Sunday Salon: Maiden Voyage

Maiden Voyage

About once a year, I re-read the book Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi. I originally read it when it first came out, and I remember being curled up on the bed in my dorm room on a cold, grey, San Francisco morning, drinking hot tea and living vicariously on Aebi’s solo voyage around the world. At the time she made the voyage, she was just a couple of years older than I was. At the time I read it, I was the same age she was in the book.

It’s a cold, grey Texas Sunday, and even though I have a thousand things I should be doing, I can’t help but want to escape into this book. It’s technically a memoir, but it’s such a great story that it reads like a novel, and whenever I return to its pages, I’m also sailing along with Tania on her sailboat the Varuna with her cat Dinghy (and later Tarzoon), as she discovers life and love and learns about celestial navigation and engine maintenance.

I’ve made this journey many, many times with Tania over the last twenty or so years, and every time, I find something new in her story, or it evokes something new in my head.

And of course, with each reading, my fantasy of living aboard a sailboat for several months is rekindled.

Except, of course, that I don’t really want to live that basically. I mean, I am the woman who hates camping, and thinks “roughing it” is a hotel that doesn’t have room service or free wifi.

Even so, it’s nice to relive Tania’s Maiden Voyage from time to time.

Just as it’s nice to relive any favorite dream, and enjoy the wishing as much, or more, as you would the fact of what you’re wishing for.

Sunday Salon: Ship-shape

The Sunday

I realize that I’m actually writing this on Monday evening. I’m either slightly late for yesterday, or really early for the 30th, but either way I was mulling this over yesterday, but never manage to post it.

My reading this week has been a leisurely revisiting of one of my favorite books, Maiden Voyage, by Tania Aebi. It’s the memoir of the author’s two-year trip around the world as the solo handler of a sailboat. She wrote it twenty years ago, and I bought it when it was new, and have re-read it a few times, over the years.

I’m not sure why this book resonates so with me. Part of it, I think, is that I love the ocean in a way that most people who don’t sail rarely do. Part of it is that the romance of being alone on a sailboat in the middle of the ocean appeals – and the risk. Part of it is that I relish the coziness of a ship’s bunk with a small furry animal for company, and reading myself to sleep as the waves gently rock me.

There are, of course, moments I do not wish to experience, even vicariously. At one point, Aebi describes having an earache in the middle of the ocean, and how she heats a sock-full of salt and holds it against her ear. Another tale in the book is the relatively brief mention of a fellow sailor’s issue with a toothache, and how he basically gets drunk so he won’t care, since it’s not exactly like there are orange nj cosmetic dentists hanging in the tropics. Or if there are, they’re sailing, too, and not seeing patients.

Mostly, though, I recognize that I, who considers “roughing it” to be a hotel without room service or wifi, and who can’t even sit through movies where people are cold, wet, tired, hungry, dirty and lacking toilet paper, would probably not be happy for more than a day or two than the minimalist conditions Tania Aebi seemed to thrive upon, as much as I like to imagine I might.

For Tania Aebi, Maiden Voyage represents two years of her life, twenty years ago.

For me, it’s several hours of reading enjoyment and lovely dreams about sailing, which is, after all, what reading is all about.