Stepping Out Your Front Door

Clear blue skies, water dripping emerald-green whispering under the hull and brisk wind filling the sails. What could be better than sea life as your companion? Life doesn’t get much better than this.

Except, life isn’t always perfect, yet there’s a cycle that keeps the earth in a symbiotic relationship. In simplest terms, the great oceans of the world evaporate sending moisture over the lands to return as precipitation bringing life to living things. All that comes with a price, however.

This year alone the world has seen natural disaster strike in every corner of the globe. In our little corner, where we spent our summer, there were tornadoes, floods, fires and hurricanes. How does one cope with such destruction and pain?

One day at a time.

You know by now I’m a planner. Yep, it’s my coping mechanism for being in control. Yet, I realize I have little in my life I can really control, I’m not even sure the decisions I make are the right ones. I can only hedge my bets and try to make the best decisions based on the information I have at the time. I put together contingency plans and side trips as life hands me lemons, but the journey isn’t always what I expect nor the easy road I’d plotted.


Our vessel, Fawkes is named after Dumbledore’s phoenix in the Harry Potter series. It’s no accident that she was christened with the name. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, we’re introduced to Fawkes as Harry has just witnessed the phoenix burst into flames. As he and Dumbledore watch the ashes Fawkes is reborn.

Dumbledore explains, “Fascinating creatures, phoenixes. They can carry immensely heavy loads, their tears have healing powers, and they make highly faithful pets.”

We see later in the book how all of these qualities come to play. In our four years on this boat, we have spent countless hours re-birthing our phoenix and she has carried us on immensely heavy loads, cried tears of healing for our own souls and become our faithful companion.

Spending 42 hours at sea recently, I became introspective as the weather window we chose was not ideal, but the best we could have taken. The night sky lit up with an almost full moon and the seas raising the boat only to set her gently down again made for a rocky ride. Our phoenix protected us and kept us going on our quest. Did we make the right decision to leave our port of call and head to another? Should we cut our journey short and duck into another port of call? Or should we stay the course and trust the knowledge we have, living our path one day at a time through faith?

We chose faith and made it to our destination unscathed and grateful for what we’ve been given. “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, walking out your front door… you never know where the journey might end.” as Gandalf might say.

We live our lives as journeys not destinations. When in your life have you been uncertain, yet moved ahead? How do you cope with the unexpected?

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About Nancy J Nicholson

Nancy J. Nicholson is a wife, mother, writer, and full-time sailor, writing of her adventures and creating contemporary mysteries along the shores of the eastern United States and Caribbean. She fills her time with new friends, exploration, food, knitting and reading.
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10 Responses to Stepping Out Your Front Door

  1. Jillian Dodd says:

    I love when you write about your adventures at sea. Such a cool way of living. I think I would dream that it would be all carefree and glamourous, but you really have to fend for yourself out there, which makes it all the more exciting!!

  2. Every day is an uncertainty. I agree with Gandalf. And the only course is to keep moving ahead, sometimes with head down and trudging step by step and sometimes with head high and running.

  3. Natalie says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE post – so powerful! And so true! We live our lives as journeys not destinations. Wow – blew me off my seat!
    I love how you tie this all back to sailing and your own personal journey. It’s an empowering messaging of faith and trust.
    I think accepting that the one constant in life is change helps with coping. Our lives are in a constant flux – sometimes larger and more noticeable. Sometimes almost seemingly nonexistent but always there. We are always changing and growing. Going at it with a positive attitude, faith that you can handle whatever comes your way, and a curiosity and enthusiasm for living and experience all helps!

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  5. Wow, I so get this post!
    I’m a huge planner too and I go crazy that I can’t control everything around me. Like you said, I actually control very little.
    Well, when life throws me a curve ball, I do the best I can. I plan over that curve. I tried not making plans and that only makes me more anxious … even if my plans change later on because of another curve ball, I need to keep my ideas ahead of me, otherwise I don’t know where to go …
    But we should enjoy the journey too … it’s not always easy, but we can do it!

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