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Old 17-07-2012, 20:29   #1
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Love, life and family. Does Cruising fit in?

My big dream is getting in the way of life.

My wife and partner of 15 years can't and won't try to understand. We've talked, laughed, cried and argued, sometimes until there doesn't seem like there is anything left to say on the subject.

We've had our issues (some big, and many small) like any couple and have always managed to work our way through to the other side. Yet talking deeply about meaning and life and purpose and why are subjects of discussion that never go anywhere. We never make progress. Never reach a resolution.

She tells me that people are happy, "Look at all the happy people out there working and living and paying off mortgages and taking 4 weeks of vacation each year" she says. "Why can't you be happy like them? Like I am now?" she tells me.

But deep down I know that lots of people are unhappy. I know they are stuck - job, mortgage, friends, family and stuff and things and objects. That despite her telling me”People are free and have choices and WANT to live like that”, I don't buy it.

There MUST BE MORE TO LIFE THAN THAT!

She is an amazing woman, capable, strong, smart, active and adventurous. Yet due to a certain upbringing, fearful of change, imagined danger and scared of the untested areas beyond the comfort zone of her existing worldview.

We have done things together and achieved things that when she looks back at the start, tells me “I would never have done that if you hadn’t have pushed me and I love you for doing so. I never thought I could do it but I’m so happy I did. The tears were worth it!”

I see who she really is and I know that she would thrive “out there”. I know what she is capable of, she does too in some respects, but. But.

We have 2 kids. A sweet, headstrong, beautiful and charming (I could go on) 4 year old daughter. Her nickname is Bam Bam (I know, I know Pebbles was the girl), she runs and screams and laughs headlong into ANYTHING. Stubborn, oh my gosh, like any 4 year old can be. And Squiddy, he’s 8 (he was nothing but arms and legs writhing around on the weigh table at birth – 3lbs 12 and 8 weeks early) What an amazing kid, smart, intuitive, loves his sport, climbing trees, books etc. They are made for it.

I want them to see the world, to experience something in a way that may not be possible for them in 30-40 years. To see it while it is still there for the seeing and to see the world for what it really is.

To understand that life isn’t about how much money or stuff you have, but that it is about what you carry and have inside of yourself.

She tells me. “You do it, you go. It’s your dream, not mine. I can’t, I won’t. I. Don’t. Want. That. I want stability, security, safety. I want connection to my family, my place and my home. I don’t want to change.”

We have lots of stuff. Clothes, shoes, toys, tv’s, cars, books, gadgets, tools, toys, furniture, art. More than anyone really needs. I look at it all now and feel sad. We stress that we haven’t given enough gifts to our kids on birthdays and at Christmas. Now I look at their bedrooms and think “What on earth was I thinking, there is enough Lego in here to build a stairway to the Moon. What am I teaching my kids?”

I feel I need to break free from societies grasp. Unshackle myself from our modern, self-centred, unfair and unbalanced cultural shackles and TRY to do something better for my family.

I’ve sailed, we’ve owned boats. Family have yachts. Water is everywhere. Hell, I live in New Zealand, Christchurch now, but Auckland and the Bay of Islands/Whangarei were previous stomping grounds. You can still smell the salt air from the middle of the country side!

Cruising seems like a natural progression, an amazing way to achieve my dreams. It’s not the be all and end all, but a means to an end.

A way to be…Free.

I feel lost. Water logged and weighed down below the waterline. Becalmed and marooned while the world sails past leaving me in its wake, knowing that I have the resources, means, drive, skill and love to actually do it. To chase it.

Yet feeling unable to try. Not really knowing how.
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Old 17-07-2012, 21:11   #2
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Re: Love, life and family. Does Cruising fit in?

Well your wife is right it is your dream. But, it sounds like she is telling you that you should do it. But, I would not drag her kicking and screaming on board. That won't work. My girlfriend is ok for a daysail or a few days on board at most. I know her limitations but, she also knows how much I love being on board and does not put limits on my plans and desires even if she does not want to experience them like I do.
My suggestions is for you to get a boat and start fixing it up to follow your dream. Your wife may come around or maybe not. But, at a minimum your kids could join you from time to time if you sail off.Your dreams/plans may change too over time. Mine do. Some people sail off for a year or two and then decide they have had enough and go back to land. Others keep on cruising. There are many ways to follow your dream. You'll never know if your dream is all you think it will be until you get out there and start living it. So just start to pursue it even if it's just some small steps at first.
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Old 17-07-2012, 21:14   #3
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Re: Love, life and family. Does Cruising fit in?

