Hello! I had no plan to be writing from a cottage in the French countryside. But here we are, in the Loire Valley filled with chateaux built in the 1500s, doves cooing, butterflies flitting, deer rutting, apples falling, bicycling forest paths, cool and dry evenings, and OMG, the food. The food! Here's how we got here:
It's been seven months since my last update in March. To catch you up April through June we were at the Saint Mary's, GA boat yard, working as hard as humanly possible to get the boat finished: painting everything inside and out (that alone was ~3 months), a new engine (how will I mount it? how will I steer it?), inverter, instrumentation, tank gauges, floorboards, galley, cabinets, lighting, lifelines, stack pack, window covers, shade canopy, propane system, rechristening and tons more. Scalding temperatures (it hit 100) and drenching humidity interrupted by historic rain. After over a year on the hard and 7 solid months of work, we launched July 1st. She's beautiful, functional, clean, fresh and comfortable. We're now lighter, simpler and more efficient. It was worth the work. If boat projects interest you, see video number 066 through 071 at https://goo.gl/eSwFu5
I've weathered enough hurricanes for now, thank you, so my aim was to get us to safety up to the Chesapeake for the season. The challenge in boating from near Jacksonville, FL to VA was waiting for weather windows between all the rain. The stuttering trip was wonderful, much more relaxed, being somewhat familiar with the areas, heading for our favorite places, knowing the weather, the approaches, the stores and the locals. We made new and renewed friendships with people and places. Especially Kenny & Rhonda in St. Mary's, Paul, Ann & Elliott in Dallas Bluff, Oriental, the Pungo, Richard and Brenda in Colington and Bob in Deltaville. If you'd like to see the journey see video 072 at https://goo.gl/eSwFu5 The plan was to explore the Chesapeake through October then head back to our home in Laguna Beach, CA. But we got an inquiry from France: Would we like to house swap from mid September through November (after the summer throngs are gone, and before winter) with the use of an apartment in Versailles (20 minutes by train to Paris), a cottage in the Loire Valley, and an old Mercedes? We'd be dumb to say no. So we hauled the boat early, just in time to miss Hurricane Florence. After a few days in the apartment in Versailles (Louis XIV's Palace), we're now in the UNESCO Loire Valley countryside. See https://goo.gl/maps/Q3rANPwAPEt We'll drift between the Loire and Paris for the next few months, exploring both.
Leigh has been called to do more plant medicine work in the Peruvian jungle which is the headwaters of the Amazon. She'll be there from mid November through December. I'll spend two weeks in the OBX https://goo.gl/maps/5LRVePkffS42 because I want to experience it in the raw deserted winter. Then a few weeks in Asheville, NC, getting acquainted with the scene there. Leigh and I will reconnect at 8,000 feet in Pisac, near Maccu Picchu, in Peru in January. This will be my first visit to Peru. We've rented a small village house there for two months. I'll connect with the locals and we'll do more exploring. Then back to Laguna in about March for a month or so to tend to our home. Then back to our boat patiently waiting for us on the Chesapeake in Deltaville, VA. Next spring we'll slowly wander our way up to Maine for the summer of 2019.
Concomitant with the hard work and varied surroundings, internal shifts are happening too. We've visited Manteo (Roanoke), Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown, etc. in the US. And now we're living in France where history is everywhere and everything. I'm getting an understanding, a richer feeling for the 1400s, 1500s, especially the 1600s, on up to today. Power, spirit, art, expression, control, protection, opportunity, nature, nurture. How we got here: What was. What is. What could be. (We visited a dermatologist near Paris for some minor attention and paid ~$75. The same thing in Jacksonville, FL cost way over $600 two years ago.) And where I want to be. Living for four months in New Zealand, then two months in Australia, and now almost three months in France is both enlightening and disheartening. It's getting clearer that if I don't want to be in the US, I don't have to.
I'm less inclined to incite people to experience what they consider challenging things (sailing, kite surfing, physical work, paragliding, hiking, traveling), to convince people that yes, they really can do it. Everyone has their own path, their own time and their own fears. I'm enjoying who I am more.
I'd love to hear from you. As always, let me know if you'd like to be removed from my list.
Brian & Leigh Jacobs
Hello my Friend!
I've been in Gold Coast, Australia for a few months in a home exchange, rejuvenating after 4 solid months of boat work. I slept for the first 4 days here. I didn't realize how hard I was working and how exhausted I was. Leigh was here with me for a few weeks then went back to Peru. We'll rejoin at the boat in St. Mary's, Georgia shortly. We hope to be afloat in about six weeks, sailing north towards the Chesapeake and beyond.
Of course we explored this small slice of Australia. We love it here! Here's a video. Caught up on computer projects, videos, writing, taxes, sailing route research and such. And now that some volatility has returned to the stock market, trading has become easier, safer and more profitable. I've been working out often, getting much stronger, helped substantially by a naturally ketogenic diet. I'm now 66.
