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Old 03-03-2012, 07:36   #46
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Re: The Hidden Dangers of Cruising

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Interesting as it was. I think the sailing/cruising experience is different for each person. Some embrace it others find that they hate it. Personally, I have more "wow" and "pinch me" moments on board than depressed backward looking feelings like Pirsig describes. Then again I was voted happiest in High School so others might have sensed my contentment with life early on too. I embrace the solitude and don't feel I need others around to make me feel alive. For me being on the boat is about constant change and noticing how the world is constantly changing around you. The shift of the tide or the shadows on the shoreline etc... Nothing ever routine about it for me. If anything my curosity is elevated not about the past but, what I am experincing or seeing from the cockpit at the moment. For me the here and now is the primary experience.
Thank you Capt. Mike. Couldn't agree more. Pirsig is a bore--picked Zen up a few times and dropped it after a few pages because there are better things to do in this world than read about somebody else's problems. Just hop on the motorcycle and ride the snot out of it down some back roads and get on with it! Same with cruising--if you don't like it, stop and do something else you want to do. There is no need to knock your head against the wall just to prove something like you made the "right" decision, whatever that is. We all make wrong decisions all the time. Maybe they'd both be able to get pleasure RVing--I know that has worked with a lot of cruising couples that found the water lifestyle was not for them.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:04   #47
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Re: The Hidden Dangers of Cruising

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
I find this thread interesting, considering some of the other threads we've had here recently. Basically, in THIS thread everyone is pointing out that cruising isn't all peaches and cream, and that you have to be prepared for the tough work and lifestyle changes. Yet in OTHER threads people have complained about all of the "negativity" and insisted that we should not say anything to discourage people who have decided that cruising is their dream.

Well, it's one or the other. You can't have both. Either we tell the newbies the truth about cruising and risk being accused of "negativity," or we blithely encourage them to "follow their dreams" and just let them find out about the difficult stuff on their own. Personally, I think it is best to be honest.

Mostly, though, I find it amusing that we have had these different threads with dramatically different perspectives. (And I'm not going to name any names, but I see some posters who seem to have switched their perspective from those other threads.)
I dunno, why must it be one or the other? I think you can have both because it is both, up and down, good and bad. It's all of it. You should follow your dreams I think, even if it means pushing through a few nightmares. Nothing is everything, or as Steven Wright says, "You can't have it all. Where would you put it?"
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:11   #48
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Re: The Hidden Dangers of Cruising

You are right Kettlewell. Many people are not reflective, deep thought is not for everybody. Most people who maintain motorcycles don't have the slightest interest in Zen and if we can glide through life in an untroubled fashion then we might be the lucky ones :-)

However Pirsig nails an issue that I have seen everywhere and that must be much worse now than ever back then (1977).

I found this piece helpful in assisting other cruisers who are depressed or frightened to understand this is perfectly normal and why it's normal.

I believe that the Boating community does itself no favours by dishonestly mismanaging expectations of cruising neophytes.

David and Jaja Martin (Ice Blink by Martin, David & Jaja Martin )make the point in another way in their video Ice Blink by highlighting that the 10's don't come without the 0's. If you want to live in a world of blissful oblivion of 4, 5 and 6 that's your choice.

I haven't read other Pirsig works and far from finding this a bore felt that he accurately reflected the journey of a long distance cruiser.

I certainly didn't feel that there was any sense of judgment in this piece, rather an affirmation that many of these emotions are completely understandable and that knowledge, once assimilated, can go a long way towards an understanding of one's own sense of reality and self!

What I found interesting is that when he wrote this in 1977 he talks about cruising being more basic than life on land!

For centuries, man suffered from the reality of an earth that was too dark or too hot or too cold for his comfort, and to escape this he invented complex systems of lighting, heating and air conditioning. Sailing rejects these and returns to the old realities of dark and heat and cold. Modern civilization has found radio, TV, movies, nightclubs and a huge variety of mechanized entertainment to titillate our senses and help us escape from the apparent boredom of the earth and the sun and wind and stars. Sailing returns to these ancient realities.[/I]

I wonder how the 'luxuries' of modern boats have changed a cruisers ability to connect with those realities( the sun, the moon, the sea and the stars),and how they have altered current levels of satisfaction and self knowledge?

