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Old 07-29-2007, 04:42 AM   #1
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Since we sold the house last year, bought our cruising boat, moved across the country to re-build the boat, and now spend 40 hrs a week doing that re-build...life has changed a lot. We're in a whole different place mentally, physically, everything, than we were 18 months ago. Life is good and getting better by the day.

So life is different, our outlook is also different. We're in a groove that suits us and makes us happy. We're sailing here and there on a smaller boat and enjoying working on the cruising boat. Its all coming together. Our old life is behind us and we're happy its there. Yes, we're still working in the evening hours on our software-related business activities. Yes, we still travel to meet customers and vendors. Yes, we're still in the "real world" doing that stuff. But, we're in a whole 'nother place mentally than we were a couple years ago.

But, I'm finding that I'm having to avoid talking to many of my old land-locked friends--they're driving me batty. I don't want to talk to them about our life choices and cruising anymore. They don't "understand" why we're picking up the cruising life now in our mid-40's. They see it as "early-retirement" and say they wish they could have such a "break". I try to explain that its not a break for us...its our new life...we're still working and productive but...since 1982 we've been saving money and planning for flexibility of living aboard and cruising...this is not a whim...some blank stares....really? you planned this? WHY did you plan this? how could you have known so long ago that this was the thing for you? you must be mistaken...this must be a mid-life crisis...

argh.... when you slowly and patiently try to explain again that this is the life you've been working towards...and all they are is focused on how much its going to cost and how could you possibly afford to "do this". Argh!!!! all my peace, all my feelings of this is a good life and a "do-able thing", I cannot convey this info to them...

Then, those who think the idea of living aboard and cruising in a sailboat is nifty just keep pressing us for an itinerary. I mean, we say "we're launching late next winter or early the following spring, then selling the other boat, moving aboard this one, doing So Cal sea trials, then taking off for the Pacific NW--either via HI or maybe hopping up the coast harbor to harbor, but that could be too much beating into the wind..we'll have to see how the boat does once we've relaunched her... We're planning on staying on the west coast of North America for at least a year, likely longer but it will be depending on how our business is going at the time,"

You'd think that would make them happy--a plan. Vague, but there. But, no, they really, really want to know "when will the trip be over". When we say "hopefully never" they're silent. They still want the long term plans that include an "end" to this whole cruise. You know, the part where you have the big party and show off the slides of your "trip" kinda thing.

Well, depending on our business success or failure and depending upon the weather/political climates etc, we could be anywhere in a couple years. That's what we want--ability to change plans, move around, see and experience the world around us...that's a reason WHY we like the cruising life--we can go where we want to go, live where we want to live for a bit and then move on. Many of our friends know that we've lived all over the USA and internationally. We're not people who stay in one place. We've moved 13 times in 25 years. This cruising thing "fits" who we are.

But, they don't seem to get that either. I just had a conversation with a friend visiting from back east. We went sailing for a wonderful day on the water in the smaller boat. Glorious wind, wonderful sky, very little swell, oh, what a wonderful day of sailing we had. Our visitors got bored though. They inspected the boats nooks and crannies, they asked if we could watch the boat's TV...yes, watch TV while sailing??? Then the questions of "what do you DO? on a boat while cruising? How do you keep from getting bored?" Well....its not boring to us to be sailing. We love it...We explained...more blank stares...well ok, back to that major topic...

"The itinerary"

We could make something up, say we're going to do a circumnavigation or something. But, its not necessarily true. We're going to explore places that we want to explore--and how we connect the dots, well, thats up to winds, etc. We'll go to the NW, we'll go to Patagonia, we'll go to New Orleans, we'll go to Maine. We'll see Newfoundland. We'll see northern Poland and Sweden. We'll go to Ireland, we'll see the Med. When? I don't know. But, it will be during our cruising life.

The visitor was really pushing on the itinerary. Finally, he said something about how this fellow he knew retired and spent all winter on his sailboat in Florida and all summer up in Maryland and just loved sailing it back and forth. That was his idea of the kind of long term itinerary that was OK. We said, well, we don't know where we'll be. Probably the west coast for a couple years. Probably going down to South America at some point. Don't know. Doesn't matter right now. We're in phase I of our cruising life--rebuilding the boat and preparing ourselves physically for the work of sailing it safely. What matters most to us is that we work on the boat, work on our bodies, get the boat in the water and that we have time to enjoy sailing our other boat while we complete this phase of our cruising life--the "prepare the boat, the people, and the soul" phase.

