Looking back at where Barry and I started, I can almost hear the Star Wars theme playing in the background and see the opening text rolling up the screen!
A long time ago in a country far, far away...
SAILING A B SEA
How it all began...
In the early 1980s Barry and I worked for two different banks on the Wirral in North West England. We were sent on “day release” to college once a week to be educated on everything we needed to know to be upstanding bankers and in a first floor classroom of that college is where we first met.
It didn’t take long before Baz and I began talking, to discover that neither of us wanted to continue as bankers, but longed for adventure. I discovered that he had a love of music and had been a DJ in the evenings since he was 15 years old, while I was the artist, who had been painting since I could hold a brush. It should come as no surprise really, that neither of us could envisage spending our lives working within the restrictive environment of financial institutions.
Baz, the forward thinking guy that he is, had already begun preparing to spend the following year in the South of France, working as a DJ in Port Grimaud, near St Tropez, where a contact said he may be able to pick up work at a large beachside campsite there. Barry said he and a group of his friends were saving up to make the journey and as soon as I heard that, I voted myself in on the adventure!
One year later, Barry and I were the only two who had continued to save, and were ready to depart on the planned date. Most of our friends and family warned us of the dire consequences of leaving our secure, well paid jobs at a time when unemployment in the UK had just hit 1 million. However, not being put off by other people’s fears we left anyway, and our nine month stay in France was fabulous. It was a mix of carefree fun, youthful exploration and an opportunity to meet people from all walks of life as they holidayed in the area.
At the end of the holiday season we returned to the UK, to be persuaded to purchase our own home by Barry’s dad who I think used it as an excuse to keep us in England so Baz could learn all about his dad’s company. We still had itchy feet the next season though, so we returned to France, only to have to go back to the UK three weeks later after we realised we couldn’t pay the UK house mortgage and sustain ourselves in the south of France.
We were pretty flattened by having our carefree lifestyle curtailed but did our best to settle into a regular daily routine to pay for the house. However, after about a year our relationship broke down and we went our separate ways. Looking back, we both agree that the strength of wanderlust we each contained caused too much inner conflict as we tried to play ‘house’, when our spirits simply wanted freedom. I tried to be the perfect housewife, while Baz became so focused on his job, that eventually our soul connection just got stifled.
Breaking apart was probably a godsend.
Both of us have shared how we dealt with being without the other:
I pretended Baz had never existed, but got married on the rebound in some fluffy attempt to make up for failing at my partnership with Barry. I honestly blame reading too many Mills & Boon romances when I was a wide eyed teenager for that skewed logic. When my marriage failed, as it eventually had to, not long after, I found myself thrown onto a spiritual journey. This began many years of soul searching for me, which outwardly took the form of daily yoga, meditation, tarot reading and a vegetarian lifestyle for seven years. The traveller in me never departed however, and with a new companion, I toured around the UK, to Greece, eventually spending time in California before going out to Australia where I settled down for the next twenty six years.
Barry on the other hand, wrote off his car in a bad accident shortly after our break up, and ended up with a one year ban on driving. Taking his bruises and wounded heart to a country where he could still drive and also work, Baz found himself in Tenerife in the Canary Islands rocking holiday makers till the early hours of every morning as a DJ. Barry preferred a different brand of spirit than I did, and the next twelve years he lived the life of a rock star, literally partying hard with sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. Marriage for Baz did occur while on the Rock (the name Tenerife is fondly known by those who live there), yet this didn’t interfere with his rock star lifestyle.
Oddly enough, we both travelled to California at a similar time and our paths nearly met, but we were destined to stay apart for those twelve years. We reckon it is probably due to the fact that our lifestyles were so incompatible at the time, if we had stayed together, it would have destroyed the innocent love that we had for each other. How Barry dealt with not being with me was different to mine; while I tried to pretend I’d never known him, he told every major girlfriend that he was still waiting for me.
So there we were, on opposite sides of the planet, both exploring life at opposite ends of a lifestyle spectrum.
How would we ever get back together?
I had a dream. Literally a dream!
Now, I always pay attention to my dreams because I’ve learned (since dreaming at ten years old that my dad was going to die just before he did) that dreams can give you pertinent information.
The dream I had was about Barry, and I was so concerned for him when I awoke that I immediately got his phone number from his mother and rang him in Tenerife. He had gone through a massive internal shift himself and was living on his own, struggling with his DJ lifestyle that had previously been one big party for him. After a few weeks of long phone conversations (I’ll bet our phone companies loved us), I ended up flying out to see him for a week.
Now here’s the thing; neither of us had ever wanted children. And yet there we were, driving to his house from the airport, immediately gushing to each other about marriage, children, the whole house and white picket fence dream. It’s almost embarrassing telling you about it! I must admit, I’d decided that before getting into any long term relationship again, I’d become clear about the type of fellow I wanted to spend my life with – if that fellow existed – and had a considerable list of qualities I wanted in the guy. One stipulation was that he must have a working knowledge of John Gray’s book, “Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”. I couldn’t believe it when I saw Baz had a copy on his table.
We spent the next seven days getting to know each other all over again and realised that even though we’d blurted out some bizarre idealistic dream on the way from the airport, we did actually want to be together and start a family.
Barry proposed and I accepted, and he gave me the signet ring with the cubic zirconium that I’d bought him on his 21st birthday, until he could give me a proper engagement ring. It was all very romantic and while we both loved Tenerife, I persuaded him that Australia was a far better place to bring up a family. We reminisced about that a few weeks ago, and Barry shared that he was also happy that we’d settled down in Australia. This large, beautiful continent is filled with opportunities, good people and such a safe and healthy way of life (compared to many), that it is a brilliant country for a child to grow up in.
Barry and I were married on 14th February 1998 and Luke was born in October of the same year.
As neither of us had family over here, we chose to settle in one place while Luke was growing up, so he would be able to make good, long term friends.
He has done that, and at nineteen years old, Luke moved into a share house with three of them in Brisbane. He has a car, a job and is healthy and happy, choosing to stay in Australia to see how life opens up for him.
Baz and I on the other hand, recently decided to release ourselves from the promise of a settled life now Luke is a young man on his own life journey. We have sold our Australian home and are now on the next chapter, where we learn to sail, buy a yacht and see where life takes us.
Big thanks to Lea and Sonia from the Glasshouse & Maleny Country News for a very nice 'in profile' write up about our new life adventure.