After two months of work in the US and 28 hours of flights and layovers, I’m back in New Zealand.

I spent most of my time working in San Diego with a great group of guys (and Janet) that I’d had the opportunity to work  with before leaving on the trip.  After a year of sailing, I was ready for the intellectual challenge of some difficult  work and the boat was definitely ready for some additional repair funds.  A 10-12 hour day in a fast-paced engineering  environment working on everything from EMI and signal integrity to systems engineering was a pretty abrupt change from the  average day in the tropics.  Luckily,  I was able to adjust to “real work”, wearing shoes, getting up to an alarm every  morning, and the daily commute without too much trouble and ended up enjoying the experience. In the end though, I didn’t  quite love it enough to give up the trip & all, and my boss Mike’s plan to sink the boat and keep me in San Diego was  thwarted by us putting the boat on the hard where it takes a 50 ton crane to get it back in the water, so here I am back in  NZ.

Fortunately, my trip wasn’t all work.  I had a chance to enjoy several good experiences including seeing my first Cubs  spring training game in Mesa with fellow Cubs fan Ken Leo and his son.  Thanks to Ken’s mom for being such a gracious host.   My friend James from my KU days invited me up to the San Francisco bay area to visit for my birthday.  His birthday is  within a few days of mine and February get-togethers with him and Steve have become a regular occurrence over the years.   James and Jen were great hosts as usual and made what would have otherwise been a somewhat lonely birthday pretty special.   I was also fortunate to be able to visit my little brother Tim in Wisconsin on a weekend that my Dad happened to be in town  for a conference as well.  Seeing Tim & Heather, my nephew Jackson, and niece Harper was probably the highlight of the  trip.  It’s hard to say too many good things about Tim.  He’s been great throughout the trip — sending us supplies to  Tahiti, Paypalling us dinners out on the town, and just generally being his supportive, good-natured, and humorous self.   Jackson and I have hit it off since the first time I held him as a newborn and he puked on me, and it was really something  to be able to hang out with the little guy now that he can carry a conversation.  I also got really lucky in having one of  my best friends living just over an hour from San Diego.  I spent several weekends on Kopan’s couch relaxing and swapping  yarns.  In addition to sharing the condo with me on weekends, he and Julia took me out mountain biking several times, which  was also a real highlight of the trip.

Seeing them all again definitely reminded me how tough it is to be away from family and friends.  A year away from them is  a long time, but it’s not as long as two months away from Lauren.  We definitely missed each other quite a bit, and  although we both got a lot done over the two months, I don’t see us opting to spend that kind of time apart again.  Given  the amount of time we’ve spent together over the last year and the year at sea we have coming up, I’m thinking it’s good  news that we’re both ready for more.


Hanging out in Piha

Hanging out in Piha


For now, Lauren and I are taking a couple days to relax, enjoy some time together, and maybe do a little sightseeing before  jumping into the last few weeks of preparations for our departure to Fiji.