For this New Year I wanted to write a blog of thanks.I want to say thank you to Brian. For his story. For his life. For his journey. Me and Brian were like brother and sister on the trip. We bickered and joked often, winding each other up and sneaking off from the gang to have secret tequila shots.
There are several highlights I had with Brian. One of them being in the dunes in Namibia for Lisa’s Princess Party. He was standing in the dark with his Captain’s coat and hat on, a beer in hand with the reflection of the fire making him look like a Captain from the old pirate stories. My journey was supposed to end in Brazil. But I couldn’t imagine that day.
“Dude,” I said to him with a nudge. “You know I’m here with you to the very end, right? I know you guys are heading to the Caribbean but if you want me along I’m down mate. I’m down to the very end with you guys.”
He nodded with a grin and clinked his beer bottle with mine. “I know, Lizbef,” he said. “To the bitter end!”
There’s something about Brian that makes you trust him instantly. You know one hundred percent you are always safe with him. If he says you can jump into the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, you do it, because you trust him. If he tells you climbing the mast is no big deal, then of course it’s not. If he tells you that you can walk a nine hour hike in the middle of the scorching sun with a mother of all hangovers, then you try your best.
Because he’s my Captain.
There’s something about the quiet way he sits in the cockpit, just staring out into the ocean that makes you wonder what he’s thinking about. Across the entire strength of the South Atlantic Ocean we did, there will never be more depths of the ocean than Brian has within his soul.
I say this because I am living in France at the moment, still a part of Delos, still working alongside them. When I watch the episodes now, my heart feels so full of happiness with Edouard and sadness because I miss them so much. I miss my family. I miss the taste of moonshine on my lips. I miss waking up in my bunk and hearing whoever was first to get up make a tea or coffee. I miss hearing Mr Brady and Alex laugh in their cabin. I miss the lilt of Karin’s accent as she talks to her mother in Swedish. I miss Lisa sitting out in the cockpit in the morning with her bible and her coffee, thinking about her start of the day.
I miss standing there amongst them all.
And for me, as you well know from reading the Delos Diaries, it wasn’t an easy journey for me. I discovered more about myself than I ever have. I made peace with all of the ups and downs in my life. I hadn’t expected them to fall down on me as hard as they did. But living in a small space in the middle of the ocean, sometimes it’s impossible to escape your own demons. So I was forced to face them instead of running away.
And Brian helped me through that.
They all did.
And so I faced them. They crashed down on me like waves in the ocean, churning through my gut, heart and soul, the twisting grotesque faces of all of the things I had tried to run from.
And with the Delos Crew I did. I managed to overcome the self doubt, the harshness of words I would say to myself, the disappointment of how I was. I learned to love and trust myself. I learned to trust my own path and continue throughout the horizon that Delos had brought me.
I have no idea what I would have done without Delos. I have no idea what I would have done without her beating heart, her pure soul, her bright spirit. I can’t imagine where my life would be now.
And we all make choices. We all take risks. We all take paths.
I will eternally be grateful for the path I took when I chose Delos. She is not just a ship. She is a way of life. She is life.
She represents everything that we should strive for. Adventure. Family. Spirit. Togetherness. Love.
The fact that Brian took that leap himself and stepped away everything he knew to go on his own adventure has motivated and stirred me to take my own journey. Every time I get scared I think of him, his courage and his heart.
Every time I feel lonely in a room in France I imagine that he is there with a tequila shot in both hands, doing his little shoulder wiggle when he dances.
And so this journey I’m taking is terrifying. I’m taking the journey that I daydreamed about before I even got on Delos. The dream that I would never have pursued if I hadn’t spent time with them. If I hadn’t learned about taking leaps of faith.
With dreams come sacrifices.
And whereas it’s sure that I will see everyone from Delos again for our book release of The Delos Story, I feel this overwhelming urge to do them proud. I cannot go back to a life on land. I can’t go back to a life of living in a neat little apartment. I feel that fear in me more than anything else, pumping hard in my chest until I feel like I can’t breathe.
I have to make Brian proud.
Another one of the highlights I spent with Brian was in St Helena. We had the best night out altogether, our first night on land. We were walking back towards the dingy, the full moon above us illuminating everything in sight.
“I want to write about you, Brian,” I told him.
“I do. I want people to know you how I know you. I want to call it in the light of Brian.” I knew that Frida had wrote a beautiful blog about Brady back in the day. I wanted to do the same with Brian. After recording his story for The Delos Story, I was blown away at their adventures, his story and the motivation that stirred him to leave everything behind.
But there was another side of Brian.
There was the side of Brian that I wanted to share with everyone. The side that hugged me as I sat at the back of the boat in Luderitz on the night of the funeral of one of my friends. There was the night in Cape Town when he said I should do this journey for me and no one else. When we both spat and shook hands at my leaving party, promising that I would name my first child Brian. The night where I told him I would be with him to the very end if he would have me, at the dunes. The night when we were both throwing outside the car window in Brazil.
Now that was an experience.
We had been at the beach all day, drinking cocktails and sneaking off drinking tequila shots like how irresponsible siblings do. We hadn’t eaten much and I think I was far too drunk to even remember where we were going. The car journey was traumatising, my stomach twisting and turning as I begged Brian to get Felipe to stop the car.
The next thing I know Lisa and Brian are leading me to some bushes and holding back my hair as I throw up my guts into the greenery.
Not the most proud moment of my life.
We get back in the car and we stop again probably two or three more times for me to throw up. Eventually they stick my head out of the window just so we can make it back to Delos. The next thing I know Brian has his head stuck out next to mine and is puking his guts up, gagging and retching.
I remember cackling with laughter finding the very moment one of the most hilarious. Us both sharing one window as we throw up alongside each other, destroying the state of poor Felipe’s car.
But it was a bonding moment.
And you know what?
No one told us off, ridiculed us or tried to make us feel bad. We all laughed about it, went back to Delos where Mr Brady helped me throw up even more in the bathroom.
That’s what family is there for. We help one another when things get sticky, tough and shitty.
And that’s why I love my crew. That’s why I can’t shake off this feeling inside me. That’s why I can’t rid myself of this bubbling love within my chest and the need to cast off as soon as possible.
They gave me the courage to forge my own path. They gave me the courage to stop listening to what everyone else wanted me to do.
And Brian, my brother, my friend, my Captain, thank you for all you do. Thank you for the message you lead. Thank you for your friendship, your love and your guidance. Thank you for your belief in me when I had so little.
Thank you for being my family.
Thank you for being you.
Heard about me getting a boat and going on my own adventure in June?
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Thank you as always! Lizbef x