Do. Something. Together. A vacation centered on a chartered cruising sailboat. It's a start. We haven't done it.....wish we had. But we did have a boat for all the years our kids were growing up.....and we did get out locally. Live in So Cal....have been to Ensenada. It's not much, but it's something. Baby steps. They may not take you as far as you think you want to go......but they'll take you somewhere.....and your family is worth it. Don't try to do it all at once - just enough to give your family a taste. Then take it from there. You can't push this, or it won't happen at all.
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Old 17-07-2012, 21:18   #4
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Re: Love, life and family. Does Cruising fit in?

To start off, I can relate as I have had similar experiences. I was lucky enough to spend 10 years or so cruising and boat bumming around the Caribbean, then got married. The wife did spend a few months cruising with me but wanted to settle down, especially after our daughter was born. I was ready to stay on the boat and raise our daughter but it was absolutely no go. We lived on the boat for another 6 months while I worked a "real" job and got the boat ready to sell and then moved full time into a "normal" life.

For me this was a pretty serious change and I was not always happy with it. Before this for almost 20 years I had either lived in a house in the woods or lived on a boat. Now I was working 9-5 and living in the suburbs. Eventually even went back to college and finished the engineering degree I had started years before.

Through all this I never lost the dream to live on a boat and go sailing again. Occasionally it would become a serious bone of contention when I felt like I had given up everything in the lifestyle I loved to live in the world my wife demanded but most of the time because I loved my wife and daughter I accepted what I had and was happy with it.

Now after 30 years on land I have paid off the house, married off the daughter and saved enough to buy another boat. Been working on it evenings and weekends for the last two years and with a little luck will be back in the water in a few months. So now my lost dream is within reach and I'll be back on the ocean again.

BUT in the last few years I have also come to realize that, while cruising again will be fun and a great adventure, it is not the path to true happiness. True happiness does not come from getting what you think you want it comes from within. Wishes, dreams, hopes, desires, by whatever name you call them are all external and can be lost in a moment. The least whim of weather, nature, health, stock market collapse, whatever, and all these material things can come crashing down to nothing. There was a member a few years ago who spent years getting ready to take off for his dream cruise when a family tragedy killed the entire dream and from his comments on the forum made him one of the saddest people I have encountered. In his case the dream ended up making him very unhappy when it didn't work out the way he planned.

So I'm not saying to give up on your dream to go sailing. I certainly haven't. But do realize that no matter where you are or what you are doing you can be happy. If life lets you go cruising then go and be happy there. If life leaves you in the the suburbs for 30 years then enjoy that too.

Sorry to get all philosophical and I feel like I have put the whole thing quite crudely but maybe you can glean a little bit of insight from this.

PS
The wife still doesn't want to go sailing again but if I can deliver the boat to a suitable location she will fly in and stay on the boat for extended vacations.
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Old 17-07-2012, 22:55   #5
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Re: Love, life and family. Does Cruising fit in?

Maybe share with her some cruising family's blogs. How could she resists seeing the kids enjoy the cruising lifestyle and you enjoy that kind of quality time with the kids.




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Old 17-07-2012, 23:57   #6
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Re: Love, life and family. Does Cruising fit in?

Please dont take my comments the wrong way,,(whatever that is) but i went through similar circumstances some years ago.
I woke up and found out that the winds where blowing through my heart strings and beckoning me to cut loose.
The difficulty was that i was very much married and had three kids,,this was my seven year itch i guess, although mine took twelve years to get really itchy.
Anyhow, i started to argue and fight for more freedom and for my wife to follow my dreams,much as you are now doing.
She responded very much as yours has, to cut a long story short, i broke free for what i thought was an innocent fling, but ended up losing everything.
Trust me...you do not want that kind of Hell, to be lost without an identity (its true that after a while we become a pair, seemingly inseparable)

and losing custody of your own kids and having to see them through supervised visitations ....these are the costs of what you may do to gain your dream......If you are lucky like me,,you may get through the oncoming storm after you threw it all away..and then again you may end up on the rocks like a lot of the poor bedraggled lost souls you see on the downtown streets.

You Dont think it can happen to you?????????

Think about it!!! each of us is only one short decision away from being like any of them living on the street,,although their are many who will get cocky whilst reading this and say,,"No Way" not me!!!

The streets tell a different story. your playing with fire of a terrible kind my friend .

The others have offered sage advice,and you should take some of it to heart and know you have it all already....and there will be plenty of dreams to chase later on in life...beware the Zephyr........enjoy the greatest gift you have,,sail on the weekends.
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Old 18-07-2012, 00:19   #7
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Re: Love, life and family. Does Cruising fit in?

