All Of The Feelings


I bet you all have been thinking, 'wow. Megan hasn't talked about her feelings in awhile'. Where's the crying in bars?  Where's the meowing?  I mean...could she possibly be turning into a well adjusted adult?  Nope. 

I am having all of the feelings. 

I figure, what's better than 'writing it out'?!

I hesitate to write about work in this lovely space. Which may seem incredibly stupid considering it's all I actually seem to write about. In all honesty though, I keep lots of important details to what ship I'm actually on...who my employment agency is...etc.  This is going to be an incredibly vague post, and for that I apologize greatly. 

When my ship was reflagged I struggled to find a new guys know this part. I looked high and low...and some may argue that I could have looked lower but, really?!  Who wants to look lower?!  

What I discovered when I was ship-less was that I had no seniority. I had been working for a company for years - they had no ship for me. I had been in the same group of people looking for work since I graduated (ahem, nine years ago). They too had no ship for me. 

I felt like I was on a fast track. I had been moving up right on schedule throughout my career. I really and truly thought there'd be a captains job for me in the next 1.5 years. 

Instead of looking lower and instead of borrowing money I made a drastic change.  I moved somewhere I felt I could build seniority.

When I lost my ship - and realized I had no seniority - it was almost sad to get my Captains license.

I shipped out as Second Mate. I'm happy to be here and lucky for me I've always enjoyed this position. I enjoy being the navigator. Not having to listen to bitching sailors and overtime disputes first thing in the morning as Chief Mate...I don't miss that. 

Except. You knew there was a but. 

I feel like I'm going backwards. It feels like everything I busted ass for just flew out the door. It's gone. I'm back to square one. 

Here I am, essentially starting over at the exact moment I've hit my ultimate goal. Where's the fanfare?  Where's the red carpet?  Where's the golden egg?

I know what you're thinking. You're young!  You've got tons of time ahead of you!  You're right...and sure, I'll sail Chief Mate again...and sure maybe even Captain. Except that's probably now years in the making. 

Here's what it truly boils down to. I'm a lady sailor. It's hard not to feel like my time at sea has an expiration date. Years in the making?  That would have worked just fine for me....five years ago. 

There's nothing to be done about it. Curve ball. So, I'll just enjoy my time. Hard to complain about cruising up the Yangtze River and eating Soba in Okinawa. What else is life but an adventure?


30x30 :: Go Hot Air Ballooning




Going hot air ballooning was a big deal. When I called my Girl Cousin and asked her if she wanted to do this trip with me (cause you know...birthday buddies...) I said, 'I'm not going on a budget. I'm staying in a nice hotel...and I'm going on a balloon still in?'. She was in - so we booked our balloon ride with Napa Valley Balloons. Nautie Friends, they get an A+, yo. A big 'ole fat perfect score.

Our ballooning adventure is what you might call: giving up is for losers.

Originally, our platypus tour and balloon adventure were in conjunction with eachother - we'd be whisked away from our post balloon ride champagne breakfast to go on a wine tasting tour - or at least that's what I imagined...

We woke up briiight and early on our first day in Napa and were picked up at our hotel (it was still dark out kind of early). We got to the balloon check in point and to say that the staff of NVB (Napa Valley Balloons) was friendly is an absolute understatement.

Any which way, we take off for our balloon launch site. The balloons are there - they're getting filled up - the sun is making them look magical - we get assigned a balloon - we literally run for our balloon - and then it got windy.


I was literally laying in the basket (which is on its side) to help provide a little weight. The balloon is filling up - as in the burner is going and so are the fans. Take off was imminent - I mean, other balloons were drifting past our location (flown by other ballooning companies).



....and then the day was cancelled due to wind speeds. Wop Wop. It was surreal. We looked at each other and said, 'did that really just happen?'.

Perk? We got to watch them roll the balloons back up and there was a cute little dog who clearly knew the drill!


Thank goodness we had some wine tasting in our future because it did detract a bit from our horrible let down.

I'd also like to mention that I appreciate when things are cancelled due to safety concerns. You cancel anytime you like NVB! Don't you worry about those other balloons in the air! I'm happy to trust the judgement of an experienced pilot...must be the sailor in me...

But listen friends, is that anyway to WIN?! One day of high wind and you let it lie? Glad you're with me because it's NOT!

