Dreaming with your partner is important. It makes you grow together, indicates you have a future and gives you endless fodder to talk about and structure activities around.
My partner Hass and I had the dream to live on a boat and travel the world. And everything just seemed to have lined up for that dream. We are tired of moving house, but not tired of travel – so we should move with your house. We love the sea and would love to get to know remote places in the world. We figured we could do with being less materialistic and we could try to change so we are a force for good in the world by helping out forgotten communities. Sundowners and sunset, figuring out engines and working hard on your home all just sounded perfect to us. And we both love the sea in different ways.
We had that dream for the better part of 4 years. Every step was taken with the consequences for the dream in mind. We took trips to boat shows, set money aside for a course, scanned our paperwork and photos and started slimming down our possessions to fit in the confined living space of a boat. Every conversation included us imagining how we solve that situation if it would be occurring on the boat and how it might change us for the better to live with less. We read, watched and researched almost everything that had to do with boats, the lifestyle and the places we could see and we smiled when friends and family made big eyes at us for dreaming such a strange dream.
It gave us purpose, direction and made us grow closer through a shared connection.
Finally, the day came when we could take the first concrete step towards the fulfilment of 4 years of planning. We thought we had the least rose-tinted glasses on, that was possible. After all, we know boat life is hard work and being uncomfortable at times and I prepared myself for being seasick and pushing through it.
So: on we went. Hoist the anchor and set sail for a new chapter of our lives to begin!
I loved it. The seasickness under control with seasickness pills and ginger kombucha I found my sea legs step by step, piloted the vessel, loved the sway of the boat, the wildlife and held my nose in the wind.
He hated it. Whilst I had the biggest grin on my face, Hass turned grey with the choppy confused seas and was not able to get excited about the wildlife. He liked the bits in between well enough and he didn’t get seasick as I did, but he hated every movement the boat made when there actually was enough wind to sail. He hated being cold and uncomfortable and couldn’t wait to get off the vessel on the other side in Tavira.
It was a blow for both of us. We had a few moments where we looked at each other, realising how different this experience is for both of us and also what that meant for our dream.
Our entire lives we’ve been told to “chase your dreams,” “achieve your goals,” and “never give up!” But what happens when the things you dream of suddenly fall short? You figure out it’s not the right path after all? And your partner feels vastly different about the shared dream now than you do? It feels like something inside you is dying and something actually does: your shared dream.
However it happens, if you have been chasing a dream as long as we have, you will feel desperate and lost and a little insecure about your relationship. Replacing your dream right away feels wrong too. But what can you do? How to move on from here? And what are you to do if one loves it and the other one hates it?
As Hass jumped off the boat, we had a night together at home. We needed to make sense of the new situation and what that would mean for us as a couple. We talked before about the possibility of me not making it because of the seasickness, but in no universe of ours was the possibility that Hass might not want to choose this lifestyle.
We decided to not force anything at that moment and to let me go back to finishing the week of sailing. I wanted to, but I hated the idea of leaving him alone with all the emotions, decisions and grief not admitting to myself, that I was before some of my own decisions that might be very emotional. The next morning, with my bags packed and Hass coming back from grocery shopping with provisions for me and the captain, I felt strange. As the weight of the universe is on my shoulders and anything I say or do will change my entire life that day. I felt I might come home and have lost that wonderful man before me. On the uber ride to the boat, I already figured for myself, that losing our dream doesn’t change anything about how I feel for Hass and that I will enjoy this experience, but I want to find another common dream with him rather than pursuing the dream without him. I just hoped he would come to the same conclusion.
It was a long and emotional week. Hass and I had contact, but in bursts, as coastline allowed me to connect to the network. Every moment on the boat however, just confirmed the choice I made in that Uber. I missed him. I missed pointing out wildlife to him, joke with him, commiserate about the cold and be stroked as I finally succumbed to the seasickness. It showed me, that our relationship is so much more than a shared dream and though I did grieve for this one dying, I looked forward to finding a new one after a period of just being together.
I was more than overjoyed that Hass took busses, rideshares and I feel he would have braved the walk to Mordor just to welcome me in his arms back in Gibraltar. That nagging worry of what if he doesn’t choose me was defeated.
For now, we are looking forward to our new chapter in Malta and Hass already started developing a new dream in which he gets alcohol and I get bees and we will be creating a most wondrous, strange but most of all loving life for us. It might not come to be, it might change or fall apart, but that doesn’t matter. We are both dreamers and we have enough imagination to last us a lifetime.