It's been over 9 months since I last stepped off the gangway and gave and received teary goodbyes and promises to meet up soon, but even now i get flashbacks of hanging off the yard with the sun setting on the evening of command day, as we all attempted to smile for the camera despite the awkward positions we had been in for ages and the fact that the majority of our beaming faces would be barely visible to the camera.
Though now as I look back on those memories part of them are blurred. I don't remember what we had for dinner every night or the the feeling of the helm under my nervous fingers. I like to think that I'll never forget the burning of my palms as I heaved on the sheet at 4am as we tacked the ship to avoid crashing into land. But if I ever do I will remember how grateful I am that todays technology exists. That I have Facebook pages filled with images taken of me, by me, or with me, photos of the incredible friends that I made, smiling under the unfurled sails, wearing our bucket hats and YE polo shirts. Any time I feel nostalgic I can open YouTube and find the video I made when I was 18 years old. A video filled with the punch line of jokes I've long forgotten, references that still make me grin, and the bright smiling faces of a watch that I shared the hardships of running a ship with, that I complained with as the other watches went down to dinner first and celebrated with as we were called first.
When I'm older and my children start to turn 16, I'll sit them down and delve into this old webpage, or rummage around a hard drive I hadn't opened in a decade. I'll show them the photos of the crew and the video that contains my 18 year old self and I'll explain about this big beautiful boat and smile along with the kids on the screen knowing that the lessons I learnt on this trip had affected me all through my life.
Then hopefully my kids will turn to me and I'll tell them that the ballot opened today we'll return once more to that website. That after a couple months I'll be able to step back onto that gangway and hug my kids, knowing they are about to head off on an incredible adventure and try to smother my jealousy as the ship pulls away from the wharf.