Waves gently lapping against the hull of the boat, slowly rocking you into a deep sleep. Waking up as the sun rises, grinding your morning coffee by hand, and taking a dip in the water while you wait for your stovetop espresso to pour over. Sailing has taught me many things in life. One of those things, and arguably the most important, is the realization that I don’t need much in order to be happy.

In fact, life is made sweeter by the simplest of things. We as humans tend to overcomplicate everything. You don’t need a reservation at that upscale restaurant. Sailing to a new town, visiting the local supermarket, and gathering your own supplies to cook dinner under a blanket of stars proves more fulfilling. When it comes time to wash away the remnants of days spent at sail, oceans and lakes bathe you better than a showerhead ever could.

Sailing allows you to explore the less-beaten path. You now have the ability to visit places you could’ve never reached by car or foot. The world feels like a playground more than it ever has, and your boat provides you with the gift of allowing you to make a temporary home wherever you wish. As the sun gets sleepy and begins to sink behind the mountains, you’re reminded that you also need to find a place to rest your head. Time escapes you when you’re disconnected.

Every summer I spend as much time on the water as I can, going away for weeks at a time. On this particular late August night, hours were spent scanning the shore for the perfect place to anchor. We said our goodbyes to the sun long ago, and the moon accompanied us for the rest of our journey. Through our binoculars we spotted a secluded bay nestled away from the wind, dense tree and bush surrounding a long stretch of beach. We didn’t waste any time getting the anchor dropped, and once we did, we rowed our dinghy straight to shore.

We took a moment to sit on the beach in silence, focusing our attention on the way the moon kissed the top of the water. The night was warm so we decided to make our way into the shallow water, splashing around in the phosphorescence. Soon after, we looked up to see that the sky was mimicking us… fireflies darted back and forth above our heads. We sat ourselves down in the water, unknowingly preparing ourselves for the grand finale. Right on cue, a colony of bats swarmed the sky, trailing each firefly’s every move. Nature was putting on a show for us, and in respect we didn’t move a muscle until the bats grew tired and returned into the darkness. Content, we rowed back to our boat and spent the rest of the night playing cards by candlelight.

I live for these moments, even though others may view them as insignificant. Sailing is no longer a hobby—it’s become something much more. The sea is where I go to self-reflect, where I go to learn about myself and the world. As Felix Riesenberg once said, “No literature is richer than that of the sea. No story is more enthralling, no tradition is more secure.”

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