Cheri grew up on a cattle ranch in rural Texas, and spent most of her time outdoors, exploring. As a matter of fact, if you had asked ten-year-old Cheri what she wanted to do when she grew up, the answer would have been some variation of “Explorer”. After meeting Alan at a young age, and raising three beautiful daughters to productive adulthood with him, she has decided that the time to explore more of the world is, in fact, now.
Her interests are hard to narrow down. Curiosity (aka Pinterest) keeps adding more to the list. But the short list would include: philosophy of all types; deep conversations about reality, imagination, and whether we are really made of stardust; cooking in a tiny galley; reading (Robbins, Gaiman, Kingsolver, Atwood, Marquez…); minimalism; tiny houses; making a 42 foot sailboat a comfy home; gardening; DIY cleaning and beauty products; and spreadsheets - lots of spreadsheets…
A favorite quote:
“Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others…” ~ Timothy Leary
That’s what Cheri feels she is here to do: find the others, wherever they may be.
The son of a preacher man, Alan moved around a bit. Small towns of rural Texas like Follett, Groom, Eden, and Red Oak are familiar to him. These are all near Dallas, Amarillo, or San Angelo. While he has lived in Texas his whole life, many summers and holidays were spent where his parents grew up in the panhandle of Oklahoma, places like Keys, Guymon, and Boise City. With an extended family of farmers and mechanics, it is no wonder he seems to be able to fix just about anything. His parents often found him taking things apart just to see how they worked. While this wasn’t great for his bathroom faucet (what a soggy mess…), these skills are all very handy on a boat.
Having a teacher as a mother, he learned that the longest word in the dictionary was antidisestablishmentarianism. Learning how to spell it was one thing, learning the meaning was quite another. He definitely relates more to the free life style of cruising than with the “establishment”.
He spent his high school days playing basketball and tennis. He worked at a pizza joint where he eventually met a very pretty girl named Cheri. They married and raised three beautiful daughters, Nicole, Cristen, and Erin. He is very proud of them and it shows in the glow on his face when he tells people about them. Marrying young can be quite a journey. Many people find it hard to believe that Alan and Cheri are still together, but no one who knows them is really surprised that they are now traveling the world on a sailboat.
Alan identifies most with people who grew up in the ‘70s, but before you get the wrong impression, he is not entirely a hippie, although he might like to act like one. He had his run-ins with the establishment, but did eventually go to work for the government helping people as a firefighter paramedic. He served the community of Red Oak as a planning and zoning commissioner and also as a city councilman for several years. For Alan, it has been hard to leave a community in which he had such close ties, but the desire and opportunity to explore the rest of the world has proved impossible to resist.
Where does his love of the ocean come from? Living in rural Texas, he did not even see the ocean until his late teens. His first experience was Galveston in the winter…cold and brown. Many years later, he and his wife took a deep sea fishing charter out of South Padre Island. Hooking a marlin and fighting it for an hour seemed to turn the tables and he was the one hooked. He took a few cruise ship trips and wanted to stay in every port for weeks instead of just a few hours or days. Finally, some very good friends bought a boat and sailed away to Belize to become dive masters. Pretty soon, and despite a childhood fear of mutant lobsters, all vacation time was spent visiting them where ever they were: Belize, Roatan, Rio Dulce, the (dun dun dun…) “deadly” Tehuanapec, and the Sea of Cortez. It was during this time Alan and Cheri bought their first sailboat and learned how to sail. Now they live on a 42 foot boat named Consort. Stay tuned for the rest of the story.