No, I really mean it.
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You’re going to miss …
…the moment you were invited to come on your first Yacht Week (YW), realized how opposite it would be from a typical monsoon, and then decided not to pass judgement unless you tried it at least once (or twice). You’ll then miss all the introduction e-mails, pre-orientations, trying to find 8 decent looking swimsuits, more orientations, wondering how to pack regular clothes with a week of elegant costuming and no suitcase, keeping track of all the chat groups, trip updates, new apps, feeling disorientated by who’s saying what, and yet a burgeoning anticipation of what could possibly happen in a week with 34 seemingly both random and hand-picked strangers sailing the Tyrrhenian Sea.
. . . But deep down, we secretly knew the universe was up to something.
You’re going to miss …the anxiety of packing for your first trip since the pandemic, paired with the sudden travel declaration changes in the EU, tripled by the chaotic weather patterns right before you left, and oh yes more anxiety of whether you’d even arrive at all, to finally reach the odd revelatory feeling of witnessing dominoes fall into place when you defeated insurmountable odds as the Red Sea seemingly parted before you. And through it all, you’ll miss the gradual appreciation for the growing message threads that would tie us together, mirroring your own yearning for a novelty that had been eclipsed by the pandemic; threads that drew from wandering hearts of wonder, as we took our initial steps towards liberation knowing sweet is never as sweet without the sour.
You’re going to miss …landing at your final destination and seeing faces you only had known from Zoom calls, breaking the ice in shared cabs, not sure how to turn down maggot-infused cheese and giving in anyway, exchanging plates of food with a group of complete strangers for your first group dinner in a foreign country in months, the taste of fresh gelato after as you walked up and down a single boulevard of unbroken dreams and new promises, feeling both lost and found as camaraderie built in a noisy suite at the after-after party before you passed out in your last stationary bed on land for the week.
You actually might not miss the flash floods that overwhelmed the roads the next day while waiting to be checked in as you fought off panicked sewer roaches the size of your palm to rescue your luggage, while considering prematurely inflating your floaties to escape …that was not fun. But the brightest rainbows come only after a storm, and you will miss the first walk down the aisle of yachts as the weather cleared, dodging awkwardness as you picked your coffin ..ahem room.. for the week, filled up the cabinets of your new home, celebrating the birthday of the most sober birthday girl in the world, before getting dressed for your first night out to meet the rest of TYW fleet. You’ll also miss what was supposed to be a wholesome night became something entirely alternative with …lots of whipped cream … as you then returned back to the marina with no time wasted to party more, all the while making sure we’d be united in setting our boundaries for the days to come.
You’re going to miss …waking up to footsteps on the deck above you as your skipper prepared for first sail, then really waking up to the Lion King theme blasted from the stereo, before ascending to the open sea, and embracing the long awaited feeling of physical, emotional, and spiritual freedom as a sun-kissed wind enveloped your naked skin for the first time. You’re going to miss the first dive into open waters, swimming (or learning to swim) with your new friends, spending way too long and feeling like your arms were going to fall off from inflating floaties for the first time, tasting freshly curated meals onboard as land approached, and feeling a new kind of alive as you watched the La Maddalena archipelago growing larger before you.
You’ll probably get nostalgic over docking at all-day cafés that rarely understood the concept of iced coffee, the 18th-century town exploration, your first e-bike ride of unknown destination, and tending to monsooners’ injuries as you begin the habit of picking them up after they fall. You’ll even miss how you got dressed in an outfit entirely made of sequins for a dockside disco party only to bring the party back for a yacht against yacht dance-off, after which, you first discovered the illuminating sensation of chatting until sunrise.
You’re going to miss …the next morning’s northward drift towards new countries, approaching the unique natural coastlines of Corsica, snorkeling to shore with fresh sea urchins in hand, cliff-diving into a lagoon, the unraveling of a timeless seaport as you dock in the marina of Bonifacio and the group fights another to hijack an entire train to the top of the citadel.
You’re also be sure to reminisce over long walks through the antiquing town and cemeteries with no plan other than bringing back a semblance of a monsoon, before the following dinner and afterparty where we’d be bringing down the house with endless bottle service. You’ll then miss returning for our first group card-game during which arms were cleaned and truths, connections, and shades of attractions would be established and remodeled. And then you might remember witnessing some toxic masculine rage from afar while thanking your lucky stars you didn’t have to worry about anyone like that in your crew.
You’re going to miss …waking up (nahhhzavenya) to a day entirely on open water, the epic atmosphere of competing amongst 21 yachts sailing side by side during the Regatta, which led to an injury requiring you to care for another fellow monsooner with a yet unnamed medicine bag that hadn’t been used in nearly 7 years. You’ll miss docking at an inlet near Maddalena for a day-long festival of swimming down a tunnel of blow-up pizzas, lobsters, eggplants, and llamas, crossing onto other yachts to meet those you may have noticed but were too preoccupied to approach, both synchronized and unsynchronized diving, devouring another delicious dinner with your yacht before returning to the festivities, getting down to bhangra, rescuing your life-jacket adorned friends from the water and other yachts, teaching your friends how to swim, enjoying music and chats beneath the stars, and falsely believing you could finally go to bed early for once, only to have a shooting star tell you “not today.”
And when you look back on that night afterwards, you will realize we are just a culmination of the tiniest decisions — dare I say seemingly random meteor shower moments — that had felt at the time as if they neither would matter nor add up . . . until they do.
