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Old 17-09-2012, 07:29   #16
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Re: Swallow the hook or get the dream boat...?

The question you ask is one only you and your spouse can answer. However, may I suggest you ask the child inside you rather than your adult selves. As a kid, which life would you choose? I'll confidently bet that your child-selves will opt for the boat.
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Old 17-09-2012, 10:27   #17
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Re: Swallow the hook or get the dream boat...?

You've had responses from a couple of parents who trod these paths, and then there was this question:

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As a kid, which life would you choose? I'll confidently bet that your child-selves will opt for the boat.
I'll try to answer for him/her, as I am the product of having been brought up as a cruising child. Not quite as young as you, my parents were in their mid-30s when they gave up on the landlife, and my brother and I were 9 and 11. We spent two years building the boat before getting underway. I grew up around kids raised on boats from infants to teenagers.

We were home schooled, very informally, through our junior high and high school years. When we returned I went on to university and received an engineering degree, my brother got advanced degrees in education. We would both warn/advise that the sciences are the hardest to follow through on in home schooling. I don't know if technology today would make that harder or easier. I learned a lot of my math, trig, and geometry from celestial navigation, which is not so common any more. Had an interest in chemistry, but that is harder to fulfill without experimentation. Physics you can see around you every day while sailing, if you look, but in a limited way, and certainly not in a way that will lead you to be a fiber optic engineer (but maybe an aeronautical one).

The cultural, historical, and geographical parts of the education almost take care of themselves, although you as parents have to be careful on the cultural/social side. It is too easy to move from port to port and interact with the other cruisers. Some cruise that way quite happily, and I can't fault them. But for raising children I think it is critical (IMO) that you set the example of immersing yourself in whatever local culture you are visiting. Kids can actually be very helpful in this, as they will find the local kids (they always do), and won't know that there are differences that may divide them later in life. Encourage this, and help, and share these experiences.

My regrets include never actually learning another language enough to be conversant. I can get by in several, but can't discuss politics in any (maybe including English). That's kind of my measure, as political discussions can be very nuanced. If you go the sailing route, please make sure you help them learn the languages of the places you visit in a more structured way (and maybe new technology helps with this one). Even if you don't go the sailing route...

Overall, when we swallowed the anchor (temporarily) when I was 18 I was glad we had gone (certainly when we left I was the cock of the walk, telling all of my friends/neighbors/teachers what I was off to do). I think that the cruising life teaches self-reliance in a way that is rare in current American society. I grew up standing night watches, with the safety of the boat and my family in my eyes and hands. I spent my entire teen years living with what was available, and making do with it, rather than "needing" every new thing on the block. I was also treated as an adult by my peers, as I could sail and manage the boat as well as any, and that was a challenge when re-entering society. I butted a lot of heads with older people who didn't want to accept my confidence and knowledge (some of which, in wiser/older retrospect wasn't what my teen brain thought it was).

The question you have asked is not a simple one, and you will have to decide for yourselves. I think that with the world, in the condition that it is today, could use a number of well-rounded, culturally diverse, environmentally aware people, the kind that may result from being raised on a cruising boat.

It doesn't have to be a one or the other thing, it can be both. For myself and my family, we go back and forth, from land to water to land. As a result of my upbringing I don't buy-in to consumerism in quite the way that some of my peers do (but I still feel the trap from time to time). I have twice told bosses to take their jobs..., and hoisted the anchor again. This kind of freedom is a rare and fleeting thing, and (again IMO) I think it should be encouraged. It doesn't bring the kind of security that 30 years in the same job (with a decent pension plan) brings, but it does provide a different kind of security, in knowing that one can deal with the unknown, and make their own path.

I'm sorry that this post has rambled so long, I hope you or someone else reading this finds some parts of it useful. I would whole-heartedly recommend the raising of children on a cruising boat. Not sure about infants, I have seen that done quite successfully, but not so sure I would want to go through that stage of parenthood on a boat myself. Like child rearing everywhere, it ain't all peaches and cream, some of your travails will be the same as every parent's, others will be unique to the boating world. Regardless, it can be (and has been) done quite successfully, and will likely result in the kind of mal-adjusted, outside-the-box individual that conformity will view askance, but who will be capable of living quite a happy, and possibly useful, life.
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Old 17-09-2012, 13:00   #18
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Re: Swallow the hook or get the dream boat...?

Desanduil, that was a very insightful post.

Although not on the oceans, we traveled extensively through Africa, Central America and elsewhere with our growing sons and exposed them to much of what you described. They are both grown now and fine young men, well rounded, independent and confident. Both have thanked us profusely for the experiences that formed their characters and personalities.

Our youngest (23) now lives on his own boat and divides his time between working as a scuba instructor while finishing university and fulfilling his reserve military commitment. After college he plans on spending a few years cruising before deciding a longer term career path. The older is career military and will retire in nine years. He plans on cruising as well and raising his daughter and son much the same way he was brought up.

Had we discovered sailing when they were young we would have not hesitated to bring those boys up on a boat.
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Old 17-09-2012, 13:40   #19
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Re: Swallow the hook or get the dream boat...?

I wanted to live the liveaboard life in my 20s (and earlier), but my wife wouldn't have any part of it.

