From the rainy, cold waves of Spain to the hot, sunny luxury of Venice - Lizzie says goodbye after five beautiful, hard but unforgettable weeks on board the Oceans of Hope. (Today’s blog is written by Tessa for Lizzie.)
It is still early in the morning when Lizzie tells me her story. We have left the rainy harbour of Ribeira behind us on our way to Porto and we are only13 minutes behind schedule (!), motoring with the wind on the head of our Oceans of Hope. In Porto we will have to say goodbye to Lizzie. This is her final blog.
We write the blog in co-production again for the reasons we explained in an earlier blog. Although this time the words come even slower than before partly due to constant tiredness but mostly because of the emotional content of her story. It shows how it is to find the words to match the greatness of her experience. "It has been five great weeks. I have seen and experienced so much. And I have learnt things I never thought I would..."
Lizzie was supposed to get off in La Coruna to catch her flight to a well deserved holiday in Venice with her family and some good friends. "And sun" she emphasises. However, due to changing plans we arrived in la Caruna earlier than expected, so instead of waiting for her plane, she decided to sail with us to Porto. From there she will be driven back to the airport. "These last two days were heavy for me. Mentally I had already said goodbye to the adventure since I was supposed to get off. I am so happy to finally see my family again. In my head and heart, it feels as if I am already a bit there. I miss them so much."
However, that doesn't mean that she would have wanted to miss one minute off this special journey. "It is a wonderful, unforgettable adventure. I have met so many beautiful people. Maybe we will meet again and maybe not. But it doesn't matter. I will always have them in my heart. It gives so much strength to be in this crew with so much understanding. Being in such a small surrounding, coping with our unpredictable bodies and sharing the same disease. But still we could rely on each other. I couldn't do the nightshifts anymore. My body was just too tired of the medication. Everybody was so sweet. They all helped out and took my shift. We cover for each other. We all understand what we feel - there is so much acceptance. Now, I finally feel accepted."
"I have learnt so much about who I truly am. But also about sailing, about winds, about the mainsail and the genius. And of course, about the battle off Hastings..." She laughs out loud while she refers to one of Jens' favourite history topics."I have seen so many towns, places, harbours. At one point I truly experienced it as if we were in a race: that it was not about sailing or dealing with our MS anymore. We just had to make it to the next harbour in time. So yes, it was hard sometimes."
The most beautiful, unforgettable experience was to see the sunrise over the cliffs of Dover. That was magic! And of course I will never forget the dolphins, jumping, playing with our boat. In those five weeks I met a lot of people coming and leaving the ship. However the Oceans of Hope-spirit never changed. We are all on the same ship, with same unpredictable disease. We want to make it work. Together!
So this is goodbye after five magical weeks. Live was hard and fun. I have never been away, for so long from my husband and children. It feels good to miss them. I know now that I cannot live without them!
I send my love to all who were on the Oceans of Hope. I could not have experienced and learnt this without them. So a big thanks to the whole crew. And of course to all the people who have followed me on Facebook and via the internet. I thank you all for your words, interest, acceptance and support. It will always fill my heart with joy.