You've been given wise words. We are all adventurers on this forum in one way or another, and we understand what is pulling you so strongly. If you allow that pull to blind you to what you have and who you love, it will destroy you and those you love.

You want to have a life of adventure, a different life for you and your family. You talk a lot about your kids and the life that you want them to have, so you obviously don't want to leave them behind. You need to build this life of adventure for their sake

Evenings, weekends, and holidays are your domain now. You may need to go race around the cans on Wednesday nights and climb in the southern alps on the weekends, or whatever you need to do personally to get your hardcore adventure fix. But you also need to slowly bring your family into the fun.

Your wife loves adventure, but she's scared. Make sure that each small adventure that she has stretches her limit just a little bit, but not too far. This is not easy! You can't make her be somebody she isn't, but it sounds like she really likes it once she get over her fear. Go very slow.

Introduce your kids to weekend camping and adventures. Buy a day sailor, then a larger boat. They will love it, it will start to shape them, and she will see their joy and understand that this is a good thing.

When it's time, you may be able to take the whole family for a week long charter. Or perhaps a couple weeks in your own boat. Maybe they'll love it. Or maybe they never will, and instead you'll wait until the kids are old enough to come on sailing trips with you and mom will stay home or visit you when you get there.

The need you feel is very personal and you need to find a way to feed it adequately without ruining your own happiness or your family.
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Old 18-07-2012, 02:36   #8
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Re: Love, life and family. Does Cruising fit in?

You are both right.

Likely best you will be able to manage are extended vacations - even the Missus should be happy with several months on holiday (whether in NZ or further afield). Might need to rethink your (and her) employment - but where there's a will.......

.....and in a few years time? who knows? In the meantime you still have the wife and kids.


Or as a wild and crazy idea - what about simply (lol!) sailing RTW! Could do it in stages over many years (a decade?!). a few months at a time (with the occassional longer stint) - not all of which would have to involve the wife. Apart from not needing to permamently uproot the family, being RTW means it has an end (even if date somewhat fluid!). Would take lots of organisation, especially to be able to keep the boat safely places untended and likely also a decent budget.
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Old 18-07-2012, 15:05   #9
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Re: Love, life and family. Does Cruising fit in?

Firstly, thank you for your replies. Some very salient and thought provoking words have been written.

For me my plan has always been to include the family in everything, and that has been happening to some extent. For me this "dream" of sailing off into the sunrise is NOT an option if the family aren't included. I'd never tear my family apart and leave my kids without a father (as I was) and not be involved in their lives.

This isn't a midlife crisis or 7 year itch, I'd stroll the Whangarei marina as a high school kid and annoy the liveaboards there. This notion has always been with me. Couple that with my philosophy on life - see original post - and I find myself struggling everyday to keep going without some sort of plan to change our lives for the better.

My better half, is very important and I do value her feelings and thoughts. So I feel between a rock and a hard place. There are two very important threads pulling me in seemingly opposite directions. I just need to find away to pull them both in the same direction.

Thanks again, I struggle to find a way to talk about this stuff and your responses are very much taken to heart.

Cheers,

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Old 18-07-2012, 15:21   #10
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Re: Love, life and family. Does Cruising fit in?

Google family sailboat cruising blogs and share with the better half. It is IMHO a better way to raise kids, and after raising them in the worldly arena of cruising, you and the missus can decide if you have the ability to keep cruising, or need to return to work. Every adult that I have met that was a former cruising kid, is well adjusted, open minded, and very accepting of things not familiar to them, no prejudices.

S/V Totem Family: The Crew
s/v Ocelot Cruising the World
Zen is HOME! | Zen - family cruising catamaran
Favorite family sailing blogs | Sailing blog of Yacht Pelican
Roger Family Sailing Adventures
One Family, One Sailboat

Well, you get the idea.
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Old 18-07-2012, 15:35   #11
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Re: Love, life and family. Does Cruising fit in?

Does your wife work? My husband proposed us doing the same things many years ago, but I could not find a way to have income while cruising. I also thought the cost of the boat would be prohibitive. I also loved my work and my life.

Now I am sick of working, have the funds to buy a nice boat, will soon have sufficient retirement income and want to get out of this life just as bad as my husband does. At this point I will have financial security sailing just as much as if I lived on land, but I can have more fun diving, sailing and travelling, when ot working on maintenance of the boat.

Be thankful if you have a wife that likes the water and will take water oriented vacations. She may change her mind if you can show her how you will do it financially(so she isn't scared of losing the security) and she grows to hate it when she has to return home from the water vacations.
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Old 18-07-2012, 16:03   #12
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Re: Love, life and family. Does Cruising fit in?

