2010-01 to 2010-04

2010-01-01 Dublin. Written by Mark
Phuuu another year over and a new one beginning. The last year was in many ways the best and most horrible one baked into the same. I met the fantastic Mary, realised I wasn’t happy with the direction of my life, broke up with Mary and spend the last 7 months in money saving misery (or rather Money Making Misery). 

Only 4 months left at work in Dublin now, then its back to Sweden for a month to get the boat ready and after that I will reset my life and see what my new life on the sea will be like. Oh I’m so nervous I forgotten some important detail or that I will be bored to tears or sick or storms or pirates or or or… There are so many things that can go wrong on a boat especially when both the skipper and mate are beginners. I think the first part of the sailing will be filled with near disasters and lots of embarrassing moments. It will be fun :)

2010-01-04 Dublin. Written by Mark

Today I will write a bit about me and Lena. So far you have probably figured out that we know each other and that we are sailing together but what is the connection between us? Lena and I lived together and had a relationship 2001-2004. We studied the same education in the same university, we hung out at the same clubs with the same friends and had a very social and great life together. We used to spend the rainy summers camped in the Swedish forest and living in medieval conditions. Lets me tell you a cotton tent in a rainstorm is like sitting in a shower with no dry towels. The amount of crazy things we did would be enough for several books and if I can ever remember one tenth of it I promise to NOT write about it here, I do have parent you know ;) Unknown people are still, 5 years later, coming up to me asking “Do you remember when you and Lena did this or that”. No I don’t remember because I was rather drunk and anyway that was during University so it doesn’t count! I digress…
So as you can see Lena and I have lots of experience of living together in varying conditions. I think it will still be a major challenge to stay friends but I think we are well equipped to meet it.

Mark and Lena at a Fancy Dress party 2003

2010-01-14 Stockholm. Written by Lena

We were sitting by the bar at Monks Cafe on Sveavägen, Stockholm. In front of us there was a mirror. There, staring back at ourselves, were two pairs of eyes. One belonging to a tall man in an elegant suit, athletic body despite graying hair, and a salesman posture. The other belonging to a blue-eyed woman with dyed black hair, with an eye-falling cleavage, and a very decisive body language. Both had dark beer in front of them. It was early spring 2009.

"Look at them", I said. "Look at those two. Here they are, two people, both living their lives and reaching far, but both misplaced and longing for something else. There they are, sitting next to each other, dreaming of something that is just within reach. It's up for the taking, and they just sit there".
The eyes glittered. We shook hands. We would call each other up the next day to clear out the details, and get started. I wanted to sail as soon as possible.

Three months, in fact. Three months was all that I could bear waiting. As soon as you make that decision, you burn all the bridges. It's like jumping of a cliff; there is no turning back. Inside your mind, you leave all you have behind, kill your darlings and set off. It's not hard to do all of that later on, when you have committed to the decision; the decision is the hardest part.

Mark called a day later and said that he was very sorry but he wouldn't go.

  He wanted to wait a year. Save money, be with his girlfriend, and wait. I was furious - hasn't he waited long enough? And what would I do now, when I let everything go? You cannot just get back on the train and continue living like you did before. I was pissed off, disillusioned, targetless and depressed. I refused to talk to Mark. Tried to get someone else to sail with, but it was impossible to find a person who could do. Everyone has a job or a family or an education to take care of, and if they don't then they are definitely no sail-round-the-world material, unfortunately.

That was the darkest hour. And yes, it always comes just before the dawn.

Lena as a pirate. A future career choice? Yarrrrrr, shiver me timbers!

2010-02-18 Stockholm. Written by Lena
Latest on Monday, I will make an appointment with my boss and quit my job. It's so surrealistic I just can't grasp it. Can you imagine yourself in my shoes? I bet you can't because it feels everything but the way it's supposed to feel. I'm nervous; quitting a job you like is like breaking up with a person that you have a relationship with and that is probably counting on continuing doing so. "It's not you, it's me..." Recognize that? It's not going to be easy.

And the Sunday after that, I will have a family dinner and drop the news to my parents. Actually, I wanted to do it as late as possible, preferably just a couple of weeks before departure, but I want to go live with the website and a Facebook group and everything as soon as possible, so I'm forced to tell them now.
So why am I reluctant? My parents have never approved of me doing crazy stuff. Even when I'm just travelling to another country, they would worry and question the necessity of the trip. Driving a car, being out in a pub late, even stuff like that can trigger anxiety. When I told them about me getting my first motorcycle, they basically had a funeral for me on the fly. I guess it's normal for parents to wish their children a quiet life, settling down with a good job, house, kids and growing old slowly and quietly.

Unluckily for them, I am not the kind of person who would be happy doing that. I am of course not so keen on making them disappointed, but on the other hand, you'd think they should be used to it by now.
I guess they are going to spend three months trying to talk me out of this, and I am so not looking forward to it. I recently gave my mother "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho, hoping she would understand the essence of being an adventurer and chasing your dreams, and would have some more insight and some less fear for this project, but I doubt that she has ever opened it.

A difficult time ahead - I know myself what I want, but it's always hard to disappoint people. Unfortunately, one cannot live to please everyone else; if you want to be happy then it's your own dreams that should be your major target.

