Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Fairhope, AL · Government · Gulf Coast · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Happy Anniversary! 1 Year of Blogging and Giveaways!

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Happy Anniversary to Wayfaring Tail Wagger! It has been one year since I began this journey. A HUGE thank you to everyone who has followed along and been such an encouragement to me. So much has changed in the last year. Good and not so good, but I am grateful to be here 365 days later.

May is going to be exciting here on the blog! Get ready for a month long celebration of this past year and the amazing years to look forward to. I’ll be hosting guest bloggers, giveaways and a VERY BIG SURPRISE at the end of the month so STAY TUNED.

This year has taught me so much about resilience, the love of a family, the kindness of friends, the inner warrior princess that I am, and the “it’s ok to not be ok” attitude. I’ve learned about navigating through fear and heartbreak. Faced some of my biggest demons head on, and I’ve come out with a fierce love for the broken, a better understand of those who suffer mental illness, not to mention a new acceptance of the person I am becoming today.

So to kick off the month long celebration, I’m announcing my first giveaway! Anyone who comments on a post in the month of May will be entered for a drawing to win a T-shirt! Drawing will be held on June 1st via a live Periscope posting.

Thank you to everyone who has made me feel so accepted as I started this adventure a year ago. I am forever grateful to those of you who partnered along side of me, encouraged me, and sometimes gave me a shoulder to cry on. You are amazing!

Here’s to another year!

Happy Days!

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Alabama Gulf Coast · Fairhope, AL · Gulf Coast · Sailboats · Sailing · Uncategorized

In Remembrance: The Dauphin Island Regatta Disaster of 2015

pexels-photo-76978.jpeg      Every year sailors from all over the Gulf Coast gather for the Dauphin Island Regatta. Known as one of the largest point-to-point races, the Regatta is held on the usually calm Mobile Bay. On April 25, 2015, the tranquil bay would burst with a tragic event that would change sailing on the Bay forever. All in all 6 lives were lost and 10 sailboats, ranging from 20-27 ft. were sunk. Over 40 people were pulled from the water, rescued by fellow competitors, Coast Guard, and multiple agencies who patrolled for hours.

April 25, 2015 began with a steady 15-16 knot wind under overcast skies. Mother Nature gave no indiction of the hell she would unleash in just a few hours. There were some indications however, that the weather could become problem later in the day. A storm system moving in from the west was predicted to make a significant marine impact with heavy rain, lightening , and straight line winds. Many sailors watched the storm front, but most thought they would have time to race and then rally up in Dauphin Island.

The day hadn’t started out as smoothly as hoped. The race had already suffered a significant delay due to a miscommunication from the host that year, the Fairhope Yacht Club. Each year, the regatta is hosted by a different sailing organization. Fairhope Yacht Club, a premiere sailing organization in the picturesque town of Fairhope Alabama was the 2015 host. The morning of the race an erroneous message was released saying that the race had been cancelled, causing several registered participants to miss the start time. The notice was taken down but it caused organizers to push the start back by an hour. A false start caused another delay. At 10:45am, the National Weather Service released another warning for the area. “Thunderstorms will move in from the west this afternoon and across the marine area. Some of the thunderstorms may be strong or severe with gusty winds and large hail the primary threat.” Still, of the 125 boats registered, only 8 withdrew before the start. The storm appeared to be on track to move into the area around 4:30pm, so most participants felt as if they had enough time to complete the race and return to port.

As the storm approached the bay, a weather phenomenon known as a “bow echo” began to form. This formation typically indicates a strengthening in a storm. By 3pm, a wall of rain began to make it’s way toward Mobile Bay. In neighboring Pascagoula Mississippi, the front slammed into the Manama, a 600 foot oil tanker and heaved it aground. As it made it’s way towards the sailors, an event known as a “Derecho” formed pushing a wind ahead of the front.  It exploded with the force of nearly 70mph winds. At 3pm, the cameras on the Dauphin Island bridge showed complete white out conditions. The world’s fastest boats in the world couldn’t have outrun the storm as it bulls-eyed the sailors. For 45 minutes, the bay churned as if a hurricane had moved above her. Sailors were thrown into the water. Boats were rolled, submerging, masts breaking off as they righted again.