When I see the proliferation of 'in denial' cockpit enclosures, electronic gizmo's, et al I am curious as to how the sailors on these boats connect with the elements around them? Does it make the experience feel 'safer' in some way or does it add to feelings of fear and trepidation?

The glory of sailing is also it's downside in that it forces us to confront things about ourselves. So I'm with Pirsig all the way! :-)
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:29   #49
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Re: The Hidden Dangers of Cruising

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Interesting as it was. I think the sailing/cruising experience is different for each person. Some embrace it others find that they hate it. Personally, I have more "wow" and "pinch me" moments on board than depressed backward looking feelings like Pirsig describes. Then again I was voted happiest in High School so others might have sensed my contentment with life early on too. I embrace the solitude and don't feel I need others around to make me feel alive. For me being on the boat is about constant change and noticing how the world is constantly changing around you. The shift of the tide or the shadows on the shoreline etc... Nothing ever routine about it for me. If anything my curosity is elevated not about the past but, what I am experincing or seeing from the cockpit at the moment. For me the here and now is the primary experience.
Yeah, but you don't have that always depressing propulsion diesel. Wind and electrons propel you, not dead dinosaur juice. Because of that, your bound to be a "glass 1/2 full" kinda guy.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:53   #50
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Re: The Hidden Dangers of Cruising

who is the bigger fool;
1 - the cruiser who believes everything is always good
2 - the cruiser wo believes eveything is always doom, gloom, and danger?
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:01   #51
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Re: The Hidden Dangers of Cruising

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Yeah, but you don't have that always depressing propulsion diesel. Wind and electrons propel you, not dead dinosaur juice. Because of that, your bound to be a "glass 1/2 full" kinda guy.
Well, yeah the season my boat spent on the mooring without the mast while I tried to get my diesel engine working was not the a high point in my sailing experience as I recall. But, still I looked at my boat during that time as my own private island in the harbor so it was not all bad. I still swam, BBQ'd, enjoyed boat drinks, sunrise and sunsets just not in different locations that year. So yeah you are right I am a glass half full kind of guy. Ironically, the reason I was spending so much time working on the engine was because I had read Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance years ago. The message I got from reading it was: Gee, I should be able to fix this engine myself and not have to rely on a diesel mechanic. It was working fine until recently so how hard could it be to fix? I got up to the point where I was about to remove the head block off and was looking at the black oily rocker arm assembly and thinking this is gonna make a mess. I decided that there might be an alternative to this situation and happily I found out there was.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:03   #52
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Re: The Hidden Dangers of Cruising

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Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
who is the bigger fool;
1 - the cruiser who believes everything is always good
2 - the cruiser wo believes eveything is always doom, gloom, and danger?
How about the cruiser who knows better and does it anyway?
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:23   #53
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Re: The Hidden Dangers of Cruising

I hate to say this but...

These are not the hidden dangers of cruising we're all discussing. These are the hidden dangers of life.

Life is inherently filled with expectations, patterns, and novelties. They come in different waves and flows depending on what we do, how we do it, and how we interpret it. A lot also has to do with your personal locus of control. How "in charge" of the events taking place do feel you are? And what if this locus is radically shifted? How well can we deal with change?

The situation of any one person is very complex. So much so that two people may require two totally different remedies from the same emotional or spiritual malady. It is also true that two people may go through the same thing and one may experience growth from it while another may be hurt by it.

SUCH IS LIFE.

These "hidden dangers" aren't really all that well hidden if you think about it. They happen time and time again in different forms in different ways. Getting your expectations built up over going on vacation/marriage/new job/kids/career change/RVing/retiring/world traveling/gardening/ <insert subculture here> can all lead to this sort of "hidden danger".

If someone blindly believes in all the good of something and not all the bad, or vice-verse, they've lied to themselves. "If its too good to be true..." Almost everything in my life that I've found people to be passionate about has proponents and opponents and I almost invariably find that the truth is between the two of them. Its never as good as they say and never as bad as they say. This isn't some distilled droplet of cruiser knowledge, this is a life lesson we should all be equipped with from a young age. The rational and powerful thinker knows that people have opinions and they will balance opinions from both sides along with the facts and their own personal bias to construct what they hope to be an accurate basis of expectation. Then they refine it as the experience sets in. When you mess up the expectations OR when you refuse to let the experience temper the expectation you're going to delve into cognitive dissonance. That will lead to some form of turmoil or unhappiness of the mind/spirit. Either that or they put all their eggs in one expectation basket and the loss of it is so hurtful that depression strikes.

