Leisure with Purpose

by Jen Pate

What does leisure mean to you?

Maybe it’s hanging out with friends, reading a book, surfing, sailing, going for a hike, chilling at the beach, snowboarding…the list goes on.

The truth of the matter is that whatever you enjoy doing – it’s really important.

Don’t get me wrong; what you choose to do in your 9 to 5 (or whatever your “work” hours may be) should be really valuable and important to you as well.

But, what we choose to do in our 5 to 9…our so-called “free time” is just as essential. Although some are lucky enough to earn a living from jobs that mirror their passions – what we choose to do when we aren’t working is a great indicator of who we are.

The Happy Shop

What is Leisure with Purpose?

It’s important to realize that in everything we do – work and leisure – we can change our impact on the world from negative to positive. For the most part, being good to others, the world and ourselves makes us feel good. Good = good…pretty simple really. But sometimes the actions that we need to take in order to shift from being the problem to the solution can seem unclear or overwhelming. Mitch and I wanted to offer a unique experience for anyone who was looking to explore this transition with other people in a new environment.

We decided to design a series of adventures called Leisure with Purpose that would help people explore the different things we enjoy and how we can make them meaningful in simple and straightforward ways. In February, we were excited to hold the first of this adventure series onboard Pangaea Exploration’s 72-ft vessel, Sea Dragon. We had a small but mighty crew, some long-term sailors and others completely new to the sport.

Over the course of a week, we sailed from Antigua to St Barth’s, Île Forchue and St Martin. On every island, we took the time to explore and experience the local environment and unique culture. We were faced with some very interesting weather as we set sail from Antigua, which threw our new sailors in at the deep end!

“I did not realize just how much I was going to gain from this trip! One day we were tethering to the boat during a punchy squall, testing our recently acquired sailing skills. The next, we were basking in the sun and watching sea turtles swim playfully around the boat” – Participant

Over the week we hiked, sailed, snorkeled, surfed, swam and adventured our way along the route. We saw no shortage of amazing things on both land and water; from the start of the Caribbean 600 to dolphins and sea turtles, from a stunning sunrise on a deserted island to the clearest stars as we navigated our way from island to island.

Hiking to Shirley Heights in Antigua to watch the start of the Caribbean 600

We learnt so much from our Skipper and First Mate, Eric & Shanley. From knots to nautical terms, from helming to hauling lines, from secret hiking routes to the best hot sauces. We cooked, cleaned, sailed and lived together for a week getting to know each other and our new floating home – Sea Dragon – as she took us safely from one island to the next.

There is nothing quite like living aboard, even if it’s for a short while. It’s a life defined by self-sufficiency, reliance, and trust in your fellow crewmembers, it has an off-grid nature to it (if you allow yourself to “hang up and hang out”) and above all, it gives you a sense of true freedom. Your home goes where you choose, everything you need is there with you, and it’s just your backyard that changes. It’s one of the most incredible lifestyles I’ve experienced.

Sunrise Hike, Île Forchue

What’s in a conversation?

“I came away from my experience on Sea Dragon understanding how important the proper setting is to have an impactful conversation” – Participant

I always say you never know the impact you have on others. A simple conversation can completely change the way that another person understands and interprets the world. It can also help them to explore other ideas, approaches, and actions – that might lead to a significant change in the way they live their life.

Or it might not…and that’s ok.

The whole idea behind Leisure with Purpose was to provide a new environment for a group of strangers to come together in recreation and “re-creation”. Yes, we definitely spent a significant amount of our time on the recreation piece – but as the name of the trip indicates, it is when we balance our leisure with a sense of purpose that meaningful change can happen.

Through a series of workshops, or as I prefer to call them – conversations – we spent the week exploring the diverse interpretations and manifestations of “sustainability” – in a personal, business, community and global context.

Sunrise sail from Antigua to St Barth’s

Now, by no means were we approaching this like we had (or now have) all the answers. Actually, it was quite the opposite. In many ways, it was about opening ourselves up to the overwhelming complexity of the current world situation with regards to diverse issues of environmental and social responsibility in order to navigate what our role can be and in many ways recognizing ourselves as agents of change.

In our explorations and conversations, I think we really began to understand that there are plenty of ways that we can be a part of the solution, rather than remaining a part of the problem.  We are looking forward to running more of these trips, growing the Leisure with Purpose family. To learn more visit www.loveyourgreats.com and www.lifeofleisure.org

Arriving in to Île Forchue

“My experience on the boat did two things simultaneously; it opened my eyes, through the workshops and conversations, to the scale and scope of the issues outside my day-to-day routine while reinforcing my appreciation, through sailing, for the intricate beauty and interconnectedness in our natural world” – Participant

“This trip opened my eyes to the beauty of our oceans and the impact we have on them.  I left the trip feeling inspired to play a larger role in the health of our water systems and signed up for my next adventure aboard the Sea Dragon” – Participant

“If you have been out on Sea Dragon, you’ll know there is nothing like being on the Ocean with new people, experiencing different places and adventures together. If you’ve been considering going on one of these adventures but haven’t yet signed up – do it. You will never regret your time at Sea” – Participant