Your First Tiniest Steps

Hi Amazing Peeps,

Here I am in the early hours of the morning sitting, once again in the cockpit of Sumbawa. I couldn’t sleep.

I am listening to the waves splash against the beach; the light breeze on my face and watching the reflections of the lights bounce over the water.

It is Wonderfully peaceful.

So as I sit here, I will tell you more of our story. I know that the first half was not uplifting. I wanted to show you that we weren’t always here, in this mindset, in this life. We have had to grow and learn.

I also want to let you in on the first tiniest steps we took to start Living Our Dream.

Steve and I sat down the next evening and what I discovered shocked me. He felt as trapped as I did. We were both drowning in this life that we thought that we’d love.

Then Steve did something Amazing. He said, let’s do it.

This man who had always been so afraid was ready to give it all up for this insane dream. But where do we start?

We decided on selling whatever we could, even the things we thought that we would never part with.

This was our first tiny step.

We sold old cars, car parts, household furniture, whatever we could think of. Somethings we donated others we just threw out. It wasn’t worth the hassle.

It was all going great, then I got pregnant with Zeinobiyah.

I was determined that it wouldn’t make a difference and at the start, it didn’t seem to. But as the pregnancy progressed, we started to feel the effects.

Then came the setbacks.

We would have got some money set aside, then the car needs a new alternator or we need to replace some batteries for the solar. Things just popped up, as they do. We would watch our small savings dwindling quickly back to very little again.

We would get disheartened……again.

To change it up, at 36 weeks pregnant, I went on my first sail. It was amazing and terrifying all at the same time. I never realized how far a boat could heel over and moving to the high side quickly, wasn’t happening. Boy was it fun though.

When I was 38 weeks pregnant, Steve took his first sailing lessons. They were fun and fast but just ok. He then took some proper ‘Stay on the boat’ lessons.

These were Incredible! He sailed with calm weather out into the Southern Ocean, seeing whales in the distance and stopping in beautiful places for dinner.

Then they night sailed for a while until they found an anchorage off Bruny Island, Tasmania.

In the morning, Steve went up on deck to see a Spectacular site. Water like silk and still as glass. Bruny Island reflecting its majesty on the water. Beautiful sunshine and a warm breeze while birds sung in the distance.

It was Paradise!

That place, those sounds, the sights and the feel made him scream out ‘WE HAVE TO DO THIS!.’

I’m glad he saw that first because by the afternoon, they were battling 40 knot winds, big seas, crawling along the deck to be tethered to the mast just to bring down the sails. It was full on. It didn’t dampen his enthusiasm though.

That was our second tiny step – try it out.

Our first tiny step cost us nothing and we gained money by selling our stuff. Our second tiny step did cost money – which hurt but also paid off in the long term. It was an investment.

Then in May 2016, Zeinobiyah was born. She weighed 11lbs 5 oz (I think that’s about 5.2kg). She was huge. That is when I vowed NO MORE! HAHAHA yeh that was successful!

I couldn’t think much about a boat but it was still very much in Steve’s mind. He was more desperate than ever to get unstuck. The search for a boat was relentless, almost obsessive but it paid off.

When Zeinobiyah was 2 weeks old, Steve found the ad for Sumbawa. She was at auction.

That was our 3rd step – look, look, look.

We know that looking at things that aren’t in your budget can be very hard. Look anyway. Find out what you like. Also look at the junkers, the ones no one wants to touch. You wont earn money from them but it will teach you a tonne.

There were only pictures of Sumbawa’s outside, nothing of down below. Steve was nervous.

Steve showed me, we talked about it and then we thought. The auction was closing in 2 weeks so we needed to make a decision.

A week before the auction ended, we bought Steve a plane ticket to fly up to Sydney and look at her. His flight was for only 2 days before the auction ended because we couldn’t afford for more accommodation than that.

He flew up to Sydney, 2 days before Zeinobiyah turned 1 month old.

It was too late to go and look at Sumbawa now. He would go tomorrow.

The next day, he tried to get in touch with the “guy” but he couldn’t. He even went down to where it was advertised that Sumbawa was moored but no one was there.

So with only 1 day to go before the auction closed, Steve still hadn’t looked at Sumbawa.

So on the day the auction ended, Steve took a look.