We have 2 grown children, and they both wish that we would have lived aboard and traveled the world.

Now, they will just have to come up with their own way to get the experience that I wasn't able to give them growing up.

Regrets and hindsight...both useless in the present.

My advice would be to think of the cultural benefits to the liveaboard life for your kids, as well as any problems with space aboard and finding a source of income while traveling.

Weigh your pros and cons, then just boldly move forward with whatever decision works for your family.

Best wishes!
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Old 17-09-2012, 14:05   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rover88
The question you ask is one only you and your spouse can answer. However, may I suggest you ask the child inside you rather than your adult selves. As a kid, which life would you choose? I'll confidently bet that your child-selves will opt for the boat.
Completely agree, and to clarify my earlier post... Children absolutely would love to live on a boat, but infants, not so much. Infants and toddlers probably prefer comfort and stability over an adventurous lifestyle, and so may you when that first little one comes along. We can't wait for about 2 years from now, when our kids are 3 and 5, to start ramping up our extended cruising, with possible goal of extended sailing sabbatical when they are in the high single digit ages...
These days we are happy to get out for a long weekend with our kids 1 and 2.5 years old, and get enough sleep to laugh about it!
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Old 17-09-2012, 14:16   #21
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Re: Swallow the hook or get the dream boat...?

Forget the kids! Go sailing! In fact do it professionally and enjoy a boat you could never hope to afford. Great way to save money and see the world. 38 years experience, still having a great time!!
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Old 17-09-2012, 14:36   #22
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Re: Swallow the hook or get the dream boat...?

Lots of great advice, and you will see many post much like yours. I have found that "YOU" (and wife...of course) have to follow YOUR passion. I moved to Japan when I was 4 yo, lived in 3 other countries after that...then moved back to the US when I was 16. This was because my father was living HIS passion. It was a life that I always knew....I have very few memories of life younger than 4. If anything, I find it hard to be in one place, now as an adult, and have travel in my blood. I have also found that people that don't share my worldly experiences are also much more narrow minded than myself.....so I have to give the thumbs up for living aboard and cruising regularly while raising children......but I agree with D Rock....it is easier when they start as kids than to have them start as a teenager.....the 'digital harness' is harder to remove the longer it is on.
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Old 17-09-2012, 14:40   #23
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Re: Swallow the hook or get the dream boat...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Topsail View Post
We are torn. One day we lean one way; another day the other. I would love to hear some words of wisdom and experience.
No wisdom but from experience flip a coin. Or listen to your heart and don't let logic get too involved. You have little, if any, control over the longer term future. If you love the lifestyle then it will sort itself out. If not then at least you tried and won't spend decades wondering what if. Most people on the west seem to spend their lives planning to be happy at some point in the distant future.

Above all , don't listen to anyone on the internet
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Old 17-09-2012, 14:56   #24
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Re: Swallow the hook or get the dream boat...?

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Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post


I'll try to answer for him/her, as I am the product of having been brought up as a cruising child......
An excellent post indeed! This echoes what Ann and I have observed over the years when encountering cruising families: wonderful, mature, communicative responsible children who go on to become equally good adults. Some choose to follow the sea as adults, some do not, but so far, all the adult ex-cruising kids we've met were very glad of their youthful experiences.

Well done, mate, and thanks for that post.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 17-09-2012, 16:09   #25
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Re: Swallow the hook or get the dream boat...?

We're in our 20's and refitting the boat right now hoping for a fall '13 departure. Lived on the boat for 2 years in Squamish, BC and got addicted. I realized the boat wasn't up to par for crossing an ocean and decided to move back onto land for a refit and save the $$$.

So far the land life is boring (except for beer league hockey) and I can't wait to get going. We're not doing the marriage kid thing, I can't think of a bigger anchor right now than a kid.

I vote for 'go cruise the world young and free', then figure the rest out later.
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Old 17-09-2012, 16:32   #26
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Re: Swallow the hook or get the dream boat...?

Dsanduril, A little thread drift here, but were you cruising Mexico and the Societies in the late 70s? The name sounds familiar to my slightly foggy memory.____Grant.
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Old 18-09-2012, 20:34   #27
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Re: Swallow the hook or get the dream boat...?

Thank you all for your thoughts and experiences. Having a family is a priority for us, but thanks anyway to those of you who see children as a reason to not go, we see them as one of our main reasons to do it. We all cruise because we love the life and what it does for us; most of all we want to share it with our kids. Either their whole lives or just for a few key years later.

Dsanduril:

Thank you very much for the post. Everything has its upsides and downsides. I appreciate your honesty about it.

Rover88:

Thank you as well. The qualities you describe in your children are the same I would like to instill in these theoretical children as well.

Conchair:

I heartily agree with everything you said, especially that last bit.

Hearing so many points of view helps us sort out the different ideas and feelings my wife and I have discussed many times. Compromise and balance seem key to me in life. I think we are beginning to come up with a plan less grandiose than sailing off into the sunset, but certainly with a measure of it. A balance of practicality and the dreams that keep us going.

I suppose we are leaning in a direction that brings up another question....

....anyone know a good book on aluminum boats?
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