October to January was a long run of hard work on the boat, dodging rain and freezing temperatures. Got a lot going on: the hulls are painted, the flooring is done, most of the interior is painted, the galley is nearly done. I've wanted to learn about fiberglass, boat paints, routers, so many different materials and new skills for a long time. That's happening and I feel more competent and confident (with the boat on the hard, at least). Eventually I'll post YouTube videos on the projects.
We've made some wonderful new boatyard friends. People who have a vision and work for 3 or 4 years to manifest it: buy a big catamaran, or a steel mono-hull, tear it apart, and rebuild it. These are massive projects, full of failure and frustration, exposed to the elements, endless problem solving, toxic chemicals, costing thousands, noise, mosquitoes and very physically demanding. Yet they (we!) persevere. I'm inspired being around, working with and learning from these committed people. There are also boatyard people who haven't accepted that they will never finish, will never sail again, who haven't moved on.
Boat yards are dangerous and alive places. A woman slipped off a wet stair, literally fell on her head and severely broke a wrist. I drove her to the ER. A few days later a guy fell hard off a tall ladder and broke a hip... ambulance... and a long, long recovery. In the boatyard we're all instantly connected by our mortality, the value of today, when someone is injured. I've had a few close calls, too.
There is a correlation between one's worldview and how much time a person has spent abroad. I've been to nearly 50 countries so here you have it with no apologies: Being spatially (9,000 miles) and temporally (16 hours) distant in Australia, keeping up on the news of mass murders, Trump, the GOP, etc. has given me a freshened perspective. Imagine (slowly, with a breath between each): a high standard of living, universal health care, no guns, zero mass murders since 1996, no TV ads for drugs, no TV ads for lawyers, roundabouts, no fear of being out alone at night, humane care for the destitute, no monster trucks, no death penalty, no homeless, no for profit prisons, 'least worst' prioritized voting, fines if you don't vote, no disenfranchisement of felons, few flags, few churches, low obesity, a large middle class, small income inequality and people calling you 'mate' and 'luv', All of that is everyday normal and ordinary here. I broke out laughing reading a headline “Men with a knife rob service station”. Seeing this, living here in Australia for a few months, living what IS possible on earth, and being from the US, is heartbreaking. The problems in the US are fixable... everything is... and I feel Trump is a godsend illuminating how sick things really are. So thank you Donald. We are now on full display, ready for healing.
Renting out our Laguna home the past few years was semi successful and had substantial tax consequences. There was scant interest in use of our home while we are away. The home exchange concept is working out great: we're hosting people from the US, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Australia and working on long stays in Vancouver, Santa Fe, Maui, and Asheville, etc. It looks like there will be more immersive travel in our future. We're connecting with people eager to share, to give and to receive.
I've worked on 'wealth consciousness' for years and I've finally seen an undeniable shift in myself. I am at ease writing this from a huge waterfront home with a pool, boat, Tesla, etc. The transformation in me has been slow and long in coming, but is completely palatable. And there is no holding on to it.
Several people at the boat yard mentioned recovery from late stage (prostate and pancreatic) cancer with diet. I was intrigued. Diet? Their living, breathing proof got me interested in the subject. They (unknown to each other) both referred me to the same book: Cancer as a Metabolic Disease. It seems very plausible, and dovetails with the current Ketones supplement fad. I've always preferred eating fats, avocados, nuts, vegetables and such. Lucky, eh? Fasting is also mentioned in the book. The reset that happens during fasting makes plenty of evolutionary sense to me: the stress of no food encourages jettisoning unproductive cells. Leigh and I tried a 5 day fast before she left for Peru. I was surprised that it was easy, refreshing and invigorating. Who knew? Maybe I'll do it annually.
Leigh is continuing her plant medicine work in Peru. She spent the last three weeks in the jungle (near Pucallpa) living in a thatched hut near a lake with rain, mud, insects scuttling around, monkeys, sloths, and leaf cutter ants. She is now in a mountain valley (near Calca) for another two weeks. I've done two plant medicine ceremonies and each was a major life event for me. Each ceremony took my trust, vulnerability, strength, courage and a lot of integration. Leigh is fully committed to doing her work, day after day after day. I'm in awe. Her transformations reliably bring me to tears. We're eager as puppies to be with each other again.
Leigh shared this quote with me: “Everything worthwhile in life is won through completing the associated negative experience. Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it, quash it or silence it only backfires. The avoidance of suffering IS suffering. The avoidance of struggle IS struggle... Pain is an inextricable thread in the fabric of life... if you’re able to not give a fuck about the pain, you become unstoppable." ~~ Mark Manson
I'm noticing how much time and how many opportunities I have. Like when walking or taking a shower or eating... most anytime. My body will move or clean or feed itself pretty much without my supervision. I don't need to be thinking about it. That gives me lots of time and opportunities to relax, to feel, to connect, to be grateful and to smile. I'm working to make it a habit.
There's lots of new autobiographical stuff on the website/blog and new YouTube videos, (the ignominious voyage from the Bahamas back to Georgia and our road trip from CA to NM) as well.
As always, you're invited. We'd love to hear from you.
Brian & Leigh