The soul is feeling trampled.

We've been avoiding so many of our old friends. This is sad. I just don't want to "explain" anymore. Does this happen to others of you who are prepping for your upcoming cruising? How have you dealt with these things?
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Old 07-29-2007, 05:50 AM   #2
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Sounds like the beginning to a book.

We get these questions a lot especially since we live way way below our means for the singular purpose of saving money to cruise the world. We are now living in a one bedroom apartment, both drive older paid for cars and have no bills other than those associated with the boat.

Most of our friends seem to understand what we are doing, but probably won't accept it until they see our blogs from remote locations. It's all about the remote locations for us...sunsets and sunrises in new places, drinks with interesting people and memories beyond photos or videos.
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Old 07-29-2007, 05:51 AM   #3
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Many people initially thought I was runnning away. It took a degree of calm stoicism on my part to convince them I was in fact, running toward. My friends now accept what we are doing. Some business friends have dropped away; many new friends have been accumulated. My family is supportive and mostly envious..(even that one ratty aunt who has always thought I was a lost cause). Kyoko is a little apprehensive, but has more confidence in me than I deserve.

Many people can't conceive of such a huge lateral shift in lifestyle....it is opposed to the traditional, secure model we have followed all our lives.

'What if it doesn't work'? Is the question most often asked. I have given up trying to justify my position so I merely answer with, "Well then, I shall do something else".

And that is what I shall do!

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Old 07-29-2007, 06:10 AM   #4
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Bo Peep,

It's just culture shock...different expectations from different people to the same scenario. Let it slide off your back...the whole snake shedding its skin thing to be reborn, yada, yada, etc, etc.

Nothing at all against, nor an ill word meant, towards your friends, but you are growing away from them if your ideals and convictions are changing. A positive, not negative....diverging paths, that's all.

Some will simply not get it...never, ever. So be it. So it goes! My dear grandmother is still convinced I'll claw my way back into the box and get over this 'foolishness'! Poor gal is still worrying about pirates, drug dealers and, no kidding, wild animals getting me one of these days. ...let alone the lack of understanding the rejection of the 'conventional' way to live.

Have fun, remember fondly, but forget about it and go on!

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Old 07-29-2007, 07:09 AM   #5
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[/quote]

"What matters most to us is that we work on the boat, work on our bodies, get the boat in the water and that we have time to enjoy sailing our other boat while we complete this phase of our cruising life--the "prepare the boat, the people, and the soul" phase.

The soul is feeling trampled.

We've been avoiding so many of our old friends. This is sad. I just don't want to "explain" anymore."

Does this happen to others of you who are prepping for your upcoming cruising? How have you dealt with these things?


One hopes that one's soul is encased in glass so that one's friends could see into one's innermost being - but, it's not so !

You have changed - your psyche is now on a different level - the language that you now articulate is foreign to their ears - to them, you are presenting aberrational symptoms of unconformity !

It is not only the time that you are spending preparing your boat, it's the time that you spend with others who already speak your new language that is the imperative to complete the transition to a yachtie.

I remember working at very high level in that pressure cooker that is Hong Kong , my office window overlooked the harbour and across to Victoria. One morning I was standing idly looking out that window watching a fisherman in his sampan fishing right bang in the middle - at the same noticed some police launches speeding towards my fisherman - it was obvious from the gesticulations that he was being ordered to move - it was also obvious that he was not going to, he just returned to fishing. A few moments later I noticed tug approaching from left stage and behind the tug the Aircraft Carrier HMS Illustrious steaming slowly towards our intrepid fisherman in his sampan. It would be great to report that the Illustrious changed course - it didn't happen , the police boarded and took a line from a launch and dragged the sampan clear. Later , after the HMS Illustrious had passed , I cheered when I saw the sampan back in its old fishing spot.

I went back to my apartment that evening vowing that I was going to get a boat; I did , I learned how to sail , took my masters and engineers tickets. Travelled to many coutries looking for a new ideal boat - ended up in Australia building a catamaran - took it back to Hong Kong - moved out of my apartment - moved on board in the New Territories - commuted to the office - worked on the boat - met yachties - they became kindred spirits - we still speak the same language. We are free .