We rescheduled and woke up again at the butt crack of dawn! Day two. Hungover as all get out (thanks Platypus!) - we climbed back into the van for a ballooning adventure.


This is the only photo I have our day two adventure because the decision was made to ground the balloons as we pulled into the parking lot. I must admit we were a tad under the weather so going back to bed wasn't sounding too awful.

As we were driving through the Valley I turned to Girl Cousin and said, 'you know we could try one more time....I know you fly out in the morning but we could literally drive ourselves to the parking lot and head straight to the airport after we land....I mean we could...'. She said, 'let's do it!' so, I called NVB and asked to be put on the schedule one more our favorite pilot Bob's balloon of course.

Hence, day three in Napa commenced. With an early morning jaunt to Domaine Chandon with our fingers crossed!


Guess what? We actually went on a balloon ride! It was so different than I thought. Do you know that you really can't steer a balloon? You can go up and down - and the rest is up to the wind. Jeez, how symbolic is a balloon ride? Maybe a little like life, no?




Wanna know how sassy all that ballooning made me? I'm going again. Wanna know why? It was a tad cloudy on Day 3. Listen, I had some epic photos planned - don't get me wrong I got some good ones (over 350 in fact) but, I want to see a gilded Napa Valley - and I will!



Alright, I know what you're thinking. If you can't steer it how do you land? Well, I believe the answer is that you hope to have a decent pilot. We literally landed on a strip of gravel next to the highway. For realsies. We kind of skidded a long and then stopped. Then the 'chase crew' tries to get all the air out of the balloon as fast as they can. (I also forgot to mention that part - while we're in the air there is a team in a truck that shadows us - like storm chasers - might be a fun job!)



By opening the flap at the top they're able to quickly dump the hot air from the balloon. Then they kind of stretch it out. If you stand in front of it you can feel the heat coming out in waves (it makes for good pictures, too).



There you have it friends. A balloon ride. An 'effin BALLOON RIDE!


What? Oh, you'd like to see more photos? No problem! There are hundreds!

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In case you'd like more Napa Love you can read about Day One and Two but clearly, I've been saving the best for last! A mini disclaimer: as I rang in The Flirty Thirty I was feeling a little uncertain about what to do with my 30x30 List. Then I thought, 'it's not over till it's over'. I've got a whole year of being thirty ahead of me folks. It's not over. Be looking for more 30x30 posts! I think the balloon ride adventures let me know that 'settling' isn't always the best option. Do more! See more! Be more!

A Little Feminism + Nautie Books = Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Every now and then we talk a little bit about feminism around here.  This week I stumbled across some gems on the internet so, ready for a little more feminist talk?  First of all, Happy 50th Birthday to the Equal Pay Act!   I stumbled across this TEDTalk that blew my mind because - Yes!  This!

I often wonder why after women have had equal rights - and all the fighting women did for equal rights - women didn't rise to the top quicker.

Why is it that in 8 years of sailing I've had one female captain (out of about 20)?  Why have I had only one female pilot (out of more pilots than I could possibly count)?  Why is it when I work in the office there are no women heading up operations (there are many women in the office but very few in vessel specific positions)?  Why do I feel like I am either sailing with withering ovaries or quitting?  Why don't I think I can make it work?

Over a year ago I attended The Women on the Water Conference.  It was held at one of the State Maritime Academies and it was designed to introduce female midshipmen to female professionals in the maritime industry.  It was excellent.  One of my friends was leading a discussion on appropriate shipboard conduct and tips for shipboard success but, at the end of her discussion she threw something in for the ladies who were already in the industry.  She said:  Don't eat the young.

It really stuck with me because, she was right.  We eat the young.  Women have a tendency to be tough on each other.  If there is one thing we can do as women in the maritime industry it's to help each other achieve success.

Women are hard on each other but news flash - Men are hard on women too.  We were talking about a Chic out on a Rig.  A Dude says, 'I don't mind working with her - she's okay'.  Dear Lady Friend looks at me and says, 'You know what that means right?  She's awesome.'.