My parents lived at the mouth of the Dog River and the Dauphin Island Parkway bridge. I remember my mother calling me the afternoon of the storm. She had never seen a storm hit with such ferocity. She and my Dad watched the rescue effort and participated by walking the shoreline looking for anyone who may have been stranded or washed in. After days of a massive search and rescue effort, the Coast Guard ended it’s operations. 6 lives had been lost in this tragic but perhaps avoidable disaster.

Since that fateful day in 2015, the Regatta has adopted stringent rules that they hope will help prevent similar tragedies from occurring.

  • Skippers must provide a master list with cell phone numbers of everyone on the boat.
  • All boaters are required to download the “RaceQ’s” app that will track their location on the water. That way, loved ones onshore and members of the race committee can make sure everyone is safe and accounted for.
  • All crew members must wear life jackets for at least the first five minutes of the race.
  • All life jackets must have a whistle attached.

Many wonder, however, if even this will be enough. Some point fingers at the Fairhope Yacht Club saying that organizers should have cancelled the race the night before. Others say it was ultimately the sailors responsibility for the safety of their crew.

For the 2018 Regatta, Fairhope Yacht Club was once again the host. On April 28, 2018, the race went off without a hitch under beautiful blue skies. The lives of those lost and the heroic efforts of the rescuers were remembered.

In memory of:

17-year-old Adam Clark of Mobile.
50-year-old Robert Thomas of Pickens, Mississippi.
27-year-old Kris Beall of Pineville, Louisiana.
72-year-old Robert Delaney of Madison, Mississippi.
67-year-old William Glenn Massey from Daphne.
71 year old  “J.C.” Brown of Mobile, Alabama

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Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Fairhope, AL · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Friday Favorites: Sharing Tips and Products that will change your life!

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Good morning everyone! It’s Friday! So many of you are winding down the work week and heading into the weekend! For me, Friday is my actual Sunday. My “weekends” consist of two weekdays off. I really don’t mind it because I feel as if I’m often able to accomplish more during the week than on a weekend. So as you are off and running in the race for relaxation, I want to share my FRIDAY FAVORITES list. These favorites are in no particular order of importance or use! Just some really great things I’ve come across and used this week.

  1. If you are looking for a GREAT and I mean G..R..E..A..T (in my best Tony the Tiger voice) blog about sailing, please check out my friends over at http://www.youngandsalty.com. This week they shared a blog from Ryan and Sheena about not giving up on your boat and to be honest I needed to read that this week. Several times over the last few weeks I’ve asked myself if it were really worth it, AND I’M NOT EVEN ON THE BOAT FULL TIME RIGHT NOW! So go over and visit Fiona and Robin at http://www.youngandsalty.com.
  2. Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Mask. THIS STUFF IS AMAZING! After being in the sun on the boat, my skin can become very dry and dull. This great mask is perfect for brightening my skin. I use it 3 times a week and I’ve definitely seen improvement in my skins appearance.
  3. Audible.com- Ok so maybe I’m behind on the times but I just recently discovered Audible.com. I love books! Unfortunately, there’s not a great deal of space on a sailboat to be lugging tons of books around. With Audible, I can download books and listen to them on the boat! Sure it’s not the same as opening a book, but trust me you’ll be glad you saved that cabinet space for something other than books.
  4. The “Buddy Bowl”. Ava is the absolute WORST about being a messy drinker. She sloshes water all over the place, especially on the boat. While it’s not a big deal for the most part at home, on the boat having water all in the cockpit is not fun. It’s hard to clean up, creates a slipping hazard, etc etc. I read about the Buddy Bowl in another blog and ordered one for Ava. It’s FANTASTIC! It’s practically spill proof. Ava also loves it because the water doesn’t touch her nose. She will now go to this bowl over her traditional water bowl at home. It’s great for keeping insect out and other pests. Go purchase a Buddy Bowl at http://www.greatamericanspillproof.com
  5. The Boston Warehouse Bottle Cover with Life Preserver. Ok this is so CUTE! What a great gift idea for sailors or those who love them. I had a friend bring over a bottle of wine to share in honor of the new galley floor being installed and it was an instant hit! http://www.amazon.com

 

Those are my five Friday Favs for this week. I hope you’ll check out these great products and let me know how they worked for you.

