Is Everyday a Vacation? --- FAQ from me to you!
As many of you know I, CJ, no longer draw a salary. During the 20-year span of my career I encountered some truly wonderful people and we remain at the very least Facebook Friends today. One such woman has posed the question on FB that has inspired this blog article! Thank you Laura E. *
The short answer is yes and no.
Yes – every day is a vacation because…
- I get to spend time in interesting places
- I don’t have to work
- I do whatever I want
- I have an awesome tan
- I meet new people constantly
- The food!!!
- Exploring new locations
Do I love not having an alarm clock? Sitting in the cockpit and watching the sun go down? Paddle boarding? Dinghy rides? Yoga? Sand in my toes (not on the boat)? Oh, yeah, you betcha! I get to read and wander and create things. My cooking skills are off the charts these days. Life is good, my friends. I am figuring out how I want to spend my time – it is taking me a while. I have a ton of footage that I want to make YouTube videos with so that you can see more of what we are doing. I have this crazy rock project that I want to launch. I have a ukulele to master.
No – every day is not a vacation because…
- Sometimes we get stuck in one place due to weather or mechanical issues
- We have less money -about half the income we used to have.
- Sometimes it is nice to have more structure
- I need to be vigilant about sunscreen and bug spray – I hate both!
- I miss my pals at home
- I make most of our meals each day to save money
- Shit breaks constantly – and it is rarely cheap or easy to repair
- Anchor alarms in the middle of the night
- In every new port we have to figure out the basics: market location, laundry facilities, transportation, fuel options, where we can legally anchor, where to land the dinghy…
- I miss the US Coast Guard
We chose this path and made the hard decisions to sell off our home, our cars and all but 4 totes of possessions to be out here. We wanted something different and boy did we get it! Everyday is different – that is a lot of instability. I find myself missing routine and it has taken a lot of time to adjust to not having the stability of a land-based life in the US. Finding reliable, fast Internet has been a huge challenge. River needs it for work and I need it to maintain connections with all of you! Amazon – I miss Amazon! Mostly, I miss the USCG. Having tried to hail for help in Mexican waters to no avail is terrifying. I miss Coast Guard Sector San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego – I miss every one of those men and women and the peace of mind that having them out there provides. We have DAN. We have a new satellite hot spot. And we have buddy boats. But we do not have the guardians of the seas on VHF channel 16.
So far there have been only two conversations about chucking this dream both sparked by me and just after some harrowing event. I no longer have the luxury of extracting myself from scary or dangerous situations. We both have to face the difficult passages, mechanical failures and mishaps head on. In the moment no one gets to lose his or her shit. So, after all of the dust has settled and we have showered and eaten I get to freak the hell out. River, patient as always, leads a good conversation about what went wrong, what went right, and how to avoid it in the future. We have some pretty inventive ideas and we are constantly learning and sharing with the community of cruisers. In these moments we are reminded that while this is a somewhat simple life -- it is not an easy one. We are able to see more of ourselves each day with each new challenge. Rising to these challenges has definitely pushed my limits in ways that I have never been challenged before. I am no adrenaline junkie – 40 MPH downhill on a road bike not withstanding. There are parts of the world we will never explore by boat. I simply do not have an interest in Cape Horn, the roaring 40’s and other places that thrill seekers and hardcore sailors do.
I am not that hardcore. And that is okay by me. Because the goal is for everyday to be like vacation – of course, sometimes it is sponsored by National Lampoons… In every life it is the highs and lows the good and bad the yin and the yang that make life sweet. I guess I should have asked Laura, “ How do you define vacation”?
Gotta catch that sunset, CJ
*A note about Laura E. She is, in fact, no longer Laura E. She is Laura K. Those facts aside I feel compelled to share with the world that Laura (E. or K.) is one of the most likeable, smart and interesting people I was ever forced to work with….
Here is how it played out: The company I worked for had two offices in California, one in SoCal and one in NorCal. (I think you see where this is headed)
The offices were somewhat rivals – I will leave it at that. My boss had this great idea that Laura E. should be my mentor. I needed a mentor (in hindsight -- badly) and the two offices needed face time with one another to increase synergy. (Oh, how that corporate speak comes rushing back!) So off I go to SoCal to meet with a person I had only encountered in conference calls - on her turf no less. Dreading honest feedback, fake smiles and having no faith that I would ever trust this person I donned my best suit and heels and boarded a plane. Within minutes we were chatting like old friends about this and that. We had many common interests and her kids were a smidge older than Meg. From that day on I knew I had a true friend. I began to realize that my ability to prejudge a person or situation was a defense mechanism I had developed early on and that this ability was no longer serving me. 1st mentor session = success!