We wrap up this series with some final thoughts. Some people seem to think that the cruising life is all stress, all work, all the time. Others think its an endless vacation of beach bars, umbrella drinks and sailing off into the romantic sunsets. Of course real life is a mixture of somewhere in between.
What Do You Wish Other People Knew About your Cruising Life?
Barb @SVMelindaKay We are so very happy, much more relaxed and much more in touch with the world, ourselves and our abilities and nature. It is a WONDERFUL life !!
Barb @HartsatSea We are not camping. Though we may be the ultimate tiny home dwellers. Our boat is our home and we have it decorated, use real dishes, have guests over, and cook real meals. Also, this does not make me a hero. I am as normal as I was on shore. We aren’t even more courageous than others who don’t cruise. We are simply people who like to sail, enjoy being on the water, and enjoy traveling to new countries and new adventures.
Jenny @SVRocketScience Sometimes people shy away from saying hello to us because they feel like we have too fancy a boat, we don’t want to be friends with other cruisers. We are very down to earth and always happy to talk to another cruiser and hear their stories. We love the cruising community, and we are always happy to help out with anything we can. So – if you see s/v Rocket Science somewhere in this world, please take some time and say hello and tell us your story!
Katy @SVKlickitatII I think one of the biggest things people don’t know about cruising is that there can be a boredom factor which needs to be dealt with – it’s hard to imagine when we post those gorgeous sunset and white sand beach/palm tree pictures, but after a while even those gorgeous beaches can become overfamiliar. And for every day of glorious sailing, there’s at least one of very slow motoring if you’re trying to get anywhere.
Kerry @YaNevaKnow My boat life was the most wonderful learning experience ever – I had the best adventures, the best sex, the best fun, the most freedom …..pity it had to stop so suddenly. I’m looking forward to becoming a grandmother in March 2016…..I have so many exciting stories to share when I get to that rocking chair!! I loved everything about life afloat, it may all come back one day!! YouNevaKnow!!
Lea Pennicott @Tientos That it is a lifestyle; not a temporary cruise or hiatus from ‘normal’ life.
Liza @SVInspiration That they can do it too! They, too, can follow their dreams. I think there are so many people out there who think their only option is to follow the norm, do what their friends are doing, do what is “expected” of them. Many people are also scared to make such a big change in their lives. They hang onto “stuff” and don’t want to part with the life that they have built for themselves. They also have the unfortunate misconception that you need to be rich to do something like this. Yes, we’re rich…in experiences.
Yeah, it is a big deal to change your life, but it can be done, and once you do it, it’s sooo rewarding!
It’s not an easy life, there are a lot of challenges and obstacles and a lot of hard physical work…but I think it’s much healthier and simple life.
And if one can truly not make the move, continue to dream. If you don’t have your dreams, you don’t have anything to strive for! Never, ever stop dreaming!
Melinda @BurnettsAhoy When we fly our US flag in international waters, I have been surprised how many people think we have guns aboard. Geez. We don’t have any guns, but we do make a mean G&T!
Sarah Gayle How easy it can be to just let go of all those ‘shoulds’ and just sail. Learn to be happy for yourself and stop worrying about everything!
Susie @Wanderings That we are not rich – we live off a small rental income from heavily mortgaged properties back home and our boat is our sole asset but we are enjoying life
Tammy @ThingsWeDidToday About me? I’m not really a Know-it-all who won’t let you get a word into the conversation. Sometimes I just can’t help bubbling over with helpful information that I just want to share!
About our boat? We love our Catalina Morgan 45! She’s roomy and we love the layout. We love that she’s heavy enough to make us feel secure and comfortable in any sea state we’ve encountered so far.
Our life? People said we would never make it. People said we would come back within three months. People said we would never get as far as the Bahamas. Don’t tell me I can’t do something!!! We may be slow… we may not always take the path well traveled. But we are out here living day to day with no real goal or agenda. We have made it past the “trip” stage. We are into the “just life” stage. No longer are we on our way to somewhere… we’re just here. This is what we do. We truly have no idea what our future holds. We aren’t ready to stop cruising but we’re keeping our eyes open for possible places to settle when we are done.
Lastly, before we left to go cruising I was excited to see how it would change me. Maybe I expected some grand transformation of myself into someone else and I was waiting to welcome her into my life. What I have found is that you are who you are.
I’m not saying that Cruising will have no effect on you, because it will. But that effect is more subtle… at least it has been for me. I see it as more of a magnification. Attributes that you already possess are brought out into the light… strengthened, made more visible. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it’s not so good.
