A Journey of Self Discovery
by Alayne Main
reviewed by Elaine
"Will you marry
me and sail around the world?"
Little did Alayne
Main realize how her acceptance of this unusual marriage proposal
would alter her life. She had been married just two years when she
said goodbye to her medical career, her family and her friends to
honour this marriage promise to her husband. Three and a half years
later, they returned, changed in ways she never anticipated.
her book Sailing Promise, published by Base Camp Books this past
March, Alayne recounts the hair-raising experiences of this voyage,
an odyssey that was not only a physical test for herself and Alec,
as they battled the forces of nature, but an unexpected examination
of the strength of their love.
Despite the threat
of pirates, horrific storms at sea, a collision with a whale, and
the tremendous strain put on their relationship by their conflicting
reactions to these extreme situations, the couple accomplished their
dream and returned to Canada, their relationship still intact.
Born and raised
in Windsor, Alayne and Alec who grew up in Ottawa, are now land-locked
on the shores of Lake St. Clair near Puce. Alayne, who has resumed
her career as a doctor in between giving birth to two children,
now operates a medical practice in South Walkerville.
In her spare time,
she is promoting her book to help benefit anyone, sailor or not,
to appreciate that life is full of choices and who may be inspired
to take risks after reading about her experiences.
"When we decided
it was time to make the voyage," explains Alayne, "we waited until
the last minute to tell certain people because we didn't want them
to worry about us and try to talk us out of our decision. Some people
take years to prepare for the kind of voyage we took but we only
needed five months. If we had spent more time preparing, we may
have found reasons not to go!"
Alayne's book, I found I could appreciate the motivation for such
a journey but I constantly wondered how she could have endured day
after terrifying day in gale swept seas.
husband and I experienced many long and treacherous bus rides in
third world countries during our own year long journey backpacking
around the world, but I had never even remotely entertained the
idea of circumnavigating the globe in a small boat.
off the wave crests smashing into the troughs below, her rig shaking
violently. Inside, I anxiously listened to the hulls creaking and
the sea hammering her amidst a cacophony of sounds. My whole house
was flying through the air and then free falling, coming down with
a crash. Wave after wave she flew over. Everything shuddered and
shook. It was relentless."
At one part in
the journey, they are joined by Alec's dad who proves to be just
as fearless as Alec. Instead of feeling heartened by another hand
to help negotiate rough seas, Alayne's insecurities about herself
"̣I feel myself
weakening, crumbling and sick with fear. I'm disappointed in myself.
I thought I was made of pretty tough stuff but I have to accept
I'm not like the men. I'm just not cut out for thiṣ Regardless
of my choices, I just needed someone to comfort me, someone to hug
me and tell me it would be all right. Where was my daddy? Where
were my girlfriends when I needed them?"
Alayne would often
retreat to the solace of her bunk, where she would write in her
journal and cry.
"Alec came below
furious, 'What are you doing?' he asked rhetorically. He told me
I was acting as if I was crazy; that I wasn't making sense but I
couldn't stop the fear and the dread that was building inside me.
I told him I wanted out. I told him I would jump overboard. In a
rage, he ordered me, "You are doing no such thing!"
the weather would clear, it was almost as if a type of amnesia would
take over and Alayne would begin to forget how awful the passage
had been. But the nagging feeling that she had done some irreparable
damage to her relationship with Alec would linger.
As the journey
neared its end, Alayne and Alec finally learned how to communicate
with each other. They begin to comprehend that the things that had
attracted them to each other, Alec's romantic fearlessness and Alayne's
spunky competitiveness, were the things that were making the voyage
so difficult for them emotionally. Alayne learned how to live with
her fears and Alec learned not to let Alayne's emotional upsets
and I knew myself for the first time. I could see the character
traits that had driven me to keep my sailing promise and that might
make me yearn to do something similar again."
Alayne and Alec's
global odyssey was more than a trip around the world; it was an
exploration of each other and their place in that world. Sailing
Promise is a story of an incredible physical journey; and a metaphor
for the journey called life.