Friday, September 16, 2011

The Journey is what *YOU* Make It

We get a lot of email from followers who are looking to sail off into their own horizons, to give life to their dreams.

Many of them ask us if we think they would be able to do it/enjoy it.  The first part is easy - if the boat is sound (meaning - at the very least - in good working order with adequate navigational equipment) and they are competent, of course they will be able.  The sailing part is pretty straightforward - watch weather closely, move when you can, maintain your boat and your gear and trim your sails properly.  As for the second question "will they enjoy it"?  That is a different story all together.

I've always subscribed to the notion that you make the bed you lie in.  If you are dissatisfied with your life - you have no one to blame but yourself.  I believe happiness is a choice; and a well-lived, happy life is a series of choices (and sacrifices).  I believe the same about sailing and living aboard.  So when someone asks me if I think they'll "enjoy" it - I always answer with an "It depends".  I have read blogs where one (or both) parties did nothing but complain about life on the water; they found it unnerving, unsettling, and entirely unfulfilling.  I have heard of couples so miserable and disillusioned with life at sea that they are forced to turn around mere months after they began, their boats and dreams going up for sale before they ever get beyond coastal waters.  And of course - there are the people like Scott and I.  People who love life at sea, people who embrace it and feel blessed and lucky to live it.  Where you will fall I don't know.

I can tell you it isn't easy.  It isn't always pretty.  And it's certainly not perfect.  Things break, weather gets bad, seas become unbearable and - from time to time - cabin fever sets in.  It can be unbearably hot,  incredibly uncomfortable, and frustrating in a way you've never known before.  It can be very isolating, and it's not unusual to go weeks (or longer) without talking to some of your loved ones on the home front (internet helps with this tremendously).  There are tremendous highs followed by tremendous lows.  It is a life of extremes.  The difference is - cruisers like Scott and I tend not to focus on the negative aspects of this life - we deal with them as par for the course - and then we focus on the positive.  We choose to see the good over the bad.

Scott and I had realistic expectations before we left and we understood that living our dream meant we were going to have to take the good with the bad and the ugly.  To us, the positives far outweigh the negatives and living life on our own terms, answering to nobody but ourselves is worth it.  We're not going to look back on our life and say "Man, I wish we did this when..." and, most important of all, we are going to be able to show our children that living a life less ordinary is possible.  That, if you want something bad enough, your dreams can come true.  Our lives will be living proof.

So... will you be happy?  Will you be fulfilled?  I can't answer that for you.  But, at the very least, you will be able to say you tried, which is more than a lot of people can say.  Happiness is a journey - not a destination.  And the journey is what you make it.

Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect.  It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.- Anonymous

1 comment:

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

Love this! While we can only imagine that we'll love the cruising life and we don't yet know the outcome, taking the chance and finding out is what makes life exciting. We know that there will be negatives, but we can't think of any life situation that won't have them. We sure have them in our landlubber life! So glad that ya'll are happy with your decision!

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