Looking Forward: Looking Back

It might seem like I am a little late to the party with this one, I mean aren’t you supposed to reflect about the previous year as soon as the new year dawns? The thing is I have never been very good at following trends. I don’t necessarily think that I march to the beat of a different drum, we hear the same music it’s just that most times I feel like I fit in at the Ministry of Silly Walk, not in the Army.

2018 was a hard year.

I mean this both literally and figuratively. First, we spent many more months than planned or expected in the boatyard, otherwise commonly referred to as “on the hard.” We did well to adjust to the uneasy life of a boat out of water and took all the interruptions and delays with more patience and equanimity than, at times, I thought possible. But that doesn’t mean it was simple, or comfortable or easy. All the same our hard work and perseverance paid off and, after putting her through the paces, I am happy to report that we can now motor comfortably, and at a not embarrassing speed.

On a personal level 2018 was a bit of a rollercoaster ride as well. At the beginning of the year I struggled with injury, an old foot problem and knee injury both hampering my mobility for several weeks. Then our schedule was thrown out of wack by unexpected, but much appreciated, work commitments. When we were finally in the water we had to wait out a typhoon, and then seek shelter from another. It constantly felt like just when we were finding our rhythm we had to change gears and find a new one.

Last year, instead of making resolutions, we adopted a slogan.

In 2018 we both agreed that “Less is More” reflected the direction we were moving in. We both spent the year mindfully letting go of things; thinning out our wardrobes, cleaning out storage compartments full of unused parts and tools, emptying galley cupboards of under used dishes. Anything that could be passed along to someone who could use it was. Things that we decided to keep were thoughtfully repurposed, like the white bedsheets that I dyed with tea. I made a commitment to use what food stuffs we had onboard before we stocked up again. We both agreed that presents would only be given if the item was really needed. By the time Christmas rolled around neither of us felt disappointed that there were only a few things under the tree.

By keeping “Less is More” in mind throughout the year it feels like we were able to achieve more than if we had made specific resolutions. So, we decided to use the same approach this year. After batting around a few ideas we agreed that the phrase “Small Actions, Big Results” fit our vision for 2019.

We are only three weeks into January, but I can already feel myself leaning on this new idea. Last year we worked hard to lower our impact on the planet, reducing our single-use plastics, our food waste and our consumerism. This year I am committed to continuing that mission, making even more small but sustainable choices. I am already experimenting with several non-toxic DIY solutions for items I cannot buy locally– air freshener for the head, wood conditioner for the galley, low impact liquid soap and a natural bug repellant that works. When I work all the kinks out I will be sure to share them with you.

While trying to find an entry point for writing this blog post I reread some of last years posts. When I stumbled across my feelings of disconnect when we are “connected” I decided I am not really over those sentiments. My solution? Take a social media break. It only took a small tap to remove Instragram from my phone (Facebook went many, many moons ago) but it feels like a big ripple in my everyday routine. And one that I am enjoying.  

I am excited to see how “Small Actions, Big Results” continues to shape our year.



7 Comments Add yours

  1. Jenny Hartman says:

    Lovely blog Heather. I like the sentiment. I used to like “less is more” on heavy racing days. I look forward to reading about your experiments with insect repellent, head deodoriser, timber conditioner. We head off on to Turkey on Friday for the survey of a Jeannaeu DS 44, we have put a deposit on! Your sentiments reinforce some of the things I was thinking about in terms of outfitting her.

    1. Heather Francis says:

      Jenny, Such an exciting time!!! And kinda jealous about Turkey, I hear it is beautiful, although maybe a bit of a temp shock for you at the moment. Please let us know how it all goes, best of luck and safe sailing! H

  2. Bruce&Anne Stewart says:

    Good luck you two. Hoping 2019 is good to you.

    1. Heather Francis says:

      Thank you, and all the best to the both of you for 2019 as well!

  3. Laura Masterson says:

    Heather, I LOVE this post! I feel like you are singin’ my song! After spending 2018 in the boatyard and destroying our cruising kitty (and there is no other kitty!) I am hoping to get my sailing mojo back in 2019 and fully enjoy a less-is-more life.

    1. Heather Francis says:


      So great to hear from you!! Hope everything worked out with the new engine, we are heading that way, albeit slowly, perhaps we’ll get to share a cold one again soon. Let us know when you’re on your way, or just enjoying a quiet anchorage!! All the best for 2019!

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