Yes, its March and I’ve decide to do a 2018 Year in Review: it’s never too late right? And I started writing this on my birthday; what a better time to reflect on the past year.

What went well in 2018

Travel

This year we went on one of the biggest adventures of our lives. We bought a catamaran overseas and sailed it 4000nM down the Atlantic coast of France and Spain into the Mediterranean. It wasn’t without its risks from a lifestyle and financial perspective. Suffice to say, it was worth all the risks and challenges. We created incredible memories and learned new skills from the experience.

You can read more about our boat here and our sailing adventures here.

Writing and photography

I rediscovered my interest in writing and photography while sailing. With limited time and materials to pursue my usual creative interests of painting and art journalling, I turned towards blogging, photography and videos as a creative way to share our sailing and travel experiences. As with any creative practice, its a continuous work in progress and often just a matter of showing up at the keyboard or with the camera. I’ve been particularly enjoying the post processing. Check out our latest photo blog here. 

What didn’t go so well in 2018

Health

Without going into details, I had a health shock towards the end of 2017 – which meant dealing with it in early 2018.. I was so lucky because surgery and treatment did not prevent us going sailing; in fact it consolidated my belief that life can be short and that you have to grab opportunities when they stare you in the face.

Moments/dates that are etched in my memory

29 October (it was actually 2017) – the day of the diagnosis. This day was the longest day of uncertainty, disbelief and shock. I’m not alone; many women go through this nightmare, and it takes ages to adjust to the new reality

5 March – we first saw our new boat “Wild Heart” in France, all shiny and ready to go sailing. She was (and is) beautiful.

17 May – it was a milestone moment sailing out of La Rochelle at sunrise towards the Bay of Biscay

25 September – spending a few hours alone at anchor during a Bora which gusted up to 50kts. It’s a longish story for another time

28 September – arriving in Bari, Italy at sunrise with good friends after a peaceful overnight passage from Croatia. We’d checked out of Croatia the previous day and headed across the Adriatic towards Italy. This arrival marked the end of our sailing season. It was partly relief to finish happy and safe but mostly so proud to have achieved what we did together.

There were so many other moments, small pieces of joy that I’ll remember and too many to list; small moments like landing a tuna during our crossing from Menorca to Sardinia, arriving in southern Sardinia to the prettiest sunset, having the most turquoise bay to ourselves in Menorca, crossing the Bay of Biscay and sharing the experience with friends and family. All priceless.

The biggest achievement

The whole commitment and process to buying a new catamaran and deciding to sail in the Mediterranean. We had little experience of sailing a catamaran, let alone doing it half way around the world. Any way you look at it, the end of the season was a big deal for us. We have travelled 4000nM and multiple countries in 6 months from France to Croatia.

The biggest challenge

Remaining relatively calm in 50kts winds and managing the boat for a few hours during a storm while I waited for the wonderful crew to get back on board.

Illnesses or injuries

Apart from managing the aftermath of my diagnosis and treatment from the previous year, I managed to fall off a dodgy pontoon in Spain when securing the boat in 30kt winds. I half fell into the water and onto a steel support and was lucky not to break a rib.

What do I want to do less of this year

  • worrying about things I can’t control (good luck with that)
  • buying more than I need
  • using less plastic

What do I want to do more of this year

  • spend time in nature – walking, swimming, sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding
  • work consistently on creative projects; painting, writing and photography

2018 kicked my arse. It was a year of challenges and change. It pushed me hard to let go  of control and lean into uncertainty. Onward into 2019, we’re off sailing again.

(Thank you to the bloggers who gave me the inspiration for this post).

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

9 Replies to “2018 Year in Review”

  1. What an epic year, Sue. It must have been extra special to embark on all your adventures after getting through your treatment. Really enjoyed your post and looking forward to seeing how this year unfolds! 🙂

  2. I too had a health scare while living my sailing dream (breast cancer) but was lucky enough to have it treated underway and be able to continue onward. As you say ‘life can be short and you have to grab opportunities when they stare you in the face.’ Glad to hear all is well with you now and that you are continuing to blossom in your new lifestyle. Hugs from Brazil

    1. Thank you Lisa, your kind words mean a lot to me. It was breast cancer for me too. I’m sorry to hear you had a similar experience but I’m happy to know it hasn’t stopped you from sailing and sharing your wonderful photos and adventures.

  3. Left you a comment but not sure if it went through as I’m on a very slow dongle – hope it’s not a duplicate comment.
    You’re an inspiration for continuing after your health scare – hats off as sailing can be both physically and mentally challenging at times.
    Really enjoying reading your stories.

    1. Thanks for the lovely comments. They sat in my spam for a couple of days hence the delay. Sailing always feels a little scary as it’s not always predictable but pushing past mental boundaries is so rewarding. I’m also enjoying reading your wide-ranging travels. Seeing and experiencing new places is the best!

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