You have time to really look inside yourself and see things that used to be covered up by the roles you once played… boss, employee, mother, sister, daughter. Now those roles are in the background and you’re here with just yourself (and your partner).
If you’re lazy… if you need a deadline to motivate you to get things done… you’re probably going to spend long days laying in the cockpit reading a book and doing nothing much at all… And that’s OK, sometimes.
If you’re “driven” or “compelled” to do something all the time… You may struggle with finding a subject on which to bestow all of this energy. But you will find something! It might be navigating, language, weather watching, or some sort of craft…. And while that energy may lessen with fewer outlets to be found within such a confined space… it will continue to flow somewhere with more focus… so harness it.
The most surprising thing I have found is that I have softened. Back in my old life I was the Boss at work and everyone hated me. I’m not making this up, but people have actually trembled when called into my office for a discussion. ME! People trembled because of ME!!! While I never really saw myself as being “hard”… evidently others did. My employees, my children, my ex-husband…
But I had to be hard to get it all done. In order to shoulder all of the responsibilities and do all of the jobs I had to do, my shell had to be thick so that I wouldn’t spend precious time worrying about things or FEELING things. I had no time for feelings either in myself or in others.
But now that all of those external forces are gone, my mind is more quiet. I have begun to feel things. Strongly. I have time to worry about my daughters… although they are both responsible, capable women with husbands to care for them… I still worry. I hurt for them sometimes for no reason it seems and I don’t like it! I want to go back to the heartless me who doesn’t feel this shit! No mercy!
I worry that my time with Bruce is short. I see subtle changes in him as he ages and I am frantic to hold back time. I’m not ready for this to end… any of it!!! I’m not ready for this chapter of my life to be over and I can’t even let myself think of the unthinkable.
I guess everything ends. Some day I will look back on this time and be so thankful that we did it. We are among the lucky few who actually got to Sail-Off-Into-The-Sunset. The future is uncertain. Go Cruising. NOW!
Byn @OhSailYes I guess I just want people to know that it isn’t all “easy,” especially when it isn’t my dream life. I miss my kids and grandkids on land. I feel SO much more useful when I’m back in the US and helping my daughter with her baby and toddler. I feel like I’m needed more when I’m with my kids… which leaves me feeling incredibly conflicted SO often, because some of my kids are back in the US and some are on the boat. Its also hard because we don’t have the budget to fly back and forth several times a year. So I know that when I leave to go back to the boat, I can probably only count on one visit back home each year. That’s frustrating. But my husband is SO at home on the water. He doesn’t want to come back to land at all. He WILL if its just not going to work for me, but I don’t want him to give up his dream, either. As I said, its all full of conflict. I don’t know how to find balance.
That I worked hard and sacrificed to be able to do this, I am not rich and don’t have a trust fund. That it is not a vacation, and if I acted like it was, it wouldn’t last long . That I have to make the choice every day that it is still worth it, and some days I am not sure it is. Other days, I am absolutely certain. What a beautiful gift it is to see the world, and meet its citizens. How humbling and mind opening it is! All the wonderful souls I’ve met give me hope for the world.
And an ABSOLUTELY MUST READ post by a friend Brittany at Windtraveler: Yes, I Live in Paradise and Sometimes I Want to Complain “Bust out your teeny-tiny violins folks (or ukeleles if you’ve got ’em), because you’re about to play ’em for me…you can also feel free to file this post in the cabinet labeled “first world problems”. You’ve been forewarned. [read more]
A lot of cruising women were awesome enough to contribute to this blog series about women who are living/lived the cruising life. Whether they’ve been cruising for 6 months or 30 years, these are the perspectives of various women from different parts of the world. I know I’m already learning from their stories, I hope you can learn something new as well! I’ll be posting a question from this series every Wednesday and Friday for the 10 week series, so keep an eye out for our posts! The topics range in topic from typical cruising questions, to more personal anonymous stories that might make you feel like you’ve met a kindred spirit.
If you are a current or former cruising woman and would like to contribute to future posts, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Cruising Questions from Byn” and I’ll send you the list of questions. Answer as many as you like and return with a few photos and I’ll add your contribution as we go!
See the other posts in this series:
Part 1: What Makes it Worth it?
Part 2: What Would You do Differently?
Part 4: Where Would You Revisit?
Part 10: Budget Friendly Tips?
Part 11: Best Social Media Tips?
Part 12: Your Best Life Hacks for the Boat
Part 13: Your Favorite Photo
Part 15: Let’s Talk About Sex
Part 16: What are the Hard Parts?
Part 18: How Do You Deal with Loneliness?