Discovering the world, through sailing (by Merel van Schilfgaarde)

Over the past month, I’ve been discovering the world, through sailing on the engineless sailing cargo vessel Tres Hombres.

The journey from France to Denmark has been an incredible and unique experience. After receiving the initial safety and climbing training and a galley and ropy tour, I was invited to work alongside the crew. The kindness and openness of the crew made a great ambience. Thus, from the first moment, it felt like I belonged.

Life at sea was a strong contrast to my life at home. After the confinement of the past couple of years, the sea provided a sense of freedom and openness that I had truly missed. While having no service to connect to the online world, I felt much more in touch with my surroundings and the people close to me. Through the ups (imagine seeing fairy dolphins at two o’clock in the morning) and downs (I am definitely not missing seasickness), I discovered a new way of interacting with my surroundings and experiencing the world.
At one point I wrote in my diary: “I am noticing that I feel fitter. The fresh air, moving my body and the almost mandatory living in the moment is helping enormously. I think that is why I love sailing. Sailing is one of the moments where I can, quite literally, let the wind blow my cares away. Afterwards, I can continue my day with a clear head and filled with good courage.” I think this describes quite accurately what the call of the sea means to me and it is a feeling I would wish everyone could experience once in a while.
Life on Tres Hombres thought me a lot about what it can mean to live a sustainable life, guided by the rhythm of nature. Life on board is about relying on nature instead of trying to defeat it. When we stop worrying about being late, the wind will blow again one day, time frees us up to genuinely look at our surroundings and reflect on our choices. Sustainability runs through the veins of the organisation. It goes much further than bringing cargo from one place to another without emissions. Sustainability on Tres Hombres can be found in the way food is prepared, water is used, the clothes that we wear, and the purchases that are made for the ship. From there it flows into the conversations we have with each other and the way we view the world. I am more than grateful that I had the opportunity to be part of an amazing community trying to change the world while enjoying one of my biggest hobbies, sailing.
Now that I am home again I am trying to incorporate as much as possible of everything that living at sea has taught me. This is a whole new challenge and I am not sure what it is going to look like yet. However, I do feel that my experience on Tres Hombres given me a lot of tools to use.
To all the crew, thank you for this experience and fair winds! I am sure we will meet again someday.
Do you enjoy reading our crew’s adventures? Imagine being there when you enjoy our products at home!

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