Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Go Your Own Way

Where should we go?  Listen to the advice you get - but use it sparingly!
There are many, many people who have been where we have.  We are definitely not forging new territory out here - the path, or water, is well worn.  This is a great thing in that we can learn a lot from the people before us.  However this knowledge is a double edged sword...

It seems everywhere we turn, someone is giving us advice: "Oh - don't go here - not worth it, don't go there, nothing to see...Stay away from this anchorage - the people are all terrible hustlers...You're going to Grenada?  Well, you know about hurricane Ivan right...Why would you go to Martinique - it's horrible...etc. etc.".  Rumors of theft, rude locals, rolly anchorages and more pour (unsolicited) from the mouths of well meaning travelers who have been here before us.  While we definitely appreciate the advice (which is almost always in the form of a warning) - we have learned not to take it all the time.

The thing is this:  your experience is exactly that - yours.  What one person despises - another might love and visa versa.  What is paradise to one might be hell for another.  Just because one person had a bad experience doesn't mean you will too.  Same thing with boat advice.  What works for us, might not work for you.  What you think is "essential" might not be for us.  To each his own, as they say.  We dealt with this when we were refitting our boat.  If we had taken all the advice given to us regarding what we "need" we'd still be at the dock working on her...it was actually overwhelming at times.

When I was eighteen I backpacked through Europe with a friend.  We went to Amsterdam and had the absolute WORST time despite my inflated hopes that it would be the highlight destination of the trip.   It was awful.  Rainy, busy, and frazzled it seemed we just couldn't get a break.  We took wrong turn after wrong turn.  Our visit coincided with a British "Bank Holiday" so all the hostels and hotels were full.  We had no where to stay, and ended up trudging down the streets with our heavy packs sagging off our backs in the rain looking for a 24 hour cafe or an all night disco we could camp out in.  No joke.  Luckily for us - a local (and former world traveler) saw us, took pity and let us stay with him in his home.  He was a lovely host and a wonderful person - but we had been tainted.  We couldn't leave Amsterdam soon enough.  The story, full of follies and foibles, is hilarious now - but at the time, we were miserable.

Does that mean you won't like Amsterdam?  Of course not!  And I would never, ever dissuade anyone from going there.  Amsterdam tops many people's list's of "favorite cities".  Our experience just wasn't right.  That happens when you travel from time to time.  It's life.

So - while we do appreciate the advice we get (we really do!) - we will continue to take it with a grain of salt, weigh our options and go our own way.  It's important to see things through the filter of our own senses and not let our expectations be jaded by another's.  Like Margot Bennet said,

"As time passes we all get better blazing through the thicket of advice".

When it comes to cruising - it's definitely a jungle out there!!

10 comments:

Neophyte Cruiser said...

As was so eloquently stated in the 60's: RIGHT ON! Enjoying your posts, as always; insightful and heartfelt.

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

We hear what you're saying, but still love hearing your opinions. So with that in mind ... what has been your favorite place so far, and which place has had the best waters for swimming?

Berkeley Hall NPO Lawsuit Blog said...

Exactly on point. I remember the folks in Salinas who "warned" you all.

Berkeley Hall NPO Lawsuit Blog said...

Exactly on point. I remember the folks in Salinas that "warned" you all...Al

Laura and Hans said...

Well put! One couple told us they hated Miami and felt 'unsafe' yet the next day we met a man who had to stay in Miami for a full month and loved it!
You HAVE to use two anchors, we were told by a cruiser when we said we would be going to Washington DC and anchoring in the channel. We didn't, and neither did anyone else around us.
We too, take what people say with a grain of salt and then make our decision from there. But at least these comments give us a heads up and make us more aware of what might be ahead.
I admit I did post on my blog to NOT anchor in Yankee Carter Cay in the Abacos; shoaling is worse causing the depths to be far shallower (by a few feet!) than charted. We ran our 2.5 foot draft boat aground there.
BTW, I hope you get back to Amsterdam someday. It really is a wonderful place to visit and we're going back again in September on a business trip.

Lisa said...

As someone once said: You are the boss of your own self! Of course you said it a little more eloquently.

Brittany said...

Agreed! Very insightful. So important to appreciate other people's views but to always come up with your own. :) Love!

Swabby said...

Sounds like you've got it all figured out. Keep letting us know how that works out for you.

“Advice is seldom welcome, and those who need it the most, like it the least.” Lord Chesterfield

Windtraveler said...

@ Swabby - well, I wouldn't (and didn't) say we have it all figured out. We simply said we will take advice with a grain of salt - which I hardly think is shutting ourselves off to it (which your hand selected quote implies). In addition, a lot of people who give advice are unqualified to do so. But thanks - always nice to have a comment that keeps it real.

Jill said...

Right on! One man's misery is another man's mecca...it's all in your attitude and approach and you guys have shown you have nothing but positive vibes. You put out positive you get back positive! My dad always used to say...Opinions are like as*holes everyone's got one. HAHAHA! Way to go guys, keep on keeping on!

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