Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Keeping it Real

It's been brought to my attention that we, and specifically this blog, have (literally) launched several ships and more than a few dreams.  This is incredibly flattering if not a little scary.  To get an email that reads: "We just bought a boat and will start cruising next year - after we learn to sail, of course - all because of your blog, so thank you!" makes me realize that my musings actually have some power and are no longer just me sharing my rose-colored thoughts and experiences.  I keep waiting for the day when I get a hateful message from someone who sold everything, bought a boat and sailed off into the sunset only to curse us every single minute of their dreadful cruising existence.  "You lied!!" they would say, spitting venom though the interwebz, "You made me believe that cruising was magical and it SUCKS!  My crappy boat is small, hot and constantly broken and my wife left me for an incredibly fit twenty-five year old Mexican scuba instructor.  I have nothing and it's all YOUR FAULT!!" Then, in my imagination, they would threaten me with litigation because almost always in this fantasy these folks are American, and what does an American love more than a good old fashioned law suit?

While I do tend to accentuate the positives of this life, I also believe I do a fair job at balancing this out with some brutal honesty as well.  I will continue on this trajectory - but in an effort to "keep it real" I want to share with you two accounts of people who's cruising fantasies didn't quite go as planned.  Realistic expectations, in my opinion, are crucial (mandatory?) to being happy in life, travel, relationships, etc...so reading these two accounts will show you the flip side to the pretty pictures and whimsical Facebook updates.  Brace yourself.  These are brutally honest accounts and one of these stories is tragically heartbreaking.

Here is the account of a couple of cruisers who are throwing in the towel after the harsh realization that they actually didn't enjoy cruising and have decided to "swallow the anchor" as it were and sell their boat. 

And here is the tragic tale of a couple of cruisers who, after a series of unfortunate events coupled with severe mental anguish, decided to abandon their boat - and their dreams of cruising - in the Pacific.

Both of these stories should provide a good dose of "yin" to my "yang", and should be read by anyone who is considering a life afloat because sometimes, it's not all it's cracked up to be, and that's totally okay.

13 comments:

La famille Larose said...

This is sooo true!

We travelled only for one year and witnessed the break down of at least 3 couples that we met along the way.

Not that it wouldn't have happened back home but cruising does have its way of pushing you to your limits.

As Billy Joel would refer to it, "Did you ever let your lover see the stranger in yourself?"

NatGeoWannaBe said...

Nothing is ever "all its cracked up to be"...except the grass...but only when it's located on the other side of the fence.

Captain Nigel said...

Yep, my boat is too small, too hot and I'm always fixing something...but, my wife and I still love it :)

Jeremy said...

Thanks for sharing the other side. We are in the process of giving it a try. Based on some of those who realized it wasn't for them, we are leaving ourselves enough money to return, and starting on a "pocket cruiser" while living in an apartment to see how things go. You have inspired people to dream (and do), and while it's easy to focus on just the great weather and happy stories - we know that no matter where you live or what you do, there is always a downside and headaches. To us, whether we make it or not, we are proud to have the courage to try. That is, in large part, thanks to the mere fact that seeing your family and several others like bumfuzzle let's us know that it can be done - even if we don't see all of the lows or how low it can be.

artofhookie.org said...

When I have the worst days imaginable I have to remind myself that even shore side we have good days and bad. The question I always ask myself is what would I be doing if I was shore side right at that moment. The answer??? more than likely reading your blog and dreaming about chucking it all and sailing away. I never expected it to be easy of fun all the time, I had put my cruising plans on hold for a few years after loosing my wife and boat after she realized that the fantasy was greater than the reality, now that I'm slipping back into life afloat on a new boat I realize that for me there never was a fantasy that I was searching out. Its the reality that I live for good and bad.

redhedrach said...

Oh my!!! When I clicked on the second blog post, I was curious who else has abandoned their boat on the Pacific. My friends recently did, and it turned out to be their blog. I had been searching for it since I heard the news. Glad I finally found it, and surprised that news travels that fast no matter where you are in the world! Thanks for sharing these.

Anonymous said...

Cogent choices for examples illustrating the other side of cruising. As was so emotionally communicated in the blog of Zenamaran: "I am not a sailor, l guess that is one lesson from this. I can sail, I can handle the boat well and blend with the element, however the moments of pleasure have been slight. There was a few moments when the flow was there, the sequencing , the harmony of movement, with water, wind and self was balanced, beauty. However a real sailor would live for this adventure...Weeks at sea, wet, drifting, sleepless, tired, with a broken boat sucks." The emotion and despair of the situation are eloquently captured. Sooner or later, many of us will face some degree of this feeling when cruising. If not overwhelming, it will build character and confidence and make all of good times that much sweeter.

Linz said...

Thank you so much for sharing these other sites. It takes courage to admit when something isn't working, and to change it, and even more courage to get knocked down in the face of pursuing your dreams. I appreciate their stories.

Paul & Terri said...

Good post as always Brit but I took away a few observations from both blogs that might cause some to disagree with me. The first one is more true to the norm. I think folks take on this lifestyle thinking it’s all romance, sunshine and umbrella drinks. Life is hard on land or on a boat. I think boat life just brings problems to the surface faster since you are out of your comfort zone. The second story is sad but to me, it sounds like this guy was in way over his head. I don’t know the whole story but it appears they had not planned very well and did not have the experience or crew to make such a trip not to mention the boat needed help. In one of the photos you can see where obvious maintenance had been neglected. Boats with less technology have made that journey but with more experienced captains. As this guy states, he’s a day sailor. In reality, he’s lucky he and his wife came out as well as they did.
Bottom line I take from these two blogs, don’t fool yourself. Be honest with your expectations and your abilities. Take baby steps unless you can handle the pain of running on broken glass!!!

Zen said...

As the person in the second of these stories. There are two things worth saying.
1. We have not given up sailing. It is all just on hold until we are able to make a come back. Although the Ocean crossing part is gone.

2. One should not make judgments about anyone unless they know the whole story and details.

Fair Winds.

Windtraveler said...

@Zen - thank you for chiming in. I hope you did not think I was judging you in any way because, I assure you, I was not. I simply wanted to share your story because I think it is a compelling one and something that many people who wish to cross oceans should read - because you paint a very real picture with your poetic words. I am very happy to hear you will sail again and I wish you and your wife all the best moving forward. I have total faith that this will somehow turn into a positive for you both.

Zen said...

Windertraveler: yes, i understand. It is important for people to understand both sides of sailing. In my years of sailing and teaching sailing on the S.F. bay, i saw many experienced sailors get into trouble. Sometimes it is just the luck of the draw, equipment or other circumstances. Many do not hear about these stories other than the sailing locals. I wrote what i did so people will know and understand we have limited control over our circumstances and the Ocean plays no favorites. There comes a point were pride and ego need to be over come for the safety of others. I spent years preparing my boat and self, took classes, taught for large sailing schools , hold a Captains lic. Still things happen, part of sailing is the ability , the smarts to deal with them. Better to go out there with one's eyes open than in the dream state that magazines paint. Thank you for sharing our story. I hope others will read it and be prepared for the worse. We were, so we are alive. Also read the underling propose/theme of the sail , we , the Oceans, the air and all life are connected. What we do to the Oceans we do to Ourselves, there is no duality. _/|\_

Alex in NC said...

Having read both misadventure blogs, it distills down to:
Expectations,
Experience, &
Equipment

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