Getting back to work is an individual process
When it comes to the topic of “We’ll take a break”, there is one aspect of potential dropouts that is particularly important. And that is the return to everyday life after returning. As different as the people and their life situations are, the individual re-entry will be just as different.
We managed to get back to work after the trip, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It depends on many different factors how the time afterwards is felt and how life is perhaps rearranged. For example, we know the stories of several married couples we met during our trip and who separated after returning to Germany.
The start is the basis for the return
I am sure that in addition to determination and technical understanding, there is a very important prerequisite for having a happy time on the road – namely to start from a full and satisfied life. Then the course is set for a good return to work.
There is no such thing as a break and a return to everyday life with “fully comprehensive insurance”. It is probably precisely this risk, this uncertainty, that ultimately prevents many people from putting long-cherished travel plans into practice.
“Have you settled in again? What is it like to get used to everyday life again after such a long and wonderful time? ”These are the questions we were asked most frequently after our return. And during our trip I also asked a seasoned salt hump that we met on the way and that has already been through that about returning to everyday life. “Difficult, very difficult.” He said nothing more when I asked him about it over a sundowner in our cockpit on Lanzarote. Not really a surprising answer, and yet I would have preferred to have heard something different, more encouraging, more confident.
How did we experience our own re-entry?
My own answer is a little different: It wasn’t easy, but not that bad. We came back tanned, full of positive impressions and with great zest for action. In our luggage we had an incredible number of wonderful memories that no one could take away from us and that we will live on for a lifetime.
We made many new acquaintances, some of them turned into friendship. We experienced magical nights on the Atlantic, visited places whose names we had never heard before. Now we finally saw our family and friends again and full of enthusiasm we went to the tasks that were waiting for us on land. There were seasons again, the people around us spoke our language and we could buy red grits in the supermarket around the corner, which I had missed for so long on our trip.
It was nice to stroll through the Freimarkt in Bremen in October, to enjoy “ice cream like cream” and to smell the smell of roasted almonds. But rustling autumn leaves and days that were gray and rainy, heated rooms and overcrowded buses were part of our everyday life again. So it was quite normal that we actively participated in the first cold wave of autumn.
Of course, a lot has changed in our hometown while we were on a sailing trip. However, these changes have had a positive effect on our return to work. That was not a matter of course, especially for Ingo. His company did not want to give him leave of absence and so after more than two decades with the company, he only had to resign.
On our trip we met sailors who were drawing a pension or who have taken early retirement, who have been able to take a leave of absence or who have leased or sold their business. But we haven’t met anyone in our early 50s who quit their well-paid, secure job. Resigning was a tough, difficult step for Ingo that was not easy for him. To muster up this courage and to trust in your own abilities, the future and a successful re-entry, that was one of the greatest challenges of this trip – yes, it actually made the trip possible in the first place.
After returning home, Ingo was looking for work for three months. On the contrary: During the voyage, especially as a skipper, he had to face a variety of physical and psychological challenges. He accepted and mastered this, so that he returned “wide awake” and with great vigor. Among other things, he had applied to his old company and was hired again.
I returned to my authority on schedule, but had to change jobs and was given a new area of responsibility. New colleagues, new requirements and work processes came up to me. I faced it with interest and energy and I feel very comfortable there.
Our grown sons kept the house and garden in very good condition during our absence. The two got together and had a good time with their two-person flat share, with everything that goes with it – one or the other party too, of course. Our youngest has successfully completed his professional training during our absence. In this respect, too, everything went well, even though mom and dad weren’t home. Shortly after our return, the two of them (then 24 and 22 years old) rented an apartment together and founded a student flat share. We still have a trusting, close relationship with our children and enjoy spending time together. We don’t take this for granted and are grateful that it is.
In the hectic everyday life, we like to remember the extraordinary time on board. As wonderful as it was to see family and friends again, we miss the sun, the warm turquoise water and the daily laps that we swam around the AMAZONE. Of course, we also lack a self-determined life in harmony with nature. With the countless great experiences and wonderful impressions “in the bag”, the return to work was easy to manage. We had mastered the various challenges and came back strengthened with an open mind and physical and mental vitality. The diverse and beautiful memories do not sit like a thorn in the flesh, but they inspire us to survive everyday life on land. Every now and then I dream of being back on board, sitting at the tiller, feeling the wind in my hair, the salt on my skin and steering the AMAZONE with full sails through the foaming sea and the dolphins that accompany us seem to be smiling at us – that’s life!
And what became of the ship?
And our companion, the AMAZONE, how has it fared? We gradually freed them from their excess weight and took a few truckloads of equipment off board. Sentimental mood arose when the coconut, which had been on board since Tobago, and our beloved Caribbean guide disembarked with many other things that have accumulated during the trip.
Centimeter by centimeter our AMAZONE came out of the water. We were amazed that it had retained its good sailing characteristics despite the enormous load. 12,000 nautical miles and 800 engine hours have left their mark, which is not particularly surprising. We lived on and with the AMAZONE for 14 months, it was not brought ashore during the voyage, we spent every night on board.
After our return at the beginning of August, we only got one more time to sail with her. Ingo’s training simply didn’t allow time to be on the road with her. In autumn she came ashore to her winter storage space. There was a lot of overhaul work to be done, we had to invest a lot of time and money to get it back to a high gloss.
Conclusion on returning to everyday life
In fact, our return to work was somewhere in between – between “very difficult” and “very nice to be home again”. But we had to take this risk that the re-entry could be tough or maybe even fail. The alternative would have been not to drive off at all. That was out of the question for us.
We do not regret having embarked on the adventure of a break. On the contrary, we had the best time of our lives. We feel deeply grateful that we were allowed to live our big dream and not just dreaming. And yes, we want to sail again. As soon as we got back, we were already making travel plans again. The long-distance virus has grabbed us!