The Courage to Go Cruising
By Trish Lambert

"You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore!" 

by Andre Gide 

We need the courage to go cruising ...I assert that, even though we who cruise on small boats may not think of ourselves as courageous, it takes courage to go cruising living on the water with nature as a sometimes temperamental roommate demands courage from us.  

Recently it has occurred to me that the courage to go cruising is a demand from us before we ever leave the dock-for some of us, before we ever even get a boat.

How many of us come from more or less traditional backgrounds?

Baby Boomer Backgrounds:

If you are a Baby Boomer like me, chances are you grew up in a "Leave it to Beaver," pearls-to-do-the-dishes world. No, my mother never actually did the dishes wearing pearls-but she definitely had the kind of mindset that those pearls symbolize.

The household in which I was raised was pretty mainstream, white bread fifties and sixties. Get a good education, get a good job, and (because I'm a female) get a good husband.

"Good" had a material element to it-do well financially, buy a house in the upscale suburbs, keep moving up the social-material ladder.

I don't know that I ever quite bought into the script. I thought that I did. Got the degree, got the job, got into debt from trying to get too much stuff too soon.

And got stressed from living a life that didn't quite suit me. Then, somewhere in my late twenties, something shifted. I wanted adventure, I hated corporate life, I had lots of curiosity about the world and abundant energy to go get my questions answered.

All I needed was a catalyst-and along came Dan, my swashbuckling "Captain Blood" first husband, dangling the idea of sailboat cruising in front of my face. I went after the lure with gusto and found the courage to go cruising.

Attitudes when we go Cruising!

Thinking back, I realize that my parents must have been stunned and disappointed in my choice to jump the career/life track I'd been traveling.

So much potential, they probably said to each other, she's wasting herself. But they never said that stuff to me; my parents had a laissez-faire attitude once my sisters and I reached adulthood. They refrained from voicing judgments about how we were living our lives-at least to our faces.

Still, there's no way that they could have looked upon my choice to take off on a boat for an undetermined amount of time with anything but dismay.

And the fact that I'm still cruising twenty years later has my mother looking at me with puzzlement sometimes. My world is so alien to her that I must seem like some kind of zoo specimen. 

Courage to go Cruising & Family:

Do Your Family Get Used to Your Choice of Lifestyle?

Puzzlement aside, my family has gotten used to my eccentricity. They might even admire my commitment and courage to go cruising, such a bohemian (in their minds) existence. I don't know.

The thing is, it has been a long time since I've worried (or even thought) about what my family thinks about how I'm living my life, so I have forgotten that family can be a significant obstacle when it comes to going cruising.

The other day I was talking to a cruiser-wannabe friend of mine who was chafing at his confinement to land. As he enumerated the various things that were keeping him stuck, he touched on his parents-what would they think if he upped and left a prestigious, high-paying job to take to the waves.

It struck me that many people may have to confront non-agreement from blood relatives when they start to weave a cruising dream, and that it certainly takes courage to go cruising and stand firm in the face of either tacit or explicit expressions of dismay and disapprobation.

Courage to Confront Ourselves!

As I write this, it strikes me that we also need courage to go cruising and confront ourselves about the cruising dream. Our families may very well be echoing some our own thoughts about the "craziness" or "irresponsibility" of sailing over the horizon.

How many of us think about cruising in the context of retirement, or have some other line drawn out there in the future to demark our land life from our cruising life?

I've said elsewhere that I do not join the chorus of "Go Now!" cruising evangelists, but I am also not a supporter of going cruising only after all the other things in life have been neatly tied up and put away.

I have met many older cruisers who regretted waiting until retirement to cruise, if only because senescence had forced them to limit their plans because the demands of cruising on their bodies couldn't cope with the original dream.

When the kids are gone, when the retirement fund is "enough," when we've done our thirty years with the company. When, when, when!  It takes courage for us to transcend our assumptions about what life needs to look like before we can taste the cruising life. While I reject the "Go Now!" message, I don't believe that you should "Go Later" either.

Go as soon as you can-no sooner, and no later. Whatever your family says, whatever your own mind says, pump up your courage, look yourself squarely in the eye, and tell the truth.

Would it be okay with you to have the dream of cruising never realized? 

How would you feel if you never had the courage to go cruising and fulfil your dream?


Trish Lambert has been a cruising sailor for over twenty-five years and a first mate three times, with three different skippers and three very different cruising styles.

She knows firsthand what makes cruising successful, and what she has to share may surprise you! Whether you are a skipper or first mate, a single hander or part of a cruising couple, sail boater or power boater, Trish has insights that will help make your cruising dream a reality.

Article Source: Ezine Articles - Trish Lambert 





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