Story from the Fryderyk Chopin Adventure
Although the idea of sailing on a tall ship has struck me for long time, but it’d most likely never come to reality if I had not read ‘Where the Magic Happens’ by Caspar Craven. The moment I finished the book, I knew it would be done. I found a fresh courage and reinforced wisdom for the choice I must take.
Several months later, a tingling mixture of unknown, excitement and anticipation, all combined into something like joy, washed over me when I filled my application and click on ‘submit’ to join one of the Fryderyk Chopin’s voyages. I was going to drop into some other dimension of space and time. Rich experiences, this is what I signed up for.
For the moment, it was going to be the Mediterranean Sea. But who knows – maybe it’s just another milestone? Like all milestones, something to look forward to, but at the time, nothing more than a pretext for testing a new idea. How cool it would be to cross the Atlantic Ocean one day?
I embarked Fryderyk Chopin in Palma de Mallorca on October 16 2021. Around the noon the following day, powered by the engine, we left its anchorage at Caló d’en Rigo. There was not a breath of wind, the sea’s surface was flat and unbroken, and the sky was utterly cloudless. By five o’clock a gentle breeze started blowing, so we raised some of the sails. It was an incredibly feeling as we switched off the engine and felt the wind filling them, pushing us slowly along.
My first great sea voyage had officially begun.
Many people harbor a rosy image of sailing on a tall ship. They imagine it would be nice to spend time on the deck in a nice weather and be free from distractions of the modern world. It’s appealing. Yet, this myth quickly dispels the moment you board the ship. It turns out, it’s hard work but undeniably rewarding.
The tall ship brings together a physical struggle to match the breaking of the mind, particularly in someone like me, with no previous sailing experience. Night’s watchkeeping, miserable sleep, every muscle in the body being called into play, blisters forming on hands, aching shoulders, stomach going into a floating wobble, time and space losing relative sense, destabilized ego and security system. Although there were times where life drained out of me, and I was so tired that I could not even find the energy to swear, but all I can deduce is that it is worth trying.
Another reason of why I was there was to feel this mysterious brotherhood of a tall ship. Sailors are distinct community of friendly people, and the community of Fryderyk Chopin was a reach mixture of exceptional individuals from different backgrounds, representing a wide range of ages and life experiences. Singles, married, old, young, teenagers and so on. I think about how wonderful it was to be looked after and to look out for others, to share a beer and long sessions of story-telling and laugher about our adventure. We felt an immediate bond because of our experience.
I had virtually no experience of sailing when I started my voyage. But now, I feel accomplishment. We covered 269 nautical miles. Not bad for my first time. It took seven days, and besides Mallorca, we also stopped briefly on Ibiza.
Although I felt very small, a tiny speck in the surrounding blue vastness, the voyage was about introducing a simpler way of life. Fewer distractions gave a chance to recalibrate, to set attention on what I have and where I am – not on what I miss or don’t have. There were almost too many new experiences and much to incorporate: fear, pleasure, excitement, and joy.
It all became a nostalgic memory.
When I came back from my lonely around the world trip back than in 2011, I knew I would be able to face the rest of the world with confidence. This is not something to learn at schools, and my sailing adventure is just another experience that helps me build an exciting life.
As someone said…
‘Life is too short, too precious, not to live your dreams, and you are never too old to live them, either. Better to die with your memories than your dreams.’
Think about where you’d like to go, things you’d like to learn about, things you’d like to do. It’s remarkably easy to do things, and much more frightening to contemplate them. Once the decision is made, it’s easy.
To all the friends that I made along the way – Thank You!