Tulia Gonzalez Posts

April 18 / Sailboats

Morning coffee

I come back from my contemplation becausuddenlyddently rocking back and forth, I put the lid on my cup. Ha! Those tourist boats passing so close!  making waves,  shaking my coffee  and throwing aside my baguette with jam.  There is no respect. They don’t see that people live in here?  I immerse in myself again…

There are memories that are like cracks, and cracks are like doors… there are moments that when evoked they transport us. They’re waterfalls.  Is living them again. Today I’m flooded with a memory.

Is there something that could be called “Beginning”?

1.  Today I went back to the moment I knew that someone had crossed the Atlantic in a sailboat. On sailboat ! The Atlantic ocean?  For weeks?  In the sea? A woman and… alone?  Incredulity, amazement, a shaking feeling of ” REALIZE ” something.  I was living in San Francisco. That day I was biking around the bay … down there of the Golden Gate Bridge I saw the little white triangles drawing imaginary lines in the water… I was amazed, they were so small and so fragile as paper boats the wind can blow them off. And yet it was possible…


Drums inside

I’m back in Polynesia. Over there, onland,  one can see the guys rehearsing for the dance competition. Drums and ukuleles. I see the rehearsal as a neighbor watching over the fence, but I’m onboard of one of those boats that were sailing in San Francisco.

What happened from the day in the bay  to the moment of now that connect them like parallel universes?

2. When I worked in Geneva, I went to visit some friends in Germany.  Pao married Daniel from Berlin, I spent a week with them.  During the dinner, almost by chance, Daniel mentioned that he was crew on a sailboat for 6 months in the Caribbean.  He quited his job as an architect, left his house and all. His former colleagues had placed  in the office a photo of him sailing in the Caribbean with the footnote: “Best Employee of the Month” while they were living one of the coldest winters in Germany.  I felt again a feeling in the stomach. I felt closer. Now knew someone from the “real life” that did it.


Hungry for something

It’s lunch time? Here in the boat you know it’s time to eat when you are hungry. There is not shedule.  And,  what does it matter if it’s weekday or weekend ? I heat the leftovers of yesterday’s dinner and return to where I was …

3. During the time in Europe I was finding what to me seemed small signs, those traveling coincidences that one tries to read as gypsies read hands. I visited Marseille, a city where the sea is very important, being the largest port in the Mediterranean. I was walking around the boats and I met a guy who found a crew position on the Internet. Then Olesia said in Ukraine she had been certified for  sail small boats, and Ola from Poland too. I asked them so many questions; I wanted to investigate more. Now I was feeling real the possibility.


The sun comes to the island

We’ve been waiting for “weather.  It is the windy Polynesian winter. Out there beyond the reef, the sea is rough. If onboard the boat the day and time don’t matter,  here the  Weather God  is who has the last word. I haven’t been ashore in several days.  There is a litte sunshine, so I take the dinghy and head to the dock, jump ashore and do a quick shark knot.

4. I’m going into other gap. I remember being in Czech Republic in the kitchen of a very old house where I lived with my friends Maga and Rami from Argentina. We were laughing and doing whatever on the internet, when I said – I know what I’m going to do next! As I wil  live on a sailboat, right now I’ll learn to do knots. With a serious attitude, I opened Youtube and looked for a tutorial… 5 minutes after quited. We laughed.  However, that day, “I had a certainty” as Maga says. I was sure that one day I would do it. I didn’t  know when or how, but I was sure.


Going out of the path

Walking around the island and heading to the mountains, -Ia ora na! -Bonjour! I came across kids saying ” good morning ” in Tahitian and French. I start going up and I feel like going out of the path marked with little stones. I turn left. I get lost among the trees.

5. When I returned to Mexico people asked me what’s next… I then replied with a tone of normality: “Ho well, I ‘m going to live in a sailboat.”  I’m from the central part of Mexico , I had never been before on sailboat, neither in Mexico sailing is common at all. It seemed crazy then, but I had that confidence. January came, I made my backpack, I left and went to the coast of Mexico. I decided to take a different path, “create” my own way of experiencing, and jumped into the void.


