I am sorry, not going to happen today. If that decides for you that you do not wish to follow my journey, so be it. I do not know what that journey will be and I am not going to put myself in a situation where I make sacrifices to my overall goals to meet exceptions others have of me or worse, I have of myself. I spent most of my life mastering photography, I am not going to toss it out the window. I love the feel of a cinematic video and want to perfect that. I love painting but it is not all I want to do. I am 51 years old and I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.
So now what. Well, I don’t know. That is going to be my answer going forward. If you ask me where I will be at a given time, “I don’t know”. If you ask me if I can meet you at this location or that? “I don’t know” Will I make it to the Great Bear Rainforest or Alaska? “I don’t know”. Are you going south for the winter? “I don’t know”. Will I focus on photography, video, painting or all of the above? “I don’t know”
My plan is still to go north when I get back but I have to stop at the boat yard again first. There were things they did not have time to finish, that I now feel are too important to do without. I feel I have learned enough to get myself north, even as far as Alaska. I do not know though if I can get back in the fall months when the weather turns for the worse. My intimate encounter with a Humpback whale a few feet from my boat convinced me I needed to have a better filming setup. My camera is amazing for photography and is supposed to be the same for video but I need a gimbal, especially on the boat. I learned that if I am set up for photography I will need to take a video or vice versa. I put off getting the self-steering vane due to time and budget but I can not sail south without it. ( it steers the boat without power so I can sleep when offshore ). I learned I desperately need shade while sailing.
I can not afford everything and therefore need to figure out what I need the most. Is it a second camera or a mechanical crew member to steer the boat should I have an opportunity to go south? Should I sell my camera and just paint what I see and use that money for more boat things? Do I continue selling paintings and prints or do I focus on a YouTube channel and earn revenue that way? Can I do both effectively? Again, I don’t know. I have two weeks here in St. George Ontario, I am hoping to have some kind of direction figured out by the time I leave but for now, I just don’t know. I have to figure out what gear I need to change, replace or add because there is nowhere to have anything delivered. I would love to hear your feedback or comments below, will I head them? You guessed it, I don’t know.