No, we’re not sailing yet.

It always feels a little odd when people ask when we are going to get out and really sail. For almost everyone, our floating life adventure started in August when we moved aboard, or maybe in April when Goblin first hit the water. They want to see me out there, sailing and traveling, and I love their enthusiasm but I don’t have the same level of impatience.

For me, this adventure started more than four years ago when Alex and I first began to dream of a different life. We had no boat, we had no real plan, but we had dreams. It was often frustrating, having this idea in the back of my head, to leave the land behind and live closer as a family, to do something different. It couldn’t happen right away for a variety of reasons but it wasn’t a dream I was willing to let go of.

How do you nurture a dream, especially when you know it’s not coming true any time soon? I fed my dreams in as many ways as I could.

First, I read every blog I could find about families cruising, or traveling families, or families planning to travel. I followed families through the Bahamas, Mexico, and across oceans. I smiled at their pictures and read through their struggles. When I felt a connection with a family or adventure I passed the links along to Alex so we could travel vicariously together.

Next came learning everything and anything I could, without a boat of my own. Both Alex and I took sailing classes in Boston Harbor. In part, we were looking to learn about sailing but we were also looking to be out on the water as much as possible. We borrowed books from the library, lost hours and hours to the depths of the internet and YouTube. Maybe I’ll never need to know how to pattern and sew a dingy cover, but I’ve seen it and I’m not afraid to try.

We made a few purchases. Cruising guides, life preservers, radios. Nothing huge, but things that we would really only need if we were sailing. Bringing something small and tangible into our life helped remind us that our dream would be a reality one day.

Sometimes, it was the little things that helped me hold onto my dream when it was so far away. I changed the homescreen picture on my phone to an image of Owen and Alex sailing Wren, the small boat Alex built. Each time I checked email or answered a call, there was my little reminder.

Maybe you want to sail, or travel the world, or change your job. Just start. Six months out or ten years out, just start dreaming. Feed your dream in whatever way you can. Let it grow and change. If you really want to, you can make it happen.

So yes, I so very, very excited about sailing and traveling this spring, but I’m also patient. This dream has been years in the making. A few more months is nothing.