So many different ways this could lead. I think my initial attraction to cruising was to be rid of a situation I no longer wanted to be in. Or maybe I wanted to escape all along, solo, but motorcycles were the original vehicle. I dunno, and I'm still trying to figure it out, 4 or 5 relationships later. Anyway, I expect that if your wife doesn't go and won't consider going, then it will be a permanent stone in your shoe which can manifest itself in ways you can't yet imagine. It would be nice to think, a la Captain Ron, that if she were exposed to the idea in a not-too-threatening way, over time, she might develop her own attraction to cruising. But if she thought your life-long desire to sail off was somehow going to dissipate in the soup of family and responsibilities, and if you've been honest with her the entire time, then at some point you likely will cast off, and probably should. Resentment over things not done, or not allowed to do, will likely last forever. Can you imagine a time, ever, when you'd say to yourself-"Damn, I'm glad I didn't follow my dream"?
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Old 18-07-2012, 16:13   #13
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Re: Love, life and family. Does Cruising fit in?

Well, you don't throw away a good marriage because she won't live on a boat. A decent partner is very hard to find. I doubt the goal when they got married was to live on a boat, so I presume he has changed his dream since the marriage date or never shared it with her before they were married.

I side with the guy who said show her the videos of people having fun out there and other people with kids, their web sites -- also vacations on boats out there. Of course, she has to be a water person first.

If she is not a water person, it is very hard to change that. My husband and I both grew up on lakes. Very different from the ocean, but we both dive, ski'd, and loved the water. I just couldn't make the leap from employed to unemployed, large nice house to boat with no money when I was younger. Now it is no leap, can be on boat and have money. I totally understand her needing security!

You might work at building the "security" while giving her more experience on boats. Are you sure it is security and more of not wanting to leave family and friends. For some people, their life revolves around other people, especially if they don't work.

Just rambling my thoughts here.
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Old 18-07-2012, 16:18   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbluedreaming

For me my plan has always been to include the family in everything,
You are not the first and definitely won't be the last man to have his wife uninterested in sailing. Can't tell you how many boats in the marina will have a man sitting in the cockpit enjoying the sunset with a sundowner and then he closes the boat and heads home.

If your wife doesn't want to go so be it. Both of you will have to make compromises.

1. Sometimes "family" doesn't include the spouse when one is pursuing hobbies
2. She will have to agree to help lower the families spending habits with you to enable you to take more time off than the four weeks all the other wage slaves do
3. You go on the 4 week holidays as an extended family doing whatever you all agree on, likely not sailing, and then whatever time you have been able to carve for yourself whether weeks or months you can use as you wish. If you are smart you will create this time during holidays so that the children can go with you.
4. If you win the kids you win the spouse. If your kids beg to go cruising either you will go with the spouse or you will find a suitable arrangement.

Just remember if you force her or make her feel that you have leveraged the kids against her to "blackmail" her into cruising it will be a miserable trip. If instead she sees in the kids true joy and growth and feels involved in the story telling etc. that comes after a big trip she may make up her own mind to participate in whatever way she sees fit.

As said many times in many different ways on this forum, cruising is not black and white. If you don't cross oceans but only sail up and down the coast for a month at a time you are still cruising.

I have also met more than one singlehanded in his 60s or so that was married with grown kids and neither the wife nor kids wanted to go sailing but they offered their blessing and these lads went for years at a time with flying visits from their loved ones.

There are so many options, but the options are only open if the people involved love, respect and communicate with each other.
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Old 18-07-2012, 16:33   #15
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Re: Love, life and family. Does Cruising fit in?

Wow, sounds so familar... I really envy those guys (and gals) who have mates that agree on wanting to cruise... sounds like you and I are not in that boat...

I have come to the conclusion she will likely never go along, but have come up with a plan I think will satisfy my needs and perhaps hers. We are land locked today in the states while I wait to get out of Corporate jail, then the plan is to move to Fla, near Miami.. She will teach druing the school year, the kids will attend school on land...while I mess around with the boat all winter... we can go out over the weekends together on short hops... then before each summer vacation I will take a few weeks to position the boat where they would like to spend the summer... maybe Quebec, Denmark, where ever... I get some serious sailing they get to spend time in a new and intersting place each summer...

Anyway, this will be the best I can do and expect unless I am ready to pull the plug on the family which I am not... still they will will have to compromise and move to Fla something she doesn't really want to do either... give and take...

Only other thoughts are to get her to read the book "Changing Course"... it is really a good read and says many of the things you may not be able to say to her...

Best of luck...

Cheers
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