As we sat in the cockpit of our little sailboat two years ago, watching the Sea of Cortez ebb and flow beneath us, and seeing our grand adventure nearing its inevitable end, Katie asked me: “If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?” In truth, we asked ourselves this question almost every day of that sailing journey, for that was really at the heart of the decision to take the trip in the first place. It was a chance to start over, to regain control of the trajectory of our lives: to begin the controlled jibe.
I thought long and hard and searched for an answer. Naturalist and boatbuilder were high on the list, but growing plants is what I kept coming back to. So for the past two years, I’ve slowly worked toward finding that perfect nursery job. I got to be a naturalist for a summer in Alaska, and I got the incredible opportunity to work on boats for the last seven months (thank you again Craig). And just when I was thinking that I would work on boats for the rest of my days, grow out my beard and become the grizzled old shipwright (thank you for what you taught me this year Matt) that I admire so, a nursery job appeared.
Katie bumped into a friend of a friend, and told her that even though the posting was already closed, I should call them up and chat. A few interviews later, and I am now the propagation and production manager at Cloud Mountain Farm Center, one of the most innovative and respected nurseries in the region. Education, varietal testing and experimentation with new growing techniques help provide a model for other up and coming farms and farmers. We have vineyards and orchards that I help tend. I am learning how to stick twigs in the dirt and end up with a greenhouse full of plants. And most importantly, I am learning the art of grafting trees.
So career wise, I have a feeling that this could be the final jibe, the place where I retire from. I can still be a naturalist on my own time in the back 40, and perhaps sooner than later I’ll start building a boat of my own. I’ll plant an oak for the keel, a fir for the planks, and a spruce for the mast. I know where to get them cheap.
We participated in the Simple Saturdays Blog Hop.
Congrats Mark. Sounds like the perfect port, so to speak. Please keep you and Katie’s story coming. Much enjoyed by your friends and followers. Plan to come and see you all the next time we come over to your area when the weather is decent!!! Or maybe before then. Best of luck to all, Sue and RogerB, Rubyacht II crew.
Thanks guys! We are both finding our groove here back on land and loving life. It would be so great to see you two out here on your next trip. You can bet most days the weather is a bit warmer over here in comparison to Montana…..maybe not by much today! Miss you guys!
– Katie and Mark
Great photos and great writing as usual! I have to apologize for not checking your blog in a while. I really enjoyed the last few posts!
Mark, congrats on finding the fulfilling job. It’s been a while, so I’d say the ‘newness’ has worn off. It’s great to hear that you’re still excited about it.
Last weekend I hung out with Stormy and Emily. They talked about coming up to visit you in the January time frame. We’ll see. I’ll most likely be giving them a ride from the ferry terminal, so I’ll let know if I can get them to firm up their plans.
Thanks Chris! Still excited as ever in fact. And speaking of getting together, that plum wine is probably about ready for some sampling…. We hope you’re keeping warm and cozy on the water.
– Mark and Katie
One of the problems in life is that people tend to fall into a job and way of life rather than going after what they really want. You have gone after the dream and you look like you have found it.
Our dream was sailing around the world and after five years we are still loving it.
We wish you all the best for the future and one day invite us aboard that boat you will build.
Thanks Mark! We just checked out your blog and…wow! Really, wow! You guys are doing amazing things – and have a fabulous website and blog. We’ll be following along for sure – and you will absolutely have an invite on our next boat…..it may be a bit smaller than Cygnus though…. 🙂
– Katie and Mark
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