Guestblog by Brittany Meyers
Follow her journeys in sailing and motherhood at www.windtraveler.net
I was always envious of my friends who would pair their jewelry with their outfits and swap it out day to day. Earrings, necklaces and bracelets would be changed out at whim, matching their clothes and mood. Try as I might, I could never be that girl. When it came to 'bling", low maintenance had always been my default. I never quite had the wherewithal and discipline to swap out jewelry and change it, let alone store it properly, so I usually went without. When I moved aboard a sailboat to travel and live in 2010, however, low maintenance became not only a necessity but a blessing.
Life on a cruising sailboat, while it conjures up images of far flung islands, azure waters, and private beaches (all of which are true, mind you!) is also a lot of hard work. My husband and I sailed our little ship from the fresh waters of Lake Michigan all the way to the palm lined shores of Trinidad and back to the British Virgin Islands, where we now reside. While we enjoyed many of the perks one can imagine that come with traveling by boat, we had to give up a lot to enjoy them.
We were forced to become skilled in all areas of boat maintenance: electrical, plumbing, and shipwright. When something went wrong on the water we had only ourselves to rely on and, as such, we became a very self-sufficient ship. We also had to give up many of the creature comforts that most people take for granted day to day. Our laundry and dishes were done by hand, we had no refrigerator those first couple years, and television became a thing of the past. Furthermore, we had no choice but to convert to minimalism (not easy for my non-minimalist nature!) Whatever we owned had to fit in a tiny floating home smaller than the average living room. The popular sailing adage goes like this: “A place for everything and everything in it's place”. It was our mantra to keep order because in a small space, a mess becomes a mess very quickly. Every item that came on board had to serve at least two purposes or else it was deemed 'unnecessary'. Life became a lot more simple, and a lot less cluttered - which was a gift in and of itself. The benefits of minimizing were felt almost instantly, and shedding most of our land-based possessions allowed us the freedom to be out from underneath mindless clutter and noise that we had accumulated on land.
Despite paring down to the essentials, a girl still wants to be girly from time to time, amiright? I didn’t want to toss the razor and go completely without feeling beautiful just because I was a roving sea gypsy. I have always loved funky bracelets, which is an easy way to accessorize, and was constantly on the hunt during our travels. While I'd find interesting adornments here and there, I learned quickly that they were rarely made to last. It became abundantly clear that I needed to find the right kind of jewelry. I wanted pieces that were not going to ruin with every day wear, that were up to the task of being worn by an active woman, and - most importantly - would survive regular dousing in the great big blue. Turns out, this is a tall order! I would find pieces only to have the clasps turn to rust and disintegrate, the strings fade and weaken, and not a single piece I found could handle every day wear and tear. It seemed to me that most of what I was finding was meant for the women I envied years before; those who had the discipline to do the jewelry removal ritual every night and tend to their jewels with TLC. I was not, and will never be that person. I was back at square one and wondered if I would always be doomed to wear macrame friendship bracelets for life...(Don't get me wrong, I do love me some friendship bracelets but I am pushing 40 over here!)
Enter Bronwen jewelry!
When I discovered Bronwen sometime during that first year of sailing, I was thrilled. Here was a jeweler who seemed to be making pieces JUST FOR ME! Interesting, beautiful, easy to wear and *durable*! I had never before found such high-quality artisan pieces meant for every day wear in the elements. I placed my first order and have been hooked ever since. I am now very happy to be a walking, talking, Bronwen Jewelry ad who has converted more than a few active friends to the line.
Seven years later, my husband and I still live aboard a sailboat, albeit a bigger one. We are still passionate about the lifestyle and travel, but have settled for the time being in the British Virgin Islands. During our travels we added three little girls to our motley crew with the birth of our first daughter, Isla, and our twins, Haven and Mira, just under two years later. We enjoy a relatively simple life of sand and sun on our island of Tortola where we run Aristocat Charters Daysail company.
A lot has changed in our life but a few things remain the same: our passion for the water, our love of island life, and - of course - my loyalty to Bronwen Jewelry. I still have pieces on my wrist that made our maiden voyage on our first boat over seven years ago, and they look the same. I might never be the girl who changes jewels to match her outfits or mood, but I can wear beautiful pieces every. single. day. and know that they are made to last - and that's just perfect for this boat sailing, water-loving, minimalist mama of three.