It’s already April and we are sailing through the English Channel. Six long months ago we left home and set foot into new lands. Now we are heading home again. It has been a long journey across wide seas and through faraway countries. As we arrived in Falmouth, we got into a place that we have already been before for the first time in half a year. Now we are sailing in familiar waters again.
We all have this strange feeling now: On one side, weare all sad that the journey now comes to an end, but on the other side we are looking forward to seeing our family and our friends again, just to be home again will be special for us. In these six months we all got to know each other, experienced many things we will never forget, had a lot of fun, but also some hard moments. We have all seen things here, that we have never seen before like dolphins, cocoa trees and sloths but sadly no walruses. We know, that we will miss all of this and it will take it’s time for everything we lived without to become ’normal‘ again. On the other hand we will enjoy these little things, like sleeping in a normal bed instead of a bunk, going outside the house alone, without having to be in a group of three, easily speaking with other people, because they also speak German and not just Spanish, or just being able to drink a simple glass of milk in the morning. But most importantly, we‘ are looking forward to seeing our family again, telling them about our journey without delay and having to look for internet access.
In these last days we all take our time, doing the things, that we always wanted to do here on board of the Thor Heyerdahl. Some people spend as much time in the rigging as possible, others spend hours in the workshop, finishing all the little wooden toys and bags out of old sails, they started or doing voluntary galley duties on special days like Easter. It is important not just to be sad about the end that is getting closer, but to enjoy the time that is left on the ship.
Some things are different now: For almost the whole time on sea, we have always been shaken by the swell, but here, in the channel, it is gone. We want to have an empty ship in Kiel, but we have a lot of food left, so the meals are going to be greater than ever.
On this voyage all of us have learned many new things like the skills of a boatswain, but also things like living in a small space with tons of people. We have changed in many ways, but we will probably only notice most of them as soon as we are at home next week.
In Falmouth we did our “Solo”, where we all searched a quiet place in the woods for ourself and stayed there for eighteen hours. In these hours, we all had time to think about this experience and what we will probably do, when weare be back home. I thought about what exactly the arrival would be like and what I would do after that. After some time of thinking, I came to the conclusion, that the arrival would be an important part of our journey and that it would not be a real voyage, if it was never come to an end. It will be important to not just live life at home the same as before, but to be changed and to have learned things in these months.
Now, many of us are sad that this life will end soon, that we will not see each other every day and that we will not be able, to sail on this ship anymore (or for the next few weeks). I hope, that this will not be the case and we will stay the same good friends we are now and will meet each other again and again for years. Ruth our project manager once said, that the real costs would not come with the journey itself but with the little train rides to the other KUSis afterwards. We can also just come back to the Thor and sail on the little summer trips in the baltic sea.
All in all, it is important to remember, that this is not the end. I think it is not even the beginning of the end but just the end of the beginning of a wonderful time. Years from now we will still remember our journey and tell other people about this time and the life at sea.