 

In other news, things around the Wayfaring Tail Wagger have been really changing at breakneck pace. For those that have followed along for the last year and know how this whole story started, I finally received closure in the form of divorce papers from Ken. I never spoke to him again. Not a phone call, text, or even an email, but I realized several weeks ago that there was no explanation that would ever be good enough to justify how our family was destroyed. It’s enough to know that I did everything I could and that I still love him even after all that was done.  My son Brandon finished his first year of college and will be moving home for the summer. I’m so excited to have him here again. He has volunteered to help out with the boat refit and I can never have too many hands with that.

Life is slowly but surely taking shape once more and moving forward. There are still days when the sting of the abandonment is so painful that I cry. There are days when I miss Kenny, my best friend, and there are days when I’m still so angry and confused that I have to literally busy myself with something to get my mind away from it. Sometimes I feel like there has been no progress, that my life has been stagnant like the inlets and swamps here on the coast. Then a little breeze of happiness will lift me like my sails and I realize that I can’t change the wind that blew my life into this new direction. I can however, adjust my sails, and realize that life in every form is an adventure. Adventure isn’t always safe. It’s a risk, a chance. Adventure doesn’t always have a happily ever after. It often involves loss and fear. It can be scary, lonely, even discouraging at times, but even in those moments, it is filled with wonder, excitement, and hope. I don’t have to love the dark moments on this adventure of life, but I will continue on this path with the hope that one day the fog will clear and the paradise I am searching for in the form of happiness will appear.

Fair winds and following seas everyone!

Alabama Gulf Coast · Friday the 13th · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Friday the 13th: Sailing Superstitions

If you are superstitious, today might be an important date for you. It’s April 13, 2018, Friday the 13th. Friday the 13th has a long history of being a vilified. It’s origins come from several different stories such as Eve taking the Apple from Satan on Friday the 13th to pop culture further denigrating it in 1907 when Thomas Larson wrote a book about a broker attempting to take down Wall Street on Friday the 13th. It was later sealed in stone as a day of fear when the “Friday the 13th” film franchise released in the 1980’s.

Sailors have MANY superstitions associated with their lifestyles. I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of those today so here’s a list of Sailing Superstitions:

  • Renaming a boat: It is bad luck to change the name of the boat. If you do, you must have a de-naming ceremony and officially christen the boat again. To have a Purging or Denaming ceremony you must wipe out EVERY trace of the old boat’s identity. Remove the name or white it out in any ledger or logs. Gather your friends and Invoke the Ruler of the Deep by reciting this:Oh mighty and great ruler of the seas and oceans, to whom all ships and we who venture upon your vast domain are required to pay homage, implore you in your graciousness to expunge for all time from your records and recollection the name (here insert the old name of your vessel) which has ceased to be an entity in your kingdom. As proof thereof, we submit this ingot bearing her name to be corrupted through your powers and forever be purged from the sea. (At this point, the prepared metal tag is dropped from the bow of the boat into the sea.)

    In grateful acknowledgment of your munificence and dispensation, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court. (Pour at least half of the bottle of Champagne into the sea from East to West.) Your guests may finish the rest of the Champagne. Immediately complete the process by having your Renaming ceremony or Christening. Gather a branch of green leaves and a pre-scored christening bottle (https://www.westmarine.com/buy/galleyware–christening-bottle–6775217) Have red wine, champagne or sparkling cider on hand to pass to guests as you toast the new boat. Read a small poem or few words and then set out on your maiden voyage with your branches on board!

