Polly the Wooden Sloop


I just met Polly. She's a wooden sailboat built in 1945. Peter, a friend from Telluride, is a passionate boat builder who has devoted the last 4 years of his life to restoring this sloop. I was lucky enough to be invited aboard for Polly’s first cruise.

Before we even set sail, I was captivated by Peter’s masterpiece. My toes delighted in the teak deck as I studied everything from tiny drawers in the galley, the classic portholes and ornate wood stove, to the towering 73 mast built intricately from sitka spruce.

Though I’m a land lover by nature, I opened my mind and my heart to this adventure at sea. As we cruised gracefully through the Maine Islands, my thoughts drifted with the water and the wind. I focused on being fully present with Polly and her captain. Though exhausted from the months of arduous work that lead up to Polly’s grand launch, Peter’s excitement and inspiration tirelessly radiate from him.

Curious about his passion, I ask him, "what do you love about sailing?"

"Being out in the natural world,” he responds after a moment of pause. “I feel alive exploring, exposed to the elements, attuned to what is real. When you’re sailing, conditions are ever changing and challenging—wind, waves, weather. You are harnessing the force of nature, but much is out of your control. I love the complexity, yet simplicity of it all.” Continues to explain how when you’re at sea, you’re at the mercy of mother nature, vulnerable. Your instincts need to be sharp, aware and focused—decisions need to be smart. Yet at the end of the day, tucked into a protected cove, the rocking of the ship is comforting, like a craddle for an infant. Sailing is a truly unique, visceral, humbling and rich experience. My guy, captain Walter Wright, nods his head in agreement. He too is enamored with sailing and eager to get back to adventuring on our 47 ft Olymplic Ketch on the Mexican Pacific.

As I sat on Polly’s bow for hours watching the full moon sparkle on the glassy water, I pondered Peter’s thoughtful response. I realized that sailing is a metaphor for wild living. Peter had described the essence of what I love about life as a wildpreneur. We wildpreneurs share a common desire to be immersed in the natural world as we explore and seek what makes us come alive. We fearlessly hoist our sails (in many shapes and sizes!) to see where the wind will blow us, personally and professionally. As we venture into the unknown, we surrender to what is beyond our control, yet we’re also smart, savvy and focused as we navigate the challenges of wild business. We must use our map and compass to guide us towards simplicity on the other side of complexity! With this approach our journey is a treasure trove of natural riches.

I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity. — Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

As I continue to admire and praise Peter’s work, he laughs humbly and says, “As they say about having kids, the same applies to boat building—it takes an army.” I consider the many hands involved in the creation of this floating marvel. Throughout our journey, friends of Peter and Polly stop by to admire and celebrate the culmination of many years of hard work. I am impressed by their care, support and sense of community.

Community…oh yes, another crucial element of wildpreneur philosophy. We wildpreneurs must stick together and support each other!

I’ve returned to land with wonderful clarity and a renewed passion for my life as a wildpreneur—in the jungle and at sea! I’ve said adios to Polly for now, but I plan to do a complete interview with master boat builder Peter soon so stay tuned to learn more about his wild journey.

For now, wherever you are, I highly recommend taking some time to let your thoughts drift with the wind, the trees, the river, the mountains, the ocean. Surrender to the unknown, tune into your intuition and instincts, then use a map and compass to guide you. Need some help navigating? Check out Wildpreneurship 101: DIY mini class here.