On our second season in the Bahamas we had been lucky enough to meet a few other couples, like us, who had used their collective mid-life crisis to take the family cruising. Just as we had last year, they were struggling with the issue of whether to keep going south or come back to the U.S. And just like us, they seemed to have absolutely no idea what they wanted to do when they got back.

The last thing you want to do after making a major change in your life is to jump right back in where you left off. We had thought that during our journey a final destination would appear magically in front of us, but in the end Chattanooga--our obvious comfort zone--seemed like the most appealing place to settle. Although we risk slipping back into the same routines that drove us away in the first place, the same would probably be true elsewhere. For reasons that probably have no basis in logic, it seems important to "close the circle" by going back to our point of origin.

There's no question that we have to go somewhere and earn some money--the once bottomless cruising kitty, the proceeds of selling our house, are almost exhausted. We're running on fumes, so we are going home. In fact, we've been on the way home since we left George Town. Whenever I get grumpy about having "only" one or two more months of cruising left, feeling the pressure of a deadline in my future, I run into people on a conventional vacation who think having a full week is a blessing. Of course, they're right. What an amazing, incredible gift we have been given to be able to take a cruise like this one!

As we rejoin our intrepid sailors, they are in Boot Key Harbor, where in some respects their journey began only 14 months previously...but of course it seems like a lifetime ago to them now.

Photo: Here's the entire cruise as the chartplotter sees it, with all 500 or so waypoints shown from Maine to the D.R.

Copyright © 2007 by Rodger Ling. All rights reserved.