I want you to stop here and imagine for me, that you are on a boat. You walk on deck and she looks Amazing! You can see yourself laying in a hammock, drink a good drink in the wonderful evening air while listening to the soft splashes of the waves on the hull.

You walk inside and you catch your breath. It is Beautiful! You see yourself living here. It is large yet cosy. It is so comfortable. As you sit down, to can hear those gentle splashes and they are so soothing to you. You feel yourself sink down into the seat, realizing that you are home.

You feel Magical.

When Steve walked aboard Sumbawa, it was THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE TO ALL OF THAT!

Well maybe the catching of his breath because she needed SO much work doing to her.

She had been abandoned for so long, she was a mess. There was only one usable cabin as all the rest were full of junk. Fresh water had got inside and she had rotting timber. She had no motor. It was just a mess.

The “guy” left Steve there with a dinghy and Steve took his time. He didn’t just want to yell “RUN AWAY”, he wanted to see if we could do it.

Could we make her livable again?

He called me and we spent about an hour and a half on the phone.  He talked me through her. How she looked, what needed to be done.

Steve is great at picking what can be done. He also knows when it is too much. So as he was there, looking at her, I left the final say in his hands. I knew that whether I liked it or not, he would make the right one.

He went back to his hotel with a heavy decision to make. We had only a few hours to come to one. Spend everything that we have saved, on a run down boat and do her up or wait for something better.

We discussed and discussed until we were going round in circles. If we waited, he would come home, we would continue to sell stuff and just see what pops up.

If we got it then most of our savings are gone but we have a boat. Steve would live on it and then sail it down in 4-6 weeks.

Imagine for moment, that you are standing, looking across a bridge. You know how to cross it because you have read about it. You have watched videos on how people cross bridges. You have even taken courses on bridge crossing.

You know what to do.

Yet you stand there, too afraid to cross. You fear what is on the other side. You have never been there, what if you don’t like it? What if you fall off half way across? WHAT IF THE BRIDGE COLLAPSES! You are paralyzed with fear.

But it looks wonderful over there.

Then you see something across the bridge. It is Beautiful! You realize, it is your Dream. It is calling you. You go to move but then again, Fear grabs you. It is whispering in your ear, filling you with lies.

You have two choices now. Listen to fear, stay exactly where you are, looking at your Dream or

Cross the bridge anyway knowing that you are reuniting with your Dream and you will never be the same.

We chose to put our hands over our ears, run full speed across the bridge, screaming “WHAT THE HELL ARE WE DOING?!” It was Fun.

Crossing the Ravine.

We put the bid in and we won. There was elation – we own a boat. We were so excited. We had crossed our bridge.

This was quickly followed by “Holy Crap! We just bought a boat!”

Steve moved straight onto Sumbawa and started work on her. I was at home with the 10 kids, selling whatever I could.

It was hard being separated but it is only for 4 – 6 weeks right. With our Amazing kids, that time will fly.

Well 4 – 6 weeks turned into 2 months, then 3 months, then 4, 5 and at 5 and a half months, we broke.

Steve couldn’t stand being away anymore and I couldn’t stand him being away. Even with the short visits home, it was not enough. I needed my Husband, the kids needed their Dad and Steve needed his family.

Not only had we dumped over 5 times what we paid for Sumbawa into her, Steve had solo sailed in ferocious weather, being rescued twice, basically rebuilt the motor and then sailed her to Eden; this boat was now tearing our family apart. That was too big of a price.

So on Friday December 2nd, 2016 I purchased tickets for the Spirit of Tasmania.  The tickets were for the next day.  I gave away our dog, a beautiful German Shepherd named Conan, put the last of our stuff in storage and packed the car.  Steve was excited so excited to see us again.

At 12.00am I went to bed and was up again at 2am.  The kids had breakfast, we packed the last of the bedding, checked everything over and got in the car.  At 2.50am we left.

It would take us 4 hours to get from our house to Devonport where the Spirit of Tasmania left for Melbourne. It was a day sailing so we would be in Melbourne by 6pm that night.

I felt alive for the first time in a while.  I felt as though I was starting my dream.  I felt as though I could breathe.  So I was terrified to miss this boat.

We made it to Devenport just before 7am.  We went to the shops and found that it was still closed.  We had to wait till 7 to get in.  We bought a bunch of food, did a last minute toilet trip, I got my second coffee for the morning and we headed back to the Ferry Terminal.