  • Tattoos: When tattooing became popular at sea a rooster and a pig were often tattooed onto sailors’ feet. It was believed these animals would prevent the sailors from drowning by showing them the way to shore. Today many sailors pay homage to their boats or the sailing lifestyles with nautical tattoos. I personal love my anchor tattoo, sparrows and compass.
  • Blood: It is unlucky to set off at the start of the fishing season without having first shed some blood in a fight or in an accident.
  • Caul: Having the caul of a new-born child on board a ship was meant to prevent anyone from drowning. This meant that cauls were often purchased by sailors before a voyage. (A caul is a harmless membrane that covers the face and head of a newborn baby. It is very rare). It also sounds disgusting!
  • Women: Women were bad luck on board because they distracted the crew, which would anger the sea, causing treacherous conditions as revenge. However, conveniently for the male crew, naked women calmed the sea, which is why so many figureheads were women with bare breasts. Hmm nope, not going to sail around bare breasted! Sorry Poseidon….
  • Non-sailing Days:It was bad luck to sail on Thursdays (God of Storms, Thor’s day) or Fridays (the day Jesus was executed), the first Monday in April (the day Cain killed Abel), the second Monday in August (the day Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed), and 31 December (the day on which Judas Iscariot hanged himself).
  • Watch your Mouth: Some words and sayings brought about bad luck on board, including “drowned”, “goodbye” and “good luck”. Things to do with the land were believed to be bad luck if mentioned, such as the church,  pigs, foxes, cats, and rabbits. Funny thing though, a goat, was usually kept below.
  • No whistling or singing:Whistling or singing into the wind was forbidden as it would “whistle up a storm”
  • Red Heads: Like flat-footed people, red heads were believed to bring bad luck to a ship. If you met one before boarding, the only way to mitigate the bad luck was to speak to them before they could speak to you. Poor Gingers!
  • Bananas: No bananas on board. They were believed to be so unlucky they would cause the ship to be lost. Whole cargoes of bananas were especially frightening for sailors.

So armed with this knowledge I realize the deck is stack against me in the luck department. I’ll just raise the sails and head off in search of fair winds leaving my luck up to chance.

Fair Winds and Following Seas!

 

What’s your favorite superstition? Boating or non boating related: SHARE!sunset-boat-sea-ship-37730.jpeg

 

Alabama Gulf Coast · Gulf Coast · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

The Healing Power of the Ocean’s Song

via Daily Prompt: Quartet

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When I first moved back to the Gulf Coast, I spent hours sitting on the beach listening to the sound of the waves and the call of the seagulls. It was, for a time, the only semblance of peace I had. The only moment of the day when I could quiet my mind from all of the screaming voices. After I bought the Rialto Zephyr and moved aboard it was these sounds mixed with the tinkling of the tide rigging that became the lullaby soothing me to sleep.

Today’s writing prompt is the word Quartet. A quartet is a set of four people or things, often singing or making music together. There is no greater music than that made my Mother Nature herself. Time and time again as I sail out into the bay I hear her song. It’s in the birds that circle the boat, the lapping of the waves against the hull, the wind as it lifts the sails causing them to snap, the rigging as is jingles like bells. All of these come together to create the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard.

I’ve often wondered what sounds the ocean holds beneath her. I’ve been diving and with the exception of the bubbles and some times sounds of the waves, I’ve always considered it to be quiet. According to NOAA, however, the ocean is alive with sounds. Sound travels much faster underwater and can be heard much farther away than on land. Sound is how many marine animals communicate with each other. They listen for food, for other marine life and for the topography of the ocean itself. Think of dolphins and their use of echolocation, the clicking of crab claws as they shuffle across the ocean floor, or the water as a it is pushed by a school of fish.

Ocean sounds have been proven to be extremely beneficial to humans. How many of us play ocean waves at night to help us relax or sleep? There is serenity in the sound. Mother Ocean is a beautiful songstress. Like a siren, she has drawn men out upon her and inspired them to write their own music using her as their muse. She has been the background music of my life and she has certainly sang to me when my heart was so burdened I didn’t have a song. The Ocean song in a way, healed my heart.

