Smart Girl Stories
Meet Author Regina Petra Meyer Change of Course
Stories of inspiration from Smart Girl Stories across the globe. Life, upturned by a dream – Meet Smart Girl Regina Petra Meyer

Life, upturned by a dream – Meet Smart Girl Regina Petra Meyer

Meet Regina Petra Meyer – emerging author, a lover of life, an adventurer, a spiritual seeker, and a passionate humanitarian. Thank you Regina for sharing your story! -Hannah

All I wanted when I stepped aboard a plane bound for the Caribbean, was to have a three-month sailing adventure. Nothing more, nothing less.

My travels started with a duffel bag stuffed with a small number of personal items, a few jars of vegemite and packs of nuts to augment the boat’s pantry and, most importantly, with the high hopes of someone that is reaching for their dream but has no real inkling of what they just let themselves in for.

I did not plan to fall in love abroad. But life, and love, took me by surprise and had me refocus on a future on distant shores, worlds away from my secure reality in Australia. I was in for a turbulent ride, onshore as much as out at sea. Instead of navigating the width of the Pacific on a cruising yacht, I ended up setting sail for new horizons, quite literally.

HI Everyone! Hannah here – Please check out Chapter One of Change of Course – Regina’s incredible memoir – here on Smart Girl Stories.

She’s pretty amazing!

The untainted freshness of adventure made my tastebuds tingle in anticipation and, in my mid 30s and feeling disenchanted with my current life, I decided that it was time to take decisive action. Sailing across a major ocean was one of those items on my bucket list and it required ticking off. The sooner the better. It turned out that for years I had mistakenly assumed that sailing a yacht around the world was exclusive to affluent people and had resigned myself to the fact that this was the type of adventure forever outside my financial grasp.

I am an emerging author, a lover of life,
an adventurer, a spiritual seeker, and
a passionate humanitarian.

I love philosophical and honest conversations in stimulating company, best enjoyed over a mouthwatering meal and a glass of wine. Then again, I equally adore curling up quietly with a book and a cup of tea.

I am excited to have launched my memoir Change of Course and continue writing on my second book.

Regina Petra Meyer
Author and Presenter

An avid reader, the only ailment to somewhat dull my sailing itch was to devour any boating books from the local library. Indeed, while reading Jesse Martin’s Lionheart I came across a passage that forever changed my thinking. He described crewing on other people’s yachts to gain skills and experience. My heart skipped a few beats while my brain processed the perception-shattering message: I didn’t need to be wealthy to sail across oceans! Instantly, the book was flung aside, and my attention latched onto the laptop screen. I found several reputable-looking websites that connected potential crew with boats of all shapes and sizes, cruising among exotic islands, along rugged coastlines and even in the most far-flung corners of the globe. At the time I was living in New Zealand, and it was a particularly frosty winter’s day that found me scrolling through lists of yachts offering to host willing crew. In awe about such abundance of adventures, I quickly put up my profile. Who knew that vagabonding the oceans had been hovering at my fingertips all along?

After careful selection, I picked a boat in the Caribbean. We planned to sail the 46-foot cruiser/racer, a rustic wooden yacht built in the 70s, from its base in Antigua all the way back to Australia. The passage was planned via the Panama Canal, the Galapagos islands and countless stopovers in dazzling anchorages in the South Pacific along our way.

Little did I know that the Caribbean was going to feature much more prominently in my future than purely marking the starting chapter of my sailing adventure. I had yet to learn that boat plans are about as dependable as impassioned promises proclaimed during a stirring first date. Our skipper turned out to be an old-school, cantankerous man in his 70s and was impossible to please. After several weeks of free labour aboard, tension boiled over, and the trip suddenly fell apart. My dreams foundered like an old ship heaving its last breath in a storm. Suddenly, I was stranded in Antigua and considered catching a plane home.

It was due to the encouraging words of fellow crew that had me gather my breath, evaluate my situation and adjust my focus on new goals. A few days later, I was accepted on another yacht and instead of crossing the Pacific, sailed across the Atlantic in the company of a young and cheerful crew.

This would have been a straightforward story. We all know, however, that life is never quite as smooth or clear cut. Neither was my situation. Not long before departing Antigua I had met and inevitably become smitten with an attractive local man. Spending two weeks at sea was the perfect remedy for my conflicted heart, the irresistible pull of the new and exotic, versus the stable but somewhat stale relationship that was waiting for me in Australia. After the first days of inner turmoil I cast my worries overboard and let the freedom of the open ocean embrace my soul. The infinite seascape surrounding our yacht was mesmerising and was matched by an equally limitless sky. Before I set off, I thought that being at sea for days, or weeks, on end might be boring. I was wrong.

I adored waking up each day to a different hue of the ocean. To calm days with lazy swell rolling underneath the boat’s hull. Rough and grey hours that had me braving spray of cold water splashing into my face and body from the bow during my solitary watches. I was dazzled by bioluminescence turning our wake into a glowing and swirling artwork. And for a few days we sat mid-ocean in eery stillness while completely becalmed, the yacht resting atop a mirrorlike sea and enveloped by dense wafting fog. It was magic and peaceful and thrilling and precisely how I had mapped out my dreams.

It was this outer calm that allowed for a slow internal clarity to take hold. I realised that the relationship with my long-term partner in Australia had run its course. With no desire to resume my old life, I was clueless on where and how to forge my new existence. Although uncomfortable, this void was my opportunity to savour the freedom I had been yearning for. Should I stay in Switzerland, my home country, and nurture the relationship with my folks? Or should I return to Australia, my adopted country, and establish myself and put down roots in a new town? Maybe I could travel a bit more and allow my life to unfold as I journey?

I loved sailing and had no desire to settle down just yet. There was nothing holding me back. And, of course, I did have a pending romance in the Caribbean. What greater adventure could there be than pursuing a fresh love while attempting to establish myself in a new country? It was on a whim that I decided to make Antigua my new home base and give life in the Caribbean a proper shot. Once on island, I shacked up with my lover and busied myself with job searches and assimilating into my new circumstances.

Was it hard? Yes!

Was it exciting? Very much so.

Would I do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat!

Did it work out? Not how I expected. Better than I could have anticipated. More exciting and fulfilling.

Let me tell you this: Life has a way of working itself out. I love a good challenge, and living in completely new circumstances in Antigua delivered precisely that. It was a thrilling and stimulating period, but at times I also felt bitterly lonely, overwhelmed and completely out of my depth. Over time I learned to adapt, to stand up for myself and to grasp chances when they presented themselves. I became more courageous, learned to trust in myself and my resilience. I accepted that setting out on an adventure is an important first step. Letting go of plans, embracing countless deviations, and diving headfirst into unknown waters and territories was what shaped this extraordinary path.

So, what is my message to you? Don’t be afraid to try something new. My life is so much richer for all the people I met, the amazing adventures I experienced, and the challenging moments I mastered. Feel encouraged to move toward your dreams because living life and embracing all its turbulences is truly worth it!

Regina Petra Meyer is the author of the memoir Change of Course: Sailing into Love & Adversity on Caribbean Shores.

Born and raised in Switzerland, while working as a travel agent, Regina’s curiosity was piqued by coordinating trips around the world. Eventually, she packed her own bags and adopted a globetrotting lifestyle. Regina has sailed across all continents, living and working in Antigua in the Caribbean, the USA, and New Zealand. She currently calls tropical Cairns, Australia, her home.

www.reginapetrameyer.com

Regina Petra Meyer

Regina Petra Meyer

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