A New Adventure

19 Aug

There comes a time in every person’s life when she must ask herself, “do I want to move to Papua New Guinea?”

It isn’t always “Papua New Guinea.” Sometimes it is “a new town.” Or “take a different job.” Or “go back to school.” It just happens to be Papua New Guinea in my case, because that is the way my life seems to work. Like Belle, I want adventure in the great wide somewhere. I’ll just never be the one with the big house, the minivan, the soy latte and the lululemons. I’d rather learn Tok Pisin.

Moving aboard was a big DIWTMTPNG moment for me. I had no sailing experience. I had a comfortable life. I had friends and family nearby. Why give all that up? To have an adventure with my husband and kids. To do something new. To experience a different slice of life and travel the world. And when I viewed it in those terms, going cruising changed from being an idea to an opportunity. So, of course, I said yes.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past four years writing about how great cruising is, and how much we all enjoy it. All true. However, two facts have combined into an unstoppable, Voltron-like robot in the lives of the Papillon crew. One: it’s time to earn some money if we want to continue to enjoy luxuries like Lanocote and food. Two: Erik loves his work with a ridiculous passion. It is easier to get barnacles off the prop than to pry him away from an interesting project.

It grieves me to say so, but he has fallen off the sabbatical wagon. Erik walks the razor’s edge between his two loves – his family, and his work. I can’t really complain, because I have won that battle for four years now, and I do enjoy the aforementioned food his work provides. And normally Erik is at least home on the weekends. But the flight connections between New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea aren’t exactly plentiful or convenient. And this has been going on for too long.

Thus, we’ve decided on a new adventure. For the next half year, the four of us will live together in a small village in Papua New Guinea. The kids will attend an international school there and tumble around like puppies with the many, many other youngsters in town. Erik will work. And I’ll write. (Which is also work, but, unless you are very, very lucky, you tend to get paid more in personal satisfaction than in cold, hard cash.)

Where does this leave you, dear reader? Well, I will still be here on Sailing Papillon, telling tales of our adventures. But there won’t be much sailing or Papillon. If you are only here for the cruising stories, then mark your calendar for early April 2015. I’ll be back aboard at that point. If you love me anyway, then stick around. This is a just a brief sabbatical from our sabbatical, and there will still be lots going on.

In the meantime, I’ll set you all some homework.  Keep your eyes open for your own: “do I want to move to Papua New Guinea?” moments. And when they arrive, remember: the answer is always yes.


  1. Mike

    A big part of the attraction of reading cruising blogs is in learning what it’s like in the rest of the world. I’ve enjoyed reading about New Caledonia and seeing it through the Schaefers’ eyes; I imagine I will find the same pleasure in reading about Papua New Guinea.

    Best of luck, and I’ll be reading!

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