Wish me luck.

2010-03-04 Stockholm. Written by Lena
Met up with Mark in the beginning of this week, got through some details on the trip, among all the route. We will be sailing from Norway to Inverness, through the North Sea which might be a bit shaky, which I do look much forward to. The circumnavigation is not your Sunday afternoon sailing with wining and basking in the sun; it will be a hard struggle sometimes and the earlier we get to experience some hard weather and get to flex our muscles a bit, the better.

Anyway, a sailing through Loch Ness lake will follow, which is very exciting - not only because of the extremely beautiful scenery, but also because I am going to fish for Nessie on all reels!

After Loch Ness, we will be sailing past the yummy islands of Jura and Islay, so all of you Single Malt lovers are welcome to come along - we can provide two places at the boat. We will go down to Spanish coast and then to Portugal.

2010-03-15 Stockholm. Written by Lena
For all of you who also have a craving of feeling the ocean wind in your face, but do not have a boat, or time to get out of your cozy house for a few years of rough sailing:

Here's a tip; Spastugan. It's a Swedish Spa boutique, that has a lot of stuff with sea salt, also a great deal of other feel-good treats, that we highly recommend.

OK, you yourself might already be spoilt - what do I know :)

But if you're about to attend some birthday party, wedding, celebrate the Mothers Day, or just give a gift to anyone who needs it - then why run around shops in endless choice angst, go spa-shopping instead! The best thing is that one tenth of all sales made through this link will go directly to Mare Liberum Crew, and we are in a great need of sponsorship - while you will indulge in luxury! Double win!

2010-03-24 Stockholm. Written by Lena
I'm walking to the parking lot. Just worked a full work day, received a defect code delivery trying frantically to get it to work before the tight deadline so that the new CRM solution can be integrated before summer vacation. That's probably going to mean overtime, the dedicated tester already working fifty-something hours a week.

The road is covered with wet snow, ice, and rainwater running down in small streams. The small sharp gravel is everywhere; it has been one snowy winter in Stockholm, and the roads need to be gravelled to make sure the traffic chaos is somewhat controlled. The gravel gets in my shoes and I have to take them off one by one and shake out the sharp pieces, balancing on one foot in the middle of the road. I've got summer shoes on; just got two small tatoos on my feet (a sailor superstition thing - a pig and a rooster) so I shouldn't cover them for another week. I am trying not to step into any deeper puddles, but fail miserably. My feet are freezing badly. It's March, and a couple of degrees above zero. Entering the car is as tempting as sitting down on your butt in a freezer.

And then it hits me... Only two months left. After that, this will stop.

No more cold. I hate cold. Just the fact that you come from Russia does not mean that you like cold.

No more work. I like my company and I like what I do, but no more work means something else. No more waking up in early morning, swearing bitterly at the alarm clock, snoozing painfully, and endless, endless traffic jams on the way to Kista (where you have time to put on make up, eat breakfast, listen to the morning news, drink coffee, update facebook status with an acid comment and probably read a book if you had one, before you even start passing the City), and no more time reports.

Not for a couple of years, at least.

Only sea, sun, and complete freedom to do whatever I want.
A summer that doesn't end until I want it to.

An adventure others just dream of.

A lifestyle where my route is dependend on myself, and the nature's way.
A job where all consequences are direct and straightforward to my own deeds.

A choice of my own.

2010-04-05 Dublin. Written by Mark
The first man to sail solo, non-stop around the world Robin Knox-Johnston starts of his book about the journey with a comment for about parents: “In many ways theirs was the most difficult task of all”.

Its easy to forget the people at home do the real work. If I worry about storms and pirates how must my father worry about me and my safety? It will be easy for me and Lena, we can affect our own destiny and we will know when we are safe and when we are not. However the folks back home can do very little to affect the outcome of any problem we suffer and maybe worst of all it will be hard for them to know if we are safe or not. Maybe my father won’t be able to sleep while he worry about killer storms while I have a beer on the beach in some tropical paradise. (Although the opposite might occur too ;) it doesn’t seem fair that he have to worry because I realize my dream of sailing but at the same time I have to be able to live my own life.

A tricky problem, do you have any advice on how to make the people at home worry less? Mail me on marklag@gmail.com

2010-04-30 Dublin. Written by Mark
Today is my last day at Salesforce. After 2 years and 3 months I’m now heading out into the great unknown. It‘s been an interesting time in many ways and I have met some of the most skilled and ambitious people ever. I wish all my colleagues a bright happy future and don’t loose sight of your goals!

Tomorrow is my last day in Ireland. I have lived here for 5 years and grown from a boy to a young man ;) If I had the chance I would do it all again, leaving Sweden and all my friends, the familiar culture and university and throw myself wholeheartedly into a new life and lifestyle that changed me and my perception of the world in significant ways. If I had stayed in the same town with the same friends and same job my whole life I’m sure I would have felt more at peace and maybe happier but I wouldn’t have know half the things I know now. We all do inner and outer journeys throughout our lives. We don’t have to travel to grow as persons but it seems to work for me. Yet another reason to go sailing!

This reminds me of the iconic Rocky theme song “Eye of the Tiger”. Where the refrain goes:
So many times, it happens too fast
You change your passion for glory
Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive