Gratitude Day 2022


I recently read in “Trois amis en quête de sagesse” (“Three friends in their quest to wisdom”) that when you hold a piece of paper, you have no less than thirty-five countries to thank for their contribution to its existence.

Likewise, when I am sitting on Obelix above kilometres of water, filling my lungs with the purest of air, listening to the (sometimes not so) gentle sound of the waves caressing the hull, witnessing a sunrise, sunset, or a mundane episode of family life aboard, I cannot help but feel grateful for all the contributors who have made this trip possible.

From the making of the boat itself, I’m sure I could list more than thirty-five countries to design, build it, and source its difference parts. And then come all those who’ve helped turn Obelix into the boat it is today and encouraged us to pursue the dream and turn it to reality.

It all started with our parents who raised us, provided us a good education and nurtured our free spirit, giving us the keys to land decent jobs, save money and carve a path of our own. And our brothers and sisters who supported us in our project too, not resenting us (too much) for having relocated so far away for so long, depriving them of the company of their children, brother, sister, grand-children, and nephews. We miss you. One day we’ll make up for it.

Thanks also go to:

My grand-parents, uncle Denis, and aunts Elisabeth and Francoise who spent time abroad before me, arousing my curiosity and growing my appetite for international travels.

Frederique, my dance teacher and guru, who planted the seed of finding solace on the water, with her tales of France Guillain who raised her three daughters on boats.

Camille, my childhood friend with whom we spent countless afternoons dreaming about far away adventures.

Ariane, my boarding school roommate, for spending our first night together telling me all about her trip around the world with her parents, renewing my desire to one day follow her path.

Thomas for believing we could sail across oceans together despite all my flaws, as well as understanding that I regularly have to dance my socks off to relieve the stress and tension of everyday life (even on the water).

Zephyr and Azur who didn’t emit any reluctance to cast the lines (even though Azur later admitted that the saddest day of his life was his last day at Bayswater school where he said goodbye to all his friends; and the fact that they regularly ask to spend more time in one place). These little fellows never cease to impress me for the creativity and panache with which they embrace this lifestyle.

Chris W. for checking up on me one day, asking if I was happy. Surely a prompt to shake things up a little and dig for what really mattered to me.

Naomi for inviting me to a self-led coaching session on our impossible dreams, a catalyst which highlighted the priority of this project over all others and made me start the process of realising it. And for the organisation and execution of a proper blessing ceremony for Obelix freshly relocated to Bayswater. (read Happy B-day Obelix!)

Marion for asking once “when will you stop looking and start buying a boat?”, a much needed reality check. And for showing up at a last minute request to tidy up the boat after the refit project which had turned it into a war zone, and there again to help with the last coat of antifouling. (read Obelix facelift)

Ines for the selfless offer to stay at her place while Obelix was getting fixed the time I put it on the rocks and the countless teas I invited myself to drink at her place after that to stop for a chat. (read Scrapes, scratches and silver lining).

My wonder women friends who trusted me for a day of skippering Obelix to build confidence and prove to myself I knew my way around the boat in case something happened to Thomas (read Obelix and the Wonder Women).

Max, the Classic French Man, for all his help around the boat, friendship, and having Thomas graduate as Boat Nigger level 1 during our latest deck refit project. (read Obelix facelift)

Jean-Francois for his craftsmanship and immaculate job on the sails and lazybag, who deserves part of the credit for Obelix’ overall performance.

Gaspar for fervently adding comments to my posts, it matters and warms my heart to feel the connection with close friends even oceans apart.

Julie, my dear yoga teacher for her gentle and caring guidance, and fostering my sense of balance, strength and perseverance.

More broadly, all those around us who question life and dare to venture off the beaten track for showing us that another way is possible and that we didn’t have to accept the comfortable one-size-fits-all happiness package marketed to us.

My sailing friends for encouraging me through moments of doubt and never looking down on me from their thousands of miles’ experience. They continue to provide valuable advice when we start a crossing without carefully thinking it through. (read Vanuatu to Torres Strait)

Thanks to technology too which enables satellite communication at a reasonable cost, allowing us to receive these pieces of advice but also jokes and charades to lift our spirits during long passages.

My former employers Terry, Paul, Cyrus and Jared who all let me work a 4-day week allocating the fifth to my personal projects, and how many Fridays have been spent prospecting, sanding, painting, or learning the ropes…

My dance partners, who are not merely instruments of stress relief but special people with whom life is fun and my sense of aliveness is amplified.

Melissa, who offered Thomas Corto Maltese’ recipe book fifteen years ago, which we consult regularly to cook the different fishes we catch. And my brothers who gave me the “Je choisis les protéines végétales !” (“I chose plant proteins!”), another bible we refer to when fish elude us.

All the musicians providing the soundtrack to our adventures, some of whom we know personally (Chris, Jennifer, Max, Tui), making Zephyr hum “I’m a dreamer”, and both our kids ask, whenever we listen to music, if the singers are friends of ours, delightful. God knows it is reassuring to listen to familiar voices when in the middle of the ocean trying to achieve something credible for once.

And finally, thanks even to those who frowned upon the idea of this project dismissing it as insane or as a dream which would never eventuate, I think they strengthened my resolve to make it come true.

Wisdom is to have dreams big enough not to lose sight when we pursue them.

Oscar Wilde

4 thoughts on “Gratitude Day 2022

  1. Thank you, Merci, khoob-khun ka (from our recent travels) Your gratitude compels me to express my gratitude to you, Salome, for your stories I have followed over the last few months, and years. I am inspired and enthralled and happy when I read your posts.


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