RBP your writings already indicate that you are making time to spend with those that speak the same language - A cruiser once reminded me " People make Places!"
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Old 07-29-2007, 10:21 AM   #6
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Old 07-29-2007, 11:24 AM   #7
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When Peter and I left to go cruising, I got the feeling from friends and family that our lifestyle choice was interpreted by them as a rejection of them and their values. A few would say, "oh, how I wish I could do that...", but most of them took offense. We changed tactics then, and said we were just taking a long vacation, and would probably be back in a couple years.

A couple years went by, we were in the States to visit family and friends, and Peter got a call from his former employer, asking him when he could start work. Hemming and hawing wasn't going to work this time, so Peter said "I'm just not ready to come back yet." But we found that it was less painful to us, and others, to simply say, "maybe next year we'll come back."

It didn't matter that we said that we were moving TOWARDS a life, not running away from one. People just took our choice as a rejection of their choices. Even now, more than 20 years later, there are still people who just shrug their shoulders and make it clear that they cannot understand us. It's easier, now, to simply smile and ask them how their grandchildren are (or some other such conversational ploy).

Surprisingly, the person who irks me the most is a person who feels that our life is something to brag about and a reason to feel superior. I don't feel that way, so it makes me uncomfortable to hear such a thought. It's just a life. Different from some others, but only better for us, not superior to others.

Does that make sense to you?
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Old 07-29-2007, 11:54 AM   #8
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Redbopeep,

I sympathise with your frustration at friends, whot are really nice people, but just don't get that others may wish to live a completely different lifestyle.

I have seen other people having the same difficulty trying to explain a non-conventional lifestyle, especially ones where the focus more on the journey than the destination. One aquintance in Australia become a trainee Budhist monk. Others progessed from being weekend rockclimbers to being full-time mountaineers and adventurers - travelling to all continents and nearly dying in the process.

Except for their friends already in these lifestyles, their friends and families bombarded them with questions about exactly what their path would be, where it would lead to and when it would end and they would get back to a "normal" life.

I suspect people's view on life becomes very deeply ingrained, and it is hard to conceive of a different approach. More possessions = better. More predictable and less risk = better. Nervousness at starting a path without knowing where it will end. And the Western philosophy that we work towards goals that are endpoints, not creating a way of living.

Try to be philosophical when bombarded by questions or blank looks.

You will have experiences and satisfactions that mainstream folk will not imagine.

Your disconnect from friends is sad, but there is probably not much you can do about it.

Best wishes on your fantastic path

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Old 07-29-2007, 08:53 PM   #9
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What everyone says is so true. If what we choose to do is different from what others think we ought to be doing--or what they're doing, or what fits their idea of "normal"--they're threatened and often work hard to change our minds. My son is experiencing this right now as the family (except his parents and aunt) have gathered for a week at the shore. They've all decided what his next step in life ought to be instead of giving him the chance to figure it out on his own. And now the pressure's on. I told him just to smile and nod and then do what he thinks is best.

This may just be life...and at least we have other cruisers with whom to share the time of preparation and the time of voyaging. I like what Jeanne said, which is much like what I told my son--about just smiling and being vague. That's usually the best way to handle discussions about politics and religion as well--unless someone REALLY wants to know why you think a certain way. They probably won't convert, but they just might come sailing....
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Old 07-30-2007, 03:51 AM   #10
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All that has been written in this thread is very true. But does it really matter?

Of course people react negatively when they meet others with an unconventional lfestyle. Is it because they don't understand the lifestyle or are there undertones of envy? I don't know and the bottom line is that I do not care either. No, not knowing and not caring is not ignorance and appathy. What it is is a fundmental belief in the " live and let live" concept. If others do not disturb me then I will not disturb them!

I would say that it is a simple as that. Throughout life all of us meet people who have lifestyles we do not understand. Some may appear conventional on the surface but can be very unusual behind locked doors. Others are more openly unusual. But what does that matter? Live your own lives, not other peoples! Be happy with yourself

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Old 07-30-2007, 07:34 AM   #11
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redbopeep,

What a variety of good responses.