Fair Winds and Following Seas!

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Alabama Gulf Coast · Gulf Coast · Sailboats · Sailing · Uncategorized

Tasty Tuesday: No Cook Meals for Easy Boat Living

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It’s been really humid the last few days reminding me that summer is right around the corner. Spring in the south is such a short season. Last summer I discovered that using the oven on the boat was not necessarily a great idea. That is unless I wanted to do a live interpretation of Dante’s Inferno. My poor a/c unit worked double over time to cool the cabin. On top of that, I love entertaining on the boat but to be honest if it’s a day that I’ve devoted to working on the boat, I DON’T FEEL LIKE COOKING. Chances are I’m hot, sweaty and covered in oil or grease. I started looking for some no cooking involved recipes for when it was just to damn hot to cook. Pinterest was a great resource so I decided to share some of my favorite NO COOKING REQUIRED recipes.

  1. Green Goodness Sandwich- This completely satisfies my no cook requirement as well as being pretty refreshing.

    Ingredients

    • 2 ripe avocados
    • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
    • Salt and pepper, to taste
    • Baby spinach
    • 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbled
    • Freshly ground pepper
    • Fresh chives, diced
    • Thinly sliced cucumber
    • Sprouts (pea, sunflower, alfalfa etc.)
    • 2 slices Thick of grainy bread, toasted

    Mash the avocado adding a little salt, pepper and lemon juice. I like to add a little pepper to the goat cheese as well. Toast your bread and then add a little bit of dijon mustard. You’ll then layer all the ingredients and VOILA! A deliciously cool vegetarian option.

  2. No Cook Zucchini noodles with Pesto- I love saying the word Zoodles. It makes me giggle every. single. time. I have no idea why! Anyway, this recipe is great for when you want to be fancy but just don’t have the time. Pair it with some crusty bread and you have healthy italian.

       Ingredients

  • 4 medium zucchini
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup pesto
  • 1 large ripe heirloom tomato, chopped or 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • freshly ground parmesan to taste
  • Morton kosher salt 1

Cut the zucchini into long strands with a spirializer. Set the noodles aside in a large colander. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of salt and then toss to coat. Let them set for aside for 10 minutes. Rinse and drain well, squeezing out the excess liquid. Add pesto and toss to coat evenly. Divide the zucchini into 4 serving and top with remaining ingredients.

3. Mediterranean Chopped Salad Pitas- These are great to make ahead and then just fill and eat whenever you are ready. Sometimes I’ll pick up a rotisserie chicken or even some canned tuna to add.

 Ingredients

  • 1 small head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 small cucumber, diced
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 3/4 cup feta crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Pita bread, for serving

DRESSING:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Add dressing ingredients to a large bowl and whisk until combined. Next, add all remaining chopped salad ingredients to the bowl and stir until everything is mixed together. Spoon chopped salad mixture into warm pita bread and enjoy!

 

These are three of my tried and true recipes that I use on a regular basis. I’ve been able to collect about 30 recipes so far and hope to have them on hand in a binder for the boat.

So do you have a favorite no cook recipe? Share in the comment section and LET’S EAT!

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Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Gulf Coast · Sailboats · Sailing · Uncategorized

Monday Musing: Big Dreams or Greatest Fear.

When I first moved back home to the Gulf Coast, my life was a COMPLETE mess. My husband had just up and disappeared (literally), my oldest son left for college, and my daughters moved out. My family completely fell apart in a matter of weeks. I was at a loss as to what to do with my life. I became the prodigal daughter returning home to live with my parents, something I had not done in nearly 20 years.  I didn’t have a job and I’d lost my only source of income. It was devastating.