I'm about to let the cat out of the bag.  I feel like this is a secret I have guarded.  My vessels nickname in the fleet is the Xyz Estrogen (xyz is my companies understand...).  We have all female officers:  Chief Mate, Second Mate, Third Mate.  We'll all be going back for our third rotation together.  Nautie Friends, let me tell you, this is unheard of.  All female officers for multiple rotations?!  Mind Blowing.

I haven't said anything about it because it shouldn't be a big deal.  The first woman graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in 1975!  It should blow no one's mind that a ship could have multiple female deck officers.....but it does.  It blows everyone's mind.

As I have moved up in rank I have started to feel an overwhelming degree that I must be mindful of my obligation to mentor.  If I don't stop and take the time to mentor who will?  If I don't remind myself not to eat the young will they all be eaten?  Most importantly, if I don't recognize that I have something to teach - will I teach?

I'd also like to stop right here and reiterate that I think having a choice as a women is a powerful thing.  I would never, ever presume to know what was best for someone's family or child.  I am in no way advocating that rising to the top of the leadership pyramid is the best choice for everyone!

Without further ado, I'd like to introduce June's Nautie Books Selection:

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Please join me in reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.  I've already begun and have nodded my head and wanted to say, 'amen sister!' more than once.

When a girl tries to lead, she is often labeled bossy.  Boys are seldom called bossy because a boy taking the role of a boss does not surprise or offend.  As someone who was called this for much of my childhood, I know that it is not a compliment.

Oh.My.God.Yes.  I have been called bossy my entire life...and have never once thought of it as a positive.

I was at a friends wedding with a gaggle of Maine Maritime and Coast Guard Academy Grads.  We were all throwing out suggestions and getting wedding preparations underway.  My dear lady friend said, 'I love that there are so many natural leaders here!!!'.  She wasn't being facetious - she didn't want us to quit bossing her around - she was honestly impressed!  At that moment I was impressed.  All I could think was, I'm not sure I'd like to be surrounded by so many bossypants for too much longer!  I shouldn't have been impressed - I should have embraced the bossy.

I'll be reading this book for many reasons:  I don't want to eat the young...and, I want to become a better leader....and, I want to embrace the bossy.....and, I believe that there is a work / life balance that I can achieve....and, I want to promote other women in the industry....and because I'm tired of being so hard on myself!

I realize that Nautie Books is beginning to have a poor track record!  I didn't debriefed April or May's book selection!  What can I say - I'm struggling to find a work / life balance (*wink*)!

Ladies and Gentlemen, let's Lean In! 

image via


Rhiannon the Conquerer!  

Nautie Friends,

Do you know that my cousin Rhiannon has participated (as in rode a bike) in The Ride To Conquer Cancer three times and is gearing up for her fourth ride?!  Two years ago I wrote about my cousin Rhiannon riding.  The fact that she's gearing up for her fourth ride leaves me awe struck.

Cancer means something in almost everyone's lives.  We all know someone who has been affected by cancer.  In my family it means the loss of a Grandmother, Aunt, and Uncle.  It means that my Dad is a survivor of Bad Ass proportions.  For me, it means that sunscreen is no joke.

This year is extra special because I'm flying to Seattle and will be watching her cross the finish line this weekend!  Yippee!  It's not lost on me that this year she'll be crossing the finish line for her Dad on Fathers Day.  (oh golly, I just teared up...)  I'm just feel so honored to be there cheering her on!

I'm proud to announce that Rhiannon has reached 100% of her fundraising goal!  That being said, I'm here to ask you to consider donating to such a noble cause.  The cliche is true:  Every Dollar Does Count.

By visiting her personal page you'll be able to donate online.

Thank you in advance!


Megan the Nautie Mermate


Don't be such a mermaid...

On Sunday, I stood up in front of all the BiSCuits and cried.  I had no idea why I was standing up to let out all of the feelings.....or why I was crying....until I was up there. Somewhere between going into the ugly cry and starting to talk I knew.

I was lonely.  I wanted to tell everyone how lonely I had been.

Here's how it all began:

I had been following a particular blog for years...eventually I clicked through some of her links...and then I was following other blogs that I lurved.  I mean, really and truly lurved.  These blogs were the icing on my cake.

I'd stumble into my room late at night after cargo ops.  I'd be wound up not able to sleep...knowing I needed to trust the Junior Mate on Watch....and I'd read these blogs until I could take a cat nap....knowing that I'd get at least one call before o'dark thirty and that my alarm would sound well before I was rested.

