Well, since I started working, the hectic pace of my professional life, and – of course – my personality, which tends to never put off till tomorrow what I can do today, prevented me from making time to take care of myself and practice my favorite sports : kitesurfing, surfing, diving. I was in a constant fight with myself to take some time off. And when I could, I would often finish my sports sessions with a bitter feeling of underachievement : months and years were passing by and I wasn’t getting better. I know I am certainly not a “natural” when it comes to water sports, but the more you practice, the better you get or, at least, you’re not getting worse !
The fast approach of my 40’s started to make me rethink things over. If I had to sum up my life, I would have said that on the professional side, I had succeeded, but on the personal side, it was a disaster. No serious relationship, a boyfriend making his way into my life while sailing on a round the world voyage, no kids, and friends whom I rarely saw because I valued more my job than good time with them… And working freelance meant being busy until late at night and most of the weekends.
Patrick, my then boyfriend, was my total opposite : he valued his private life over his professional one. He was constantly surrounded by friends, because as he told me one day, he was always willing to make time for them, and time was something he had. He spent hours kiting or surfing depending on the weather conditions. His entire life was about living his passions and being happy… Of course, not everything was idyllic in his life. Living like that also meant living out of society, with no health insurance nor regular income and accepting to be happy with very little. But he was content. If it had to eat white rice for a whole month because he was broke, that was fine for him. He only worked when he felt the need to or when necessity made law, and used his spare time for his own personal enjoyment.
Being close to such a different character was the wake-up call I needed to make a life change. Being in love with him helped quite a bit too… That is a feeling I have rarely experienced but when I do, I can move mountains. In this situation, he was there at the right time to help me overcome some hurdles : I was in love, I needed a life change, so I decided to drop everything and follow him on his boat.
Third scary moment : an anchorage right in the pass of Faaite(*), a pass well-known for its strong current, more powerful than in other atolls. Given the small size of Patrick’s sailboat, mooring(*) at the quay made for bigger boats was not an option, so we anchored to the only robust mooring located right in the pass. When it was time to go, Patrick thought it was a good idea to set free one of the two mooring lines without telling me. Unfortunately, as I reached the bow(*) to free us from the mooring, the wrong side of the boat nose began to be pushed by the strong current and the remaining rope, still tied to the deck(*), went under the hull making it tilting so far that I thought, for a second, that we were going to capsize. I do not remember how, but I luckily managed to set us free, allowing the boat to steady herself, pivot in the right direction and being guided by the water flow out of the pass.
PS : This story is real but names in the article have been changed to protect anonymity except prior express permission.