Sunday, June 7, 2009

No matter where you go, there you are

Some people have asked "Do you recommend cruising?

As a fun thing to do for weeks or months, YES. No doubt. See my last post.

As a longer term lifestyle it is more complicated. A few years back therewas an attempt at a cult movie named something along the lines of Buckaroo Bonsai. As I recall, no cult formed. But Buckaroo Bonsai was fond of this catch phrase: "No matter where you go, there you are!" and it came to mind several times during the trip. Even though you were sitting there in a paradise, your inclination to find fault in a situation will eventually find its way to the surface in spite of your nearly ideal situation. You can see it in my posts - as the novelty diminished a little over time and the islands began to hold fewer surprises, I got bored from time to time, and said so. So regardless of where you travel, you bring yourself and therefore your baggage with you.

So if you are a person who already finds delight in a perfectly ripened tomato, or finding a good parking space, long term cruising is for you. There are so many of these little delights to be found, and many of the things you take for granted (like good beef, good produce, easy access to
fuel, machines that do your laundry and dishes) become delights when you find them. Of course, if you are that person, you are finding delight in ordinary things every day, and probably have no need to cruise to be delighted.

If you are a malcontent, and wondering if there is a better way out there, long term cruising may not be for you, since you will revert to being discontented after the novelty wears off. Paradoxically you are the person who needs the stimulation and change.

The truth seems to be in between. The change of scenery and exposure to other cultures has been helpful in putting minor irritants into perspective. I know that the experience has helped me appreciate all we have here in the states, and all I enjoy in my overly blessed life. But the new cruiser would be wrong to expect cruising to be a panacea.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Are you glad you did it?

A number of people have written to remind me that the adventure is never
over, and a few have pointed out that they would/do not expect life lessons
from a trip like this, it is just something fun to do. This is at least
partially true, but when you spend seven months away from your normal mode
of living I think it only natural that some observations about your way of
living will come to light. So, bear with me when I search for deeper
meaning, and remember that I almost always write tongue-in-cheek.

On a lighter note - A couple of people have asked: "Are you glad you did

Yes, without a doubt. It was a lot of fun, not outrageously expensive
(unless I can't find/tolerate a job because of it), nobody got hurt, and
even the boat survived. There was real challenge in planning and executing.
There was real danger (primarily from mother nature). I made new friends and
strengthened old bonds.

It should be noted that I had a fantastic crews. NO problem people at all;
this is remarkable when you put as many as 5 people in a 42 foot ship
(bottle) and shake vigorously for days. (Oh, here is a bad thought - maybe I
was the problem person!) I expect that character flaws are revealed in that
environment more than most, and without some humility and forgiveness,
things could get raw between shipmates.

It should also be noted that the ship held together remarkably well, with
perhaps the exception of the first two days. I think I might have different
observations had the diesel needed replacement in some remote island. Also,
I am lucky that I have some good sense on jury-rigging and repairs. We had a
few failures that might have been a real problem for others who didn't have
the mechanical ability.

It was enormous fun, and the rhythm of moving from island to island, the
balance of challenge and ease is hard to beat. Another benefit is meeting
so many people living lives that are so far removed from corporate America,
and so full of adventure (remember Michael and Ursula? Yoyo? Ira?) Having
Dana visit instead of quitting her job and putting our stuff in storage was
nearly perfect - We had income, benefits, avoided the trauma of closing our
household, and Dana got to do only the parts she wanted, with no transits.
It would have been better for Dana if it had been shorter, so that she could
have participated in a higher percentage of the trip. The seasons dictated
the length. It is also good to have another dimension (like kiting, surfing,
scuba diving, learning local cooking, volunteer work, etc) to keep your
cocktail hour from encroaching too deeply into your afternoons.

Next: Do you recommend cruising?


Monday, June 1, 2009


Well, it is over now, and I am struggling to put a bow on it and call it
finished. My brother told me recently that the blog just sort of trailed
off, and he is right.

I am tempted to sermonize in the manner of those silly, self important
protagonists of popular TV sitcoms. You know the lessons, they come in the
form of a voice-over at the end of the program that neatly knits up the
three subplots into a meaningful half-hour life experience. Perhaps this is
to convince you that you did not actually waste your time watching, that
there was something to learn if you paid attention.

Sorry, but I have bad news for you.

You may have wasted your time reading my blog. I can't think of a single
life lesson that will tie it up into a bundle and make it whole. There are a
few observations though, and I will give in to the temptation to share them.
They are too numerous and lengthy to impose on you poor abused readers, so I
will break them out into individual entries over the next couple of weeks.

Next: "Do you recommend cruising?"