I learned things important like:  Screaming Nicki Minaj was totally allowed or, who got kicked of The Bachelorette.  I stayed in touch with the world.  What was hip?  What were people listening to on the radio?  What everyone was eating.

As I read these other blogs I learned more about myself.  I was capable, competent, and in Charge of My Reality.  I started calling the shots at work - and in my own life.

Except, somewhere along the way...

I got tired of doing things by myself all the time.

I'm an only child.  I'm programmed to do things solo.  Going to the beach with friends?  Megan's packed her coloring book, crayons and, head phones.  She would like to lie here in silence please...  Between being a lady sailor, being on the go constantly and being naturally comfortable flying solo I was constantly on my own.

Things got a little more complicated when I promoted to Chief Mate.  I hate to say something this cliche but, 'it's lonely at the top'.

People don't really want to hang out with their boss.  Not when they're signing their overtime sheets.  I don't want to have to deal with the ramifications of becoming 'overly friendly'.  When I need someone to go do something I don't want to explain myself - or be in a situation where I feel obligated to explain myself.

Plus, I'm standoffish.

Very.  I really don't mean to be.  But listen, you can only stand so many midnight watches with weirdos...there comes a time where 'polite chit-chat' is no longer in your vocabulary.  I have stood in complete silence other than to issue directions for hours.  Hours.  In awkward silence that I can 100% ignore.  Tell me that doesn't make you slightly jaded?

When I signed up for Bloggers in Sin City it was a whim.  I was in the Middle of the Atlantic and I thought, 'maybe they'll be my friends...'.  Seriously.  That's what I thought.

I was looking for something, and I didn't know what it was.

Now I know.  I now know that out on the interwebz exists a Community.  a Tribe.  a me....or not like me...which makes it even better.  Fuller - Warmer - More.

There were times where I wanted to silently slip away and hope no one noticed.  There were times I was convinced no one would notice.  I was nervous.  Anxious.  Cautious.  I didn't introduce myself to everyone.  I didn't talk to nearly as many people as I wanted to. I could have put myself out there a little more.  Here's the BUT.  Every single person I had the pleasure of chatting with at BiSC blew my mind with their coolness.  They were genuinely good people who want good things for other people.  Sometimes I feel like I live in a dog eat dog world but, at BiSC I could slowly feel my guard get let down.

Thank you all for that.  Big.  HUGE.  Mahalo's.  

I heard people say BiSC has changed their lives.  I think for me it's too soon to know.  What I will say is that BiSC has heightened my awareness.  It's made me realize that a 'more' is there.  I can do more, be more, share more, laugh more, cry more and love more.  I am more of a Mermate than I ever have been before.

The next time loneliness sneaks up on me I'm going to say, 'Don't be such a mermaid!'....then I'm going to tweet some BiSCuits.

Don't be a mermaid be a MerMate!!!!

I want to remember this moment for the rest of my life...


Things In Mason Jars :: Fruit Smoothies At Sea

Fruit smoothies at sea....yum.... I have a really nice Cadet - who went ashore when we were in Charleston and bought me a crap ton of fresh fruit.  After 29 days at sea I was jonesing....bad.

(I just realized that I didn't tell you guys that I hit my first US Port and am heading to my next...the one where I get off the ship at!  Yippee!)

Anyways, I was hungry for some fruit in a really big way and my Cadet totally pulled through.

I've been snacking on berries and mangoes.  I have greek yogurt (again, thanks cadet!) and am making Mango Lassi's but most importantly, I've been blending myself smoothies in the mornings.  Delish.

My shipboard cornucopia!

I know what you're thinking....this chick is getting off her ship in a few days and all she can talk about is her garden and her fruit?!

This trip has been good.  I'm not sure I've ever said that before.  Despite the fact that I haven't stepped foot on land in 97 days (unless I've been taking drafts), I don't feel like I'm going crazy.  I don't feel like I need to completely reevaluate my lifes existence - which, let me tell you is quite common for me by the end of my rotation!  Don't get me wrong, I am ready to be on land.....I'm just not wishing I could quit shipping and have quadruplets as soon as possible.

Life is good, folks.  Life is good.