In what seemed like an instant, I retired from full-time work, my marriage unraveled, and my son went off to college. Yikes—I didn’t know who I was anymore. It felt like everything had been taken away—or worse, that I had bet my life on a good hand, and lost.


This much was clear: I was done living out our culture’s stock formulas for fulfillment. Instead, I felt a determination within to discover my own version of what it meant to welcome in the final chapters with vitality and purpose. I could hear the Universe speaking to me: feel the exhilaration that comes from embracing the implicit danger of the unknown. Yet I had only the slightest awareness of how to construct such a reality.


So, I went to the sea to find myself, again. Somehow, down deep, I knew that only a full immersion into the energy of the ocean would bring me home to my authentic self. And I knew that arriving at my deathbed without having at least attempted my dream of long-distance sailing was unacceptable, even if I ended up not liking it. In my view, the only failure would be not having tried.


Throughout my journey I relied on the complex and hard-to define essence of spirit. When I trusted it, and allowed it to be present in my life, it would anchor and guide me. I have learned that what my head tells me is only one source of knowledge, and often not the most reliable.

I had no idea how this year of intense transition and personal growth would evolve when I set sail. At times it was scary, especially when I realized there wasn’t even a destination to be had, merely an unfolding process. For sure, there were plenty of risks, like abruptly stopping work, leaving my beloved house and community behind, sailing the ocean while putting my life and the lives of others on the line, and loving another imperfect being. All that in pursuit of a more in-depth, engaged life.


I sailed into the emptiness, only to discover that life is not about resolution; we just keep adding capacity to engage more of the mystery. And that is the miracle.


Please, come join me on my journey.


Ed Merck, October 2012