You’re going to miss …being woken up (pass me those caffeine pills?) to pose for a long-planned black swimsuit shoot with the entire group, before arriving in Poltu Qualtu for an entire day at the beach club where “The Spy Who Loved Me” was filmed. You’ll miss flipping your circadian rhythms with the DJ’s tempo, this time underneath a garish sun while balancing friends and glasses on body parts in ways you didn’t think possible, followed by hours of intimate questions over hookah, and an impromptu concert where everyone huddled around one monsooner like a Sofar by Sea, singing Hallelujah in harmony as people on the dock joined in and cheered (with a touch of envy). What followed after was the repeat of a card game with a group getting to know one another just a little bit better, where newer, more intimate truths were divulged. Or maybe you wish you could forget this part (But I won’t).
You’re going to miss …waking up roping the yachts together for the epic circle raft YW is known for, the last dives in unison at the drop of “Peanut Butter Jelly,” the odyssey of floaties in one final run, the impromptu last minute makeshift wound-dressing that MacGyver’s your way into the water of your first and last floating festival, joining our yachts together again for a Mexican fiesta onboard before sailing among the super yachts of the Rolex Cup, learning Queen B was somewhere in attendance, and docking in Porto Cervo for a free day of cafés, shopping, and a serendipity that lead to wakeboarding on a million dollar yacht.
And while you’ll certainly miss Beyonce, you’ll sadly also be unable to miss the lamest seemingly never-ending dinner you’ve ever been to at an otherwise swanky nightclub, when you realized you wouldn’t even have done dinner at a nightclub back home…yeah, that was dumb. But then again, you’ll still miss the liberation of leaving the party earlier than all the rest, to return home and chat into the wee hours of the morning over cigars and under lightning-streaked skies.
You’re going to miss …staying up for sunrise again, before sleeping in afterwards through a storm that threatened to throw you from your seabed and hoping you wouldn’t wake up underwater, somehow arriving back at your base marina with the frenzy of squaring away last minute items, repacking, atoning for your sins, and going out for one last gelato in town before returning to dress all in white (which you’d surely stain) for the closing party.
And while you may have missed the background hum of violins building up to the final party, you will definitely miss everything about this night of mayhem as unfolded in real-time: the dancing inside the brightest-lit nightclub you’ve ever been to, the final group photos, a symphony of murmurs that cushioned the DJ’s beats, the pirouetting circles in unison, the furtive glances across the room, the catharsis of sea winds that dried sweat and tears as the Perseids twinkled above, and the brief words exchanged between embraces that meant something; a whisper of truth in our ears.
This is where I’ll break the fourth wall and say I’m going to miss the moment (yes I remember everything) of being immediately picked up when I fell and hit my head on a rock wall, nurtured back to life by a group of once-strangers I could call a family especially after the loss of my own during the pandemic.
I’m going to go all in here and say I’m really, really, really going to miss even the idea itself of being taken care of by a family— a concept which had been elusive to me since childhood; you have no idea how much that meant to me. What an odd feeling I didn’t know I had needed. Thank you.
You’re going to miss …the romanticism of looking back on the “last night” even before it was over for a group who bonded so quickly and so much, seeing the threads that bound chance and possibility unravel through a multitude of the tiniest leaps of faith, held together by the underlying support we had for one another, and the literal ‘dancing in the rain’ in between it all. You’ll miss the cab ride back to the marina calling out to people not even in the car with you before the last after-after party where even our once playfully main competitor (the Swiss Boat) carried their speakers to us for the first time. You’ll then miss bringing the house down together with one unifying denouement where every underlying plot-line the past week would converge into a single moment as if we were all in some 90s movie or a particular music video, compelled to recognize a dance of letting go and becoming part of the refrain around you, with no expectations or security of what the next “tbd” step would be.
And you’ll miss how a single night could release a lifetime of self-doubt as if it were a cloudburst in the sky, or how a single night could melt away the chains of insecurities as they passed through us like fleeting waves sent off into the ocean eternal, finally guiding us to recognize that we may be worth the realization of our own personal legends and to dare to live the life that we’ve always wanted. And just like those teen movies or a nostalgia-laden music video, we learned that while we may have playfully chanted “all I need — is your love tonight,” the irony was that we actually never needed it …because we already had each other’s all along.
You’re going to miss …realizing how life isn’t a journey or a rush to a particular conclusion: It’s a dance, and it’s important for us to recognize that before we’re missing these moments imprinted in our minds. But even then, a feeling will stay with you long after the laughter dies down, the rain and tear drops fall, that last sunrise from the marina, that last sunset from the airport, and when you say your goodbyes and “see you again.” Your heart will continue to pine after the emotion that moves you still, like some sort of land-sickness long after you’ve left the sea. For regardless of whether the following reunions the weeks after would conjure up the spirit of what we had or what could have been, you’re going to miss returning home knowing that very moment a needle has shifted, where once familiar things gain new dimensions.
It is therefore now only up to you to keep this momentum going, knowing that the very people you will miss most of all may have arrived inadvertently into your life this week not only “to have the best week ever,” but also to renew each other’s sense of purpose and possibility, beating ceaselessly against the memories of a past we’d certainly never want to forget, and dreams of a future. . . .
… one we’d certainly never want to miss.