We just sailed through our one hundred and first day. In this time we have begun to set the routines, behaviors, and mentalities that will be the foundations of our cruising lifestyle. After 101 days I can say with confidence that, while I haven’t experienced everything (who has) I am most definitely a cruiser, and I know that this life choice was the right one.
As with any milestone (and this one is arguably more arbitrary than most), I thought I would take a moment to publicly reflect on what life looks like at 101. So here, in no particular order, are some thoughts:
All of those things on my todo list didn’t really need to get done. We probably could have left 3 months earlier, and 3 months more wouldn’t have made a bit of difference for the good. If you are preparing to cruise and think you might be ready, go (unless you live in Alaska and it’s winter).
Cruising with kids is easier, yes easier, than living in a house with kids and going to work every day. Sure, it’s different for different families, and this lifestyle comes with its own complications, but for our family it is 100% better to be together nearly all the time. Cruising has enabled that for us.
All of the beautiful places I dreamed about while reading those cruising guides. You know, when I was freezing my butt off even as the space heater was pointing directly at me, those places are more beautiful and breathtaking than I could ever have guessed. I always advise setting low expectations as a way to ward off disappointment but in this case, it’s really not necessary.
Experience, rather than stuff, is the foundation of happiness. I tried stuff, even though I knew it was the wrong path. It was easy in Silicon Valley, stuff abounds and I had my way with it. Now I have very little, and smile a lot more often. What is the difference? I would argue that doing something big; something very few people actually believed I could do, is a big part of it. I think we are wired by our evolution to desire to grow and excel. Some people do this through their paid work, I do it this way. I firmly believe that everyone should set an audacious goal, flip the bird to the naysayers, and make something amazing happen in their life. If that something amazing lasts one day, and takes 10 years to clean up after, so be it. In our case it took 10 years to set up, that works too, as long as you know when to pull the trigger.
Obstacles & Perspective
On the same tip, one of the things that has brought us the most joy on this (and other) journeys, is the joy of overcoming an obstacle. What some cruisers will do anything to avoid (checking in to customs for example) I look forward to as an opportunity to really learn what the place is like. The difference between my experience in Cabo and the experience of many of the other score cruisers in the same room was that I was smiling. I honestly can’t even tell you what I was smiling about, but I decided that I was going to smile all day, as big as I could, and strangely, it made all the difference. The only thing that brought me down at all that day (and it didn’t last) was the grousing I heard. Even then I was just bummed for them. That said, if this wasn’t part of one of my life’s goals, I wouldn’t have been able to smile about it.
So there it is, four observations from a lightly seasoned cruiser. In the next 101 days we will cross an ocean.