I Am Here

Photo: Tom VanDyke


Back to the boat, I’m playing guitar. I look around of these square meters of wood in which I’m floating.

I love this feeling of living floating in the water, water in movement.

 I feel light, mild, fleeting, momentary …

Like the foam of the waves.

April 16 / French Polynesia

Waking up,  the sound of the sea crashing on the reef is the first thing I’m aware before I open the eyes.  Ha!…   it takes me one minute before I remind myself :   I am  in an island.  I live on a sailboat in the Pacific Ocean. My name is Tulia.  I sailed for months to get to this side of the world.  It’s been six months since I started this adventure without knowing (in every sense of the word) the direction it would take.

Today I’m in French Polynesia. I’m taking a break ashore,  a break from the constant movement.  Today I wake up in a house facing the sea, grass-smell and crickets-sound. Is now when I’m waking up and realizing what I’d  happened…  and it’s happening.

I tried to explain (not helping that was in French) what it means to live for a month on the open sea, as a result I had to change the subject , even in Spanish (my mother tongue) there are things that can not be explained just like that… maybe if  I write a poem and I run out of words that could somehow express the vastness , the deepest blue, the TRUE silence, and the infinite of an horizon. One day I may find meaning in those journals I wrote in the ocean, now it seems that everything was as deep dream as the Pacific itself.  Because a month on a sailboat of 31ft, in a space that becomes your little planet, is not just a month … is every week of the month,  is every day of every week, and every hour of every day of the month, is every-moment… on the sea… an in constant motion.

Since some time ago I wanted to write about how is to live… hmm…  on board? Not, I would rather said on the border… of countries, islands, and worlds. When I lived in Europe I wanted to write for friends, family, people that asked me a lot.  But I put it off because I wanted to “do it right ” my perfectionism  is (or was)  related to my love for “scientific research”.  I was obsessed with details that never allowed to get ready even a page. Also because in the “Professional Life ” I had been considered as serious people and seriouspeople do not write about islands or travel neither worlds … serious people do publish articles in research journals.

Today I do not care.

Today I woke up with a strange indifference and tired of ” decisions ” tired of keep thinking what’s next: which trip, which island, project, person,  work,  language … well, today  I can dance and be the queen of the absurd.

Photo by Tom Van Dyke
Photo by Tom Van Dyke

I’m in Raiatea , called the “Holy Island ” for be  the most mysterious Polynesian island.  A day and many years ago it was the center of culture and religion of the” Polynesian triangle” including the islands close to Tahiti (now French Polynesia), Hawaii, and New Zealand. As the writer Paul Theroux mentioned in “The happy islands of Oceania” rather than an ocean, the Pacific is like a universe, and a map looks like the portrait of the night, as if heaven and earth had inverted … so it is peaceful , like outer space, a vastness of empty spots filled with clinking islands like stars.

Raiatea. Here’s where I reached again an edge. A need to sit down, sit on the ground and smell. I had a need for solitude and stay idle, quiet for a moment; because  live on a sailboat has been many things: games, people, languages ​​and landscapes… but above all, as been movement. So much movement that I haven’t went inside and see what is changing. Although I have periods of silence while sailing from one island to another… I’m mesmerized bye the ocean and its deepness, and when I wake up I’m already in another island… in another world.

I was thinking to write about how I ” decided ” to go on a boat; when I thought it was impossible, when one day I grabbed my backpack and went to the coast;  about how we made ​​the preparations and provisions for the trip;  or when I discovered this kind of life and the great stories and people I’ve met. I wanted to tell it from the beginning, in an order as my


brain to the methodology was telling me. Then I knew that not.  That my life is much more (or actually less) complex than a beginning or an order,  that sense of time was vanish on the waves.  So I start with this moment.  Now.

Today may not be an article with references, neither a validation of experts took place, and I’m full of “Bias”.  This time it’s only the first word. One word I write and I share about this extraordinary journey in the small island that many call “Earth”.