If you get tired of explaining it; stop explaining. You do not have to justify to anybody your choices in life.

People usually have opinions, and they think theirs is correct, for EVERYBODY.

Who has not been told, what their career path choice should be, what school they should go to, whom they should or should not marry, how many children THEY should have, where they should work, which automobile to buy, where they should live, what they should or maybe not eat, how they should dress, how they should cut or style their hair, how they should vote, which is the correct religion...... you get the idea.

Different strokes, for different folks. Personality, skill inventory, and aptitude tests, categorize people. One person likes to hunt, another is a vegetarian, yet another is an anti-activist. Some play sports, others watch it happen. ...you get the idea.

Perhaps a short version to those asking "WHAT, WHY, or HOW COME, is, "If you are asking, you would not understand it". Done, end of discussion.

From the stand point of those asking, they may think you are nuts, weird, bumped your head really hard, or are simply in awe, and may have a genuine interest in trying to understand "why". I think I read someplace that there is an estimated 14 million cruisers world wide. By itself that is a large number. Compared to the total world population, cruising and living aboard is a rather rare lifestyle.

It seems to me the bigger problem is when they decide what is right for you. Discussing and explaining seems fair to me, justifying does not. True friends will remain friends, and support you; well at least I think they should and would.

Follow your plans and dreams.



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Old 07-30-2007, 04:01 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by SeaVenture View Post
If what we choose to do is different from what others think we ought to be doing--or what they're doing, or what fits their idea of "normal"--they're threatened and often work hard to change our minds.
Exactly- you are threatening them because you make them think perhaps all they value and work for is not all that valuable and worth working for, so they defend THEIR choices by making yours seem not right.

Just smiile, nod, and go on- In 20 or 30 years, you'll have had the better life.

From someone ewho's been on both sides of the cruising/live aboard fence. Soon to get back out there
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Old 07-30-2007, 05:50 PM   #13
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The one that kills us, is the question: Why don't you buy a house?

Let's list the reasons!
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Old 07-30-2007, 07:37 PM   #14
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The one that kills us, is the question: Why don't you buy a house?

Let's list the reasons!
takes a lot of time to keep up

takes a lot of money to keep up

not necessarily a good investment

gotta buy furniture (you won't be using on the boat)

keeps you tied to one metro area

keeps you tied to a job to pay that mortgage

keeps folks keeping up with the jones'....

on and on...

I'm laughing. The house thing is soooo important to soooo many people. Its not necessarily the best way to invest money--it all depends upon your ability to stash away money in other investments. If a person can only save by being "forced" to put it in a house, well, then that's the way for that person to have a nest egg for the future.

About our own house-experiences--this is a long post...

My husband was in the military for several years and as we'd move from place to place, renting, we'd see our friends making the same moves (after 1.5 to 3 years) having to sell a house and losing money because of the combo of things like closing costs and not owning the property long enough as well as having purchased a cookie-cutter house in a cookie-cutter neighborhood that could only appreciate as fast as all the other houses around it. And, that was even in the mid-80's in So-Cal when property values were going up really fast. The biggest problem was, people were buying and selling based on their job transfer timing instead of buying and selling based upon the real estate market. They were getting burned or just breaking even in the best of markets.

Everywhere my husband and I lived, we did the "buy vs rent analysis" and except once renting always came out on top--allowing us to save money for the future. We had no intention of ever buying a house (before cruising) unless it made big financial sense or allowed us to fulfill one of our dreams (fixing up a charming old house) w/o cutting into our cruising savings. We didn't buy a house until we'd been married for almost 12 years. Then, we found ourselves in Washington DC where many houses were amazingly cheap and rents were amazingly high in comparison. It was a weird combo. We could buy a house for about 1/2 of what we could rent for (this was in 1993/94 time frame).

The "extra" that cinched us into buying a house was that we're really a "fix-it" couple who love old houses, old cars, old boats, old things...and DC was chock-full of amazing historic houses with nifty architectural elements intact but in need of "fixing." Those houses were cheap--because that metro area is one where tradespeople are hard to come by and when you find them they're way over-paid. Also, because of the political and financial woes the city of DC was having at the time (we figured it couldn't get much worse and was a good bet to get better). And, we knew we could always rent the house for more than the holding costs (something this is usually NOT true) So, the combo of cheap house vs high rent plus amazing fixer-uppers vs high tradespeople cost plus city is at it "lowest" PR point...got us to purchase a house that became our "hobby" to fix up for a couple years.

