Monday, April 11, 2011

Why Are We Doing This?

This past weekend found us at a beautiful beach side wedding here in Provodenciales, TCI.  Scott and I didn't know many people besides the beautiful bride and her family, so we spent a lot of time mingling with their great friends and, inevitably, answering a few questions about our trip.  Apparently our reputations preceded us, what with us sailing to the wedding and all...

One guest asked simply, "Why are you doing this?"

I am sure we've been asked this question a million times, but I was stumped at that moment.  How could I possibly convey to a non-sailor the lure of taking off on your own boat, letting the wind guide you to a new destination, and becoming almost completely self sufficient?  How could I adequately describe the absolute feeling of freedom that follows when you remove yourself from the social strata and extricate yourself from the status quo?  How could I explain the extreme challenges that we face every day - challenges that carry so much more weight and so much more risk than those of our land lives - and how when we get through these we have an even greater appreciation for life, for a simple day, for each other?  How does one describe the magnitude of the Earth's beauty when seen from the deck of your own sailboat; the dolphins, the flying fish, the squalls, the waves, the clouds, the stars, the sun rising and setting?  How could I illustrate the beauty of living such an extreme life - full of storms and calms, highs and lows, fear and elation - and the magic of finding those rare days in the middle?  How could I fully detail how lovely it is to live more with less, to live so simply and yet reap so much?  How do I adequately express what it feels like to live in harmony with nature, to live a life where adventure lurks around every corner?

How do I illuminate those things in a light which everyone can see?  

I was tongue tied.

The truth is, there are a million reasons we are doing this - and each and every day we are learning more.  I don't know if anyone who isn't living this lifestyle can actually grasp it (much like people who don't have children cannot grasp parenthood) - but I do know this:  It is the way we want to live.  It feels right.  We are the masters of our own destiny.  The world is our oyster.  The possibilities are endless and, out here, there seems to be nothing standing in our way and nobody to tell us no.  We find joy in the simple things and we are learning not to sweat the small stuff.  We are discovering that this world is truly a beautiful place full of beautiful people.  We are learning the incalculable value of following dreams.  If I could give a one word answer to describe why we are doing what we are doing, it would be: freedom.

One of my favorite movies of all time is "Dances with Wolves" (if you have never seen it, rent it now).  That movie had a tremendous impact on me and I believe what Scott and I are doing (in spirit) is not unlike what John Dunbar did when he moved out west to live on the American Frontier among the Sioux Indians.  When asked why he was doing what he was, he replied simply:  "Because it's there".

So, perhaps we don't need a profound answer to explain why we are doing what we are?  Perhaps it cannot adequately be described? Perhaps it needn't be anything more than the simple fact that we are doing this because we can.


Mid-Life Cruising! said...

If they have to ask, they wouldn't understand. We, however, totally understand and are so glad to hear that the reality has been as good as the dream!

Sandy Stephen said...


Your answers are extremely meaningful and insightful!

So proud of you guys and all that you are gaining from this amazing experience!

Life is very short and so full of opportunities that many pass by, just because they are working so hard at maintaining that "social strata."

Many do not even have a grasp of their dreams enough to try to reach them, as they are working towards "more things" in life. Life is not about the things, it's about the experiences and the people you meet along the way. Sounds like you guys have found the secret to true happiness!

I recognize that table....You guys were witnessing a beautiful sunset at The Deck at Seven Stars! Did you meet Kirky? Hope you ordered a limontini, he makes a wicked one! Wished I could have joined you guys!
Cheers anyway!

Aunt Sandy

Deb said...

You're young so this won't men much for awhile, but in addition to all the reasons you mentioned we are doing it to stay young, to ward off the evils of inactivity and excess that eats away at the aging. Thanks for the blog. We enjoy your amazingly insightful comments.

S/V Nomad

Anonymous said...

Yet another profoundly eloquent and insightful post that captures what it truly means to live the life of a cruiser... absolutely awesome!

If I could add just one thing to all you've mentioned, it would be learning about yourself. What you are capable of. What you aren't. I recall two episodes in the cockpit of our catamaran (different locations) when I had "Rocky" moments (facing the heavens, shaking my arms at the sky and fully expressing, at the top of my lungs, 'I did it, I did it!!!!!'). Feeling empowered, learning about yourself and new things... could anyone ask for a more grand life experience?

There won't be that regret of a life not well lived because of these experiences. I think we are better members of the human race because we've had them.

Here's to living well. Here's to freedom!

Windtraveler said...

Thanks for the comments guys - and anonymous - great additions! You are 100% right...! Glad to have you along :)

Emily (were cousins.... they don;t know it.... hey hey hey) said...

i just loved your article... beautifully written... well said and i completely agree... if someone has to ask those things, that just don't get it... life is a jouney and we are always growing and evolving wherever the wind takes you... literally for you 2... sending you much love, peace and safe seas cousin... besos...

btw, i see you are coming up to DR... you should download some spanish podcasts to brush up on your español... let me know if you need and help in spanish!

loveadaaa youuuuu oxoxox


I'm a new follower and I LOVE what you're doing!

I use to work on cruise lines for a few years, not the same I know, but still on the ocean. I really loved it. In the early mornings when I would head to the bow of the ship, I would get that personal time to think that I so desperately needed. I think the ocean and the wind speak a differently language. Straight to your heart. I really miss it and think of it often.

I love that you are having this experience! Thanks for letting me tag along for the ride!

Unknown said...

I think the big decision to go is not just one big decision. It is one made up of many small decisions that end in cutting those ties that others can not seem to break.

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