We got on and the Ferry left Tasmania at 8.30am.  We were off.  Our dream had officially begun.

I had no idea what to expect once we got to Melbourne.  I just knew that I would get there at 6pm, drive for as long as I could towards Eden, sleep in the car with all the kids and then continue in the morning. It turned out to be even better.

We arrived in Melbourne at 6pm as planned. We were all bouncing out of our skin.  The kids had just done their first ever huge trip and were excited about the more to come.  I think they were more excited to see Dad though.

I had to wait inline for our gas bottle, when from over the fence popped a head.  The kids were screaming, yelling and pointing.  They just kept going.  I was sure something was terribly wrong.  I went back to them to find that they were yelling “DAD! THERE’S DAD!”

I couldn’t see anything but my heart was racing.  Was Steve really here?

We picked up the gas bottle and headed out and sure enough, there was Dad! He had taken two buses and a train to meet us in Melbourne.  It was the best surprise yet!  With many hugs, kisses, tears and food, we all headed off together. A family once more.

I know that you have had it too, when the Universe gives you hints that you are on the right track.  One of those hints came later that night.

We were all very tired, it was about 10.30 at night and we needed a small snack.  We pulled into the only thing open in a town we were passing through – McDonalds.  Everyone got out, stretched and headed inside for toilet and an ice cream. It was just a simple stop.

As we sat there, completely exhausted and barely speaking, Steve went to order.  Some of the kids went too. The store manager and a young girl got into a conversation with them. The young girl was so impressed with them that she bought the entire 10 ice creams for them.  Can you believe that? The McDonalds girl bought ALL of them. For me, this was a sign to say ‘YES! This is the right path.’ Then, just before we left, Steve and I decided to get a burger for the road, we still had a long way to travel.  We ordered and the Manager said that he would bring it to us. When he did, I went to pay but he said not to worry, that he had taken care of it. OHHH! If this wasn’t the clearest sign in the World that our Dream was coming true, nothing would have been.

So our small stop for ice cream and a couple of burgers turned into a free dinner paid by McDonalds staff. It was insane! My heart was soaring!

After a few hours sleep further along the road, we arrived at Eden at 5.30am on the 4th December 2016.  I couldn’t see Sumbawa from where we were but I knew that she was there.  Our new floating home was just out there.  I was hoping the picture in my head wasn’t too far off.

We had to do two trips in the dinghy to get everyone aboard. I wanted to be on the last one.  I wanted the anticipation to last a little longer and I was afraid.  I didn’t want to be disappointed.

I got on the dinghy with Zeinobiyah and the other younger ones and we headed out.  I kept looking around at all the other boats, afraid to look for Sumbawa.  Finally a boat came into view.

She was bigger than I thought, she was cleaner than I expected and she looked really good for what she had gone through coming down the coast.  A huge relief came over me. I had clearly pictured her worse that she actually was.  I did catch my breath. This was going to be great.

As Steve dingyed closer, the more impressed I became with the boat and his efforts in doing her up.  I was really looking forward to looking inside her now.

The older kids had been told to all go downstairs and wait for us, so there was no movement on deck.  Steve got closer, still no movement.  Then it occurred to me, he wasn’t slowing down.

I looked at him, puzzled as he still didn’t slow down. I was about to point this out, when another boat behind this one came into view. It was old, it was smaller than the one infront. It had to torn headsail suncover with bits hanging off it.  I also had a torn mainsail cover with more bits hanging off that.  She was dirty, paint coming off and looked like she had just survived a battle at sea.

I looked back at the other one we had just passed and now to this one we were heading too.  Then the blue background with the white letting become visible – SUMBAWA.

All that air that I was holding from catching my breath before came out in one big sigh. Steve heard it and looked at me.  “What do you think?” he said with that desperate look in his eyes.  He knew that she wasn’t pretty but she had been his home for the last 5.5months. “WOW! Look at our new home.” I replied with the most sincerity I could muster.

I knew she wasn’t going to be perfect, I knew that she was work.  Yet in my head I had this idea.  That she was going to be more than………this!

Then a thought occurred to me – what is better? This or back at the house?  My heart gave a leap.  I would take this any day.  Anything to be away from there.

I climbed aboard and discovered, to my surprise, she wasn’t stable.  The damn boat kept moving. It took me off guard.  The funny thing is that I had visualized it for months.  The rocking, the gentle splashed, everything.  Yet when I was standing on her, it was like ‘Why are you trying to tip me off?’ It took a while to get used too.