The first months were spent in mental anguish as I tried to come to terms with the devastation and honestly there were days I couldn’t even be bothered with getting out of bed. Miraculously, I was hired at a local marina as an office assistant. The job was easy and helped to keep my mind off of things like wanting to kill myself, because yes those types of thoughts crossed my mind more than once. I made friends with my coworkers, learned the insides and out of running a marina, and on a crazy whim I bought a sailboat. It was quite possibly one of the most absurd and spur of the moment decisions I had ever made, but it saved my life. I began to dream again. I imagined sailing all of the Gulf in the Rialto Zephyr. I planned her complete refit, even a new galley design. I looked at ways to make living aboard for Ava, my German Shepherd easier. It was as if I was finally able to breathe again. Some days those breaths came out as sobs as I mourned the life I had once had, but I was breathing.

Due to some unforeseen circumstances, the marina I worked for and eventually began running as the Operations Manager was forced to close. It was acquired by the local city government and everyone employed there was laid off. It was a very sad day for me.  I loved the marina. I even attempted to convince the city to allow me to run it as a contractor but they never considered it. For three months I was plunged back into the uncertainty of being able to make it. I felt so ridiculously inadequate. Would I ever be able to survive on my own again? I didn’t want to be a financial burden to my parents who had so lovingly offered their home to Ava and I. I worried that I may never be able to recover emotionally, financially, mentally. Then in January, I was hired by a large airline corporation. The job didn’t pay well but it certainly had it’s perks and for someone who dreamed of traveling, it worked. I began dreaming of the refit of the Rialto Zephyr again. At this point, other than minor cleaning projects, I had pretty much abandoned her in a local marina. I couldn’t even bring myself to look at her. It was as if she were a friend I had turned my back on and was now riddled with guilt about it.

Yesterday I finally got the nerve to head back to the marina to check the bilge and make sure she hadn’t sank. I was happy to find that she was in better shape than what I had imagined. A spark of imagination flickered once again. My friend and I took a walk around the marina. At one time it had been one of the premier marinas in our area. Now derelict boats littered the landscape. It was as if we were walking through a boat graveyard. I jokingly made a video and posted on Instagram that I had discovered where boats go to die, but honestly it made me incredibly sad. We locked up the gate and started to head home when I received a text from an unknown number. It was the gentleman who owns the boat yard and marina. He was making sure I hadn’t had any trouble getting in. I thanked him for leaving a key for me and agreed to get with him to sign a new lease this week. Then something I’m still trying to make sense of happened. He asked if I knew anyone who was interested in leasing the boatyard and marina. He has decided to get out of the business but didn’t want to sell the property. He knew my background from the previous marina and thought I might know someone. I told him that I would “put my feelers” out and ask to which he replied that he was hoping to actually meet with me to discuss my ideas about the business. He remembered talking to me shortly after I had been let go and he said “You seemed so passionate about your marina that I couldn’t help but think you might be able to bring this old boatyard back to life.” I was at a complete loss for words. This is my dream. Like seriously, my dream. When ESM closed it’s doors, I was determined to find away to get back into the business and own my own sailing related company.  As usual however, the demons who’ve taken up residence in my mind began shouting at me. “You can’t do this! You have no money to start a business! What in the world makes you think you are capable of doing this? You can’t even manage your own life!” It’s times like this I’m thankful for the friends who have joined me hand in hand through this journey I’ve been on. I shared what happened with two of these people and to my surprise they responded with well what are you waiting for!

So here I am in complete fear, writing a business plan, and figuring out a way to revive a boatyard and marina without having much startup. I’m scared SH#$#less! It’s hard for me to push down the thoughts that are holding me back. What if it doesn’t work? What if I fall flat on my face? That’s when I reminded myself of one of my favorite quotes; “Everything you want is on the other side of fear~ Jack Canfield. I’ve lived for far too long in a land of dreams and hopes. It’s time for me to pack my bags and take those first footsteps on a journey that is taking me to the other side of fear. I will never achieve anything if I never act on my dreams, even if it means failure, or struggle, and failure has ALWAYS been my biggest fear. It’s time though to shed the uncomfortable skin I’ve been living in and actually live.

Have you ever been faced with something that was your biggest dream but also your biggest fear? I’d love to hear your stories of perseverance!

Fair Winds and Following Seas!pexels-photo-185801.jpeg