When I bought Andiamo, eight and a half long years ago, I had no idea what to expect. That was part of the excitement. Alas, suffice it to say that there is no way I could have predicted that things would happen they way they have over that time. How could I? How could I have possibly predicted all the adventures, misadventures, happy moments, tragedies, surprises, disappointments, and all the other stuff that ensued over these years?
When my then-wife and I left Miami for the blue yonder, I suppose I had an entirely different idea (perhaps overly romanticized) of what to expect from this grand adventure. It didn’t take long after sailing off from Miami, however, to realize that things would go FAR differently than I or anyone could have imagined. The initial challenges and dilemmas came fast and furious. For awhile there, I felt like there was one big-bad-luck-schleprock cloud hanging over me. It was a shock to the system, a hard dose of reality. Yet, somehow I managed to get through it, and make it through to sunnier horizons.
Yes, there is much that happened over these years that I clearly wish didn’t. And yet, there is so much more that did happen that I didn’t expect to, and was glad that they came to pass. So in the end, it makes everything more than worthwhile. I always say, that the most profound experiences I’ve had aboard were also the most challenging, and even the most dangerous.
So many people, so many experiences, so many connections (many of which I still hold dear and value to this very day), stem from this incredible time on my dearly beloved boat and home. My life will never be the same, thanks to Andiamo and all she’s brought me. What started as an abstract dream back in my younger years, out of crudely-sketched drawings of sailboats, palm trees, and sunsets on my schoolbooks, manifested itself into an amazing reality. I am living proof that dreams do come true. Although never in the straightforward, painless fashion that one would wish. Yet it has all paid off in what I can only call an amazing chapter of my life.
It’s no secret that I’ve been slowly fading into the background on the Andiamo stage as of late. I have always said that I would heed the inner voice when it would tell me that it was time to move on. That inner voice started giving me those hints about two years ago, in a variety of ways. At first, it was easy to ignore and dismiss. Particularly since overall, I was still having quite an amazing time. Despite the inevitable realities that the “voice” continued to point out to me, and rather annoyingly at that. Eventually, it became fairly impossible to ignore. Particuarly when I realized that my by-then excruciating tinnitus condition was affecting my ability to perform as a worthy captain. As well as having an adverse effect on my overall personality, disposition, and moods.
I actually found it rather ironic that I was to let an ailment force me to make some hard decisions. Particularly when I was otherwise finding myself in the best health and physical condition I’ve ever been in my life. Ironic, indeed. While I wish I can say that those were the only forces, I can’t. There were other factors in play, also impossible to ignore.
And so, the process began in earnest. Since then, it’s been a long, hard slog getting Andiamo to stand on her own. To be self-sufficient with new captains, owners, and staff around her. Over the past several months, I’ve had to make several hard and painful decisions to let go even further. Mostly due to realities that became evident to me that required me doing so. Those realities made me understand that it was time to back even further away.
I’ve often read and been told that the hardest ties to break are the final, binding ones. The last few threads that keep you invariably attached to the very “thing”, you need to let go of. And that definitely applies here. Despite my progressive retreat from all things Andiamo, I do find that there are still a few final ties that need to remain at least for awhlie.
Despite those ties, this phase of the retreat requires a profound mindset change. One which requires me to become far less emotionally and directly involved with my beloved boat. As well, as how she’s managed and operated by the other parties involved. So while those binding ties will remain, my emotional ties will continue to disconnect, fiber by fiber. All without prejudice, malice, resentment, or even anger or bitterness. Just hope, goodwill, and positive vibes for her and for all who continue on with her.
In a lot of odd ways, I feel like a marriage is ending. And like my last (and only) marriage, despite all the pain, bad feelings, resentment etc., that you feel at the outset, you realize something. Over time, you feel the tide change. By the end of the “process”, you find yourself just wishing the other well. You find yourself wanting her to be happy, healthy and prosperous. What happened before doesn’t matter anymore. All becomes forgiven, and you realize it’s healthier to move on with love and hope. Rather than with pain and grudges. That’s the way I’m feeling with Andiamo right now. Time to move on, let go, and let the other forces of nature guide her and keep her spirit alive.
So, alas, you will not hear much from me via my beloved boat, and her channels. I will still be handling my marketing responsibilities for the site as I always have. But with significantly less of the personal involvement that I have invested thus far. It’s just time for me to do this. I have to believe that Andiamo is in good hands and that the others involved will do the right thing with her. For better or worse, that time is now.
In closing, let me just say thanks. Thank you, to all the wonderful people, amazing places.. serene harbors… thrilling experiences… hair-raising adventures… playing dolphins… blue skies… fair breezes… clear waters… terrifying squalls… picturesque sunsets… moonlit nights at anchor… cuban cigars on deck… incredible friends… wonderful acquaintances… my wonderful, unforgettable lovers… my dearest cats (of whom Lucy still stands tall)… and so much more. I will forever be grateful for everything that Andiamo has brought me, and I will sorely miss them all.
And don’t fret for me, the next chapter has already begun…