They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I'm not sure if that's entirely true. As I looked through the pictures from this voyage, words failed to capture the experience that this has been. Quite frankly, the pictures don't really capture the journey either. Last night I saw a full moon rising. I was going to take a picture of it but as I looked at the image through my camera, I realized that it just wasn't the same so I didn't take the picture. There was no need, the memory was enough. If I showed you a picture of the galley, it wouldn't give you a full understanding of what it's like to cook for nine people on a moving vessel while trying to avoid any major disasters. Not to mention the fact that it gets so hot down there that it literally feels like you're in hell (or maybe The Valley). I've also seen several Australian sunsets, sunrises and sailed under a blanket of the brightest stars that I have ever seen. I don't have a picture of any one of those moments because taking a picture just wouldn't have been the same. That's the thing about an experience like this, you just have to be here.
This process has been both physically and psychologically challenging but the challenge is exactly what makes it so gratifying. I wanted to be pushed way, way outside of my comfort zone and that's exactly what has been achieved. Everything from sharing a bathroom with nine people to going four to five days without showering has helped me reflect on the things that are important in this life. For the record, showers are still a very important part of my life. I'm not ready to give those up yet. But my physical boundaries and, in turn, my interpersonal boundaries have been greatly challenged and loosened. It's simply what happens when you're in such small quarters.
The people with whom I have shared this experience are lovely and I am so grateful that we all came together to form the rag tag group that is MS Crew 9. We've worked so well together and it's been wonderful to see how others have overcome their own challenges. The most amazing part of it all is that this trip was made possible because we have MS, not in spite of it. Bente, Tini, Vince, Andy, Brenden, Kristian, Bo and Mikkel are forever ingrained in my memory and I don't need a picture or even words to dictate their significance in my life. The memory of them is enough.