What do you do first after you complete a big project? Do you:

(a) collapse and kick back?

(b) embark immediately on the next challenge?

(c) celebrate?

I just completed the third book in my “In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss” trilogy, called The Long Way Back. Producing it took me four years of researching, writing, production, and publishing. The final product is a 456-page book with over 300 images and photos, 37 maps and 19 Did You Know sidebars about the countries we visited during the final third of our eight-year, around-the-world voyage of 35,000 miles. I did what we always do after a challenging feat or new leg of a voyage: Celebrate!

Celebration: the action of marking one’s pleasure at an event or occasion by engaging in enjoyable, typically social, activity.

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The book launch party for The Long Way Back.

My motto is “Celebrate, don’t deflate.” Don’t pop your bubble just yet. And do invite your family and friends to mark the occasion with you. After that you can regenerate and kick back. And only then should you invigorate by pursuing your next goal. Continue to live your dream, but give yourself a party and then a break before you burn out.

We practiced this motto many times during the eight years of our sailing circumnavigation. Before we set off on our Maiden Voyage, we had a boat christening party at the Catana boat factory in Canet, France. When we crossed the Atlantic, we held a half-way party en route and a traditional celebration at the end.

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Gunter and Lois during the boat christening party in France.

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Our half-way masquerade party while crossing the Atlantic.

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Each sailor puts his or her right foot on the table, a tradition after crossing a big ocean such as the Atlantic.

After our yacht, Pacific Bliss, was outfitted in San Diego for sailing the rest of the world, we held a South Seas party before embarking on a 21-day voyage to the Marquesas Islands the following day. Many friends survived the party and appeared at the dock to wave us on our way 3000 miles southwest. We spent two years Sailing the South Pacific, ending that voyage in Australia, where the final third of our circumnavigation began.

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Friends gave us a send-off before we sailed from San Diego to the Marquesas Islands.

We completed our circumnavigation, arriving at the same dock we left from eight years earlier in Canet, France. Then we settled into a rented villa in France and invited family and friends from all around the world to join us to celebrate our achievement.

I believe in living your life as you wish to be remembered. You never know when a tragic event will strike. Imagine time’s up. What better legacy for your friends and family than remembering all those events in your life that you shared with them!

You cannot live life on a constant high, especially after a long push to reach that success. So, after the party, it’s time to recharge. But don’t deflate: Regenerate! Do whatever it is that calms you down—read that great book you’ve left on the shelf, take a break in that hammock, walk in the woods or head for the nearest lakeshore or beach.

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Aitutaki, Cook Islands.

You don’t want to turn into a vegetable, so after you’re rested, it’s time to invigorate. For Gunter and me, that’s planning a few land excursions—places we couldn’t reach by sea. So, expect more travel blogs to come. You might want to invigorate by taking up a new hobby, embarking on a new learning experience, or searching for that new challenge. And when you achieve that goal, remember this: Celebrate. Regenerate. Invigorate. In that order.

 

 

 

 

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With the killing of four American yachties by the Somali pirates, and most recently, the capturing of a Danish family with children on board, many of my friends and readers have been asking me what it felt like to go through the 660-mile stretch of sea called Pirate Alley.

These short excerpts will show you what it was like for me. They are from my third book in the nautical trilogy, “In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss.”  The first book in the series, MAIDEN VOYAGE, was recently published.

March 7, 2007: When you’re getting ready to brave Pirate Alley, you want to do it with sailors that you can trust with your life. That’s why my husband, Gunter, and I formed the Camel Convoy along with four other sailing yachts—all on the same mission: to travel safely from Salalah, Oman to Aden, Yemen.

…Haze envelops the rocky rugged coastline of Oman, but where we are—a stretch of sea in the Gulf of Aden heading southwest toward the Red Sea—the baby blue sky is strewn with fluffy clouds, soft as a baby’s pajamas.

Oh, how I wish life could be that simple right now!  I’d rather be cuddling one of my grandchildren than approaching the Danger Box of Pirate Alley, just four days away.

…We admire yet another crimson sunset from the cockpit. “I’m bored stiff,” Chris blurts. Then, as if to correct a mistake, he adds, “Well this convoy stuff is getting to me.”

It is getting to all of us. I too, am bored. Bored, yet tense. I am living that definition of sailing that I never understood until now:  90% boredom and 10% sheer terror. Like a volunteer fireman hanging around the station, I don’t want the fire to come, yet I’m fascinated by thought that it could.

…The entire world out here is on red alert. It pervades the airwaves. It invades our psyches. It is buried deep within our bones. Yet nothing is happening in our little world. And we don’t want something to happen. The guys on the commercial ships, the captains of our sailing yachts, and most certainly the troops on the coalition ship, are all poised for action. I sense all of this bottled-up energy floating around, bouncing back off some invisible shield with no place to go.

I have posted the entire Pirate Alley story at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/49963474/Passage-Through-Pirate-Alley

Pacific Bliss

Camel roams the street