They say the color blue is calming. That’s not the case when everything out here is some shade of blue. The water is a menacing dark blue and the sky caters itself to the time of day, constantly trying on a light blue and throwing it out for a cobalt. Ocean and sky is almost all I ever see.
The good old mom and pop thought it would be a splendid idea to leave our nice, suburban life behind and embark on a “life-changing journey that will give you something to talk about”. What caused this sudden decision? Maybe it was the layoff, or maybe it was grandma’s sudden decision to pay grandpa a visit (grandpa resides in the ocean in the form of dissolved ashes). Whatever the reason, it was enough for them to head out to the dock and lay down the big bucks for a used sailboat.
Next thing I knew, they had sold the house, packed only the necessary belongings, and sat me down in the car for a talk. “Honey, we know this is sudden, but we’re going to live on a boat.” My mind was in that state of confusion. Okay, today’s definitely not April 1st, and they look totally serious, I thought. They kept on talking, but the words just flowed through my right ear and out my left. A few minutes later, a middle-aged lady wearing loafers and a pink knit sweater walked up our driveway with a big smile plastered onto her face. Turns out, she came to pick up the car.
It took me weeks to get used to the seasickness, and it took my parents even longer. They didn’t care though, because they thought that anything would be better than living within the confines of society. Dad had a little bit of sailing experience, so mom and I both had to learn. We stuck near the coasts, pulling into the docks once in a while to get some food and supplies. From Florida, we traveled to the coasts of Central and South America. My skin, once a fair peach color, decided to make a change and brown like pastry covered in egg wash.
We didn’t become hippies or anything. I still kept up with school through online courses. Mom and dad found ways to make some money here and there. We still kept in contact with friends and family, but talking on the phone is different from seeing them in person. The natives that we made friends with were nice, but they spoke very little English, if any, and we spoke only English. I was lonely, and the only things to keep me company were the birds and the fish. I was tired of mom and dad.
Not everything was bad, though. The sunrises and the sunsets are that much better, and the open expanse of blue gives you this feeling of utter unimportance. Back home, the expectations crushed people. We were all so enveloped in our own problems and desires. Out here, nothing matters except for surviving. It’s as simple as that.
This story is based on a recent article about a boat family who received a lot of criticism for the way they were raising their children.
Words by Sophia Wu, picture by internet, editing by Mike and Sarah