I stepped down into a deep cockpit that was not wide enough to have 2 adults stand next to each other but she was very deep.  I then walked into the companion way, which is the steps down stairs.

She was Steve tidy but still with timber everywhere.  The floor creaked, the seating area was small and there was still so much to be done. To top it off, the boat rocked worse down here! It was like standing in the legs of a rocking chair.

She was still a project.

I sat for a moment to contemplate it all.  It was a lot to digest. How would we go? Was this the wrong move? Would this even work? “NO!” I thought. “It has to work. I cannot go home, not back there. Not yet. There is too much to see. To much to experience.  This has to work. And the Universe even gave us signs that it was right. This is a good move.  I can do this!”

From there, we spent seven months in Eden, learning about Sumbawa.  How she handled on the water.  What she was good at and what she sucked at.  Where we really needed to improve her and just fixing her up slowly. We didn’t let people aboard because we were afraid of their comments. Then one day we did and got exactly what we were afraid of. It made me very protective of our space. It made Steve even more so. It was like someone coming in and telling you your house sucked! It was terrible and just sell up now and save yourself the trouble. We became very reserved after this.

In July 2017, we left Eden for our maiden voyage up the coast as a family. On a boat we couldn’t image not having.

We really saw our dream in Sumbawa. Not the end dream but the starting of it. We saw our own capabilities and the amazingness of our children.  We saw them thrive in this life as though they had regained all their childlikeness.   We felt ourselves become calmer and more relaxed with each other and fell in the love with the water the surrounded us.

We fell in love with Sumbawa. She was our open gate, our step to freeing ourselves from this life of stagnation.

Stagnation is a disease. It is THE disease.  It eats away at us until we are nothing but regrets. To paraphrase Richard Bandler ‘If you don’t go searching for Dreams and possibilities, you will never know how much you are missing out on. That is the ultimate form of being stuck’. Sumbawa was the doorway to revealing our possibilities.

Since that time when we first bought Sumbawa, so much for us has changed. We discovered that we love living on the water.  We can’t even image life on land anymore. We have discovered that this life is something that the kids love more than we could even have hoped for. To them, there is no going back. Just ask them.

We have discovered ourselves and our loves, loves that we didn’t even know we had.  We have also overcome so many of our own phobias about the water.

Do I let people come aboard now? NO! I am still very protective of my area.

Am I happy to show Sumbawa off to others? NO! She is still a mess, she still needs a tonne of work doing to her and she is still a project. She is just our project right now.

Will we keep her? NO! This is not our long time boat.  It is not a boat that I would sail across an ocean with but she has been our first step.

We are still doing those tiny steps that we did in the beginning.

  1. Make some money – even if it’s just a little. We are still trying to work this one out. Maybe I can do something with this blog. I just don’t know how yet, I just know that I want to help you become like us – unstuck.
  2. Try things out – how are we going to know what we like if we don’t try
  3. Look around – our desire in a catamaran despite others concerns, this is what we want. So we look at them, we ask questions of cat owners, we look at ones for sale and are figuring out what we like.
  4. Do – Cross that bridge when it arises. Don’t think about it too much, just run with childlike vigour. Once you reunite with your Dream, you become unstoppable.
  5. Help others do the same – Once you have crossed your bridge, show others how you did it and inspire them to cross theirs.  We know everyone’s dream is not sailing. Your Dream is yours and whatever that means to you, it is perfect. Just take these steps to make it happen. Just because everyone’s Dream is different, we all go through the same worries, questions and fears. You and Us are the same in wonderfully different ways.

So that is our story thus far.  We have come so far and we know that this is just the beginning.  We also know that you out there are just like how we were, are like us now and are us in the future. We have all been through our hurdles and we are always growing.

Thank you for allowing my voice here.  This is really all for you. My Dream now is to help you achieve yours, no matter how big or small, no matter how tiny the steps have to be. Every tiny step, is a step closer to the Dream that is calling you. You are moving forward and that is the key.

Our love for you is Universal.

Please leave a comment below or comment on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with your dreams. Or just email me on thelargefamilyaroundtheworld@gmail.com.

We would love to hear them and see what tiny steps you can make to start you crossing your bridge.

Thank you for being you

Zanny Harbars

 

 

 

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