It was an enjoyable thing to do and we considered selling the house in 2000 when we started our own business and knew that we really weren't "using" the whole house and didn't need it anyway. (big, 6000+ sf house). Instead of selling then, on the advice of a good friend, we ended up operating the place as a very profitable international guest-house for over 5 years which really contributed greatly to the cruising kitty. (one of my goals had always been to run a B&B and this was pretty close without all the work). We sold the house at the height of the DC market in 2006 (note we were WILLING to sell at the right time), made money, and had a great experience. Our friends didn't "get it" when we sold our "great house" after "all that work to fix it up"...

It was the great experiences we had that made it a worthwhile thing to do--not the money. If we had lived in a small apartment and invested our extra cash in the stock market, we would have come out in the same financial place as we did when we sold the house. If we had purchased a cookie-cutter house in a cookie-cutter neighborhood like most people do--we wouldn't be in the same place we are financially today, though. We had to take quite a few risks to get the return on investment.

The fun of fixing up that place will be with us forever. The skills we gained are going right into rebuilding our boat. The many international friends we made while operating the property as a guest house will pay off big time as we travel the globe in our sailboat. We have friendships with people in Tasmania, Barcelona, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Canada, India, China, Germany, many US cities...all because they spent a few weeks or months (or in a couple cases years) at our guest house in DC. We shared our story and our dreams with all who came through the door--many of them were excited by our dream of cruising and have kept in touch, inviting us to visit them as we travel.

We would have bought a boat and started cruising as early as 1998 had we not owned that house. So, which was better? Depends on the person. We've enjoyed our life as it has played. I do know that when we bought a fixer-upper house in DC proper our friends thought we were nuts. I also know that now that DC has "turned around" and real estate in the city is in great demand, all those same friends say things like "I wish I coulda' bought a house there when you did." It is pointless to remind them that they purchased their houses in nearby Potomac MD or Fairfax VA in the same year for the same $$. This is another "they don't get it" story, huh?

There are always lots of "don't get its" I guess. Things that we've forgone because of saving for cruising--new cars: From 1982-2005, hubby drove the same 1974 saab 99le that he bought from his dad in 1982. In 2005, he bought a 1987 saab 900 turbo ($800) to replace his old faithful '74 that was mechanically sound, but was having too much body-flex for us to think it was still structurally sound. We bought a new saab in 1985 that I drove until it was rear-ended in 2001. Since 2001, I've driven a 1976 saab 99ems that I bought for $200 and put $1200 into paint, headliner, ulpholstry fabric. The only break from our old cars was the 2 years we lived in Japan. We haven't paid for someone else to fix a car since about 1986 when the warranty ran out on the 1985. Lots of savings represented here. Also, like making sure all your water pumps are the same on your boat, well, having cars with the same engine (all of them 74-87 the same), really cuts down on the time you take diagnosing things on your cars...

But, all that saving by having old cars has been lots of fun for us. Now, our old cars are considered something special. These days, people walk up to me and offer to purchase my Buttercup (the 1976) or tell me how cute the car is. Little do they know how cheap she was and how practical, too! We've towed heavy trailers, carried 500-lb I beams on the roof racks, carried just about anything and everything in and on our cars. Spars, rudders, wood, trash...another story another time...

We've always lived below our means and socked away money as we could to be ready to go cruising. When I was 19 and hubby 21 back in 1982, we laid out a plan that I'm happy we've more-or-less stuck to. One of our main goals was to be living on a boat and cruising by the time we'd been married 25 years. We had other goals that we've met along the way: owning a business together, certain travel goals, fixing up up an old house, contributing to the communities we've lived in, etc. I guess many of those things are "ours" and aren't things that I can expect everyone of my friends/family to "get" either.

While we fix up our cruising boat, we now have a studio apt in a getto (really) in San Diego, our business is run from this little apt and a storage unit back in the DC area. We "live" both in the apt and on our (cheap and old) 30' 1966 sloop. Our life is as inexpensive as we can make it and still be productive towards our goals.

I hope you also get it
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