How many times have we seen this? Its the attitude of children when you take away a toy. The world has ended for them because they don't have the mental capacity to see that another toy will come along. It is the grief of a great personal loss. It is the man who lost his job or the passing of a loved one. But life goes on.

Balance is dealing with all of these variables. The danger is in losing the balance. The danger is not in cruising. My best advice to anyone that is experiencing these sorts of problems is to surround yourself with kind hearted but truthful people and perhaps a therapist. And the same if you know someone like this. Be there. Be kind. But do not be weak.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:35   #54
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Re: The Hidden Dangers of Cruising

+1. Great post Target9000!
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:41   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Target9000
I hate to say this but...

These are not the hidden dangers of cruising we're all discussing. These are the hidden dangers of life.

Life is inherently filled with expectations, patterns, and novelties. They come in different waves and flows depending on what we do, how we do it, and how we interpret it. A lot also has to do with your personal locus of control. How "in charge" of the events taking place do feel you are? And what if this locus is radically shifted? How well can we deal with change?

The situation of any one person is very complex. So much so that two people may require two totally different remedies from the same emotional or spiritual malady. It is also true that two people may go through the same thing and one may experience growth from it while another may be hurt by it.

SUCH IS LIFE.

These "hidden dangers" aren't really all that well hidden if you think about it. They happen time and time again in different forms in different ways. Getting your expectations built up over going on vacation/marriage/new job/kids/career change/RVing/retiring/world traveling/gardening/ <insert subculture here> can all lead to this sort of "hidden danger".

If someone blindly believes in all the good of something and not all the bad, or vice-verse, they've lied to themselves. "If its too good to be true..." Almost everything in my life that I've found people to be passionate about has proponents and opponents and I almost invariably find that the truth is between the two of them. Its never as good as they say and never as bad as they say. This isn't some distilled droplet of cruiser knowledge, this is a life lesson we should all be equipped with from a young age. The rational and powerful thinker knows that people have opinions and they will balance opinions from both sides along with the facts and their own personal bias to construct what they hope to be an accurate basis of expectation. Then they refine it as the experience sets in. When you mess up the expectations OR when you refuse to let the experience temper the expectation you're going to delve into cognitive dissonance. That will lead to some form of turmoil or unhappiness of the mind/spirit. Either that or they put all their eggs in one expectation basket and the loss of it is so hurtful that depression strikes.

How many times have we seen this? Its the attitude of children when you take away a toy. The world has ended for them because they don't have the mental capacity to see that another toy will come along. It is the grief of a great personal loss. It is the man who lost his job or the passing of a loved one. But life goes on.

Balance is dealing with all of these variables. The danger is in losing the balance. The danger is not in cruising. My best advice to anyone that is experiencing these sorts of problems is to surround yourself with kind hearted but truthful people and perhaps a therapist. And the same if you know someone like this. Be there. Be kind. But do not be weak.
EXCELLENT POST! Should be required reading.
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Old 03-03-2012, 13:11   #56
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Re: The hidden dangers of cruising

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This is what we are doing as well.
Frankly, it's not because we love the house too much to part with it so much as we love the trickle of cash into our cruising kitty. Bird in the hand logic, really.

We will hire a sort of "minder" to handle tenant issues and maintenance. If there's a leaky tap, I don't want to get a phone call in Fiji.
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Old 03-03-2012, 16:16   #57
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Seeing everyone here take a stab at the "hidden dangers" of cruising I would like to offer the following essay by my favorite author on the planet, Robert Pirsig; the author of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". In his essay Cruising Blues and Their Cure, he nails it right on the head about why the "dream" of cruising is so often lived out in failure. It has to do with the confusion on what our modern day perception of "reality" is and why the awakening to the "real" reality of sailboat cruising brings on depression and causes so many to flee back to their comfort zones of the "fake" reality they (we all) have been brainwashed to accept.

This is only a small six page essay, but I hope everyone here gives this a read because it is uncomfortable, and in it's discomfort we can all learn something about ourselves. Pirsig shows that not only is "reality confusion" at the very root of why we go cruising in the first place, but "reality confusion" is also why so many of us fail to learn (and grow) from the depression cruising causes without understanding the reasons why. >> Cruising Blues and Their Cure by Robert M Pirsig

Additionally, for those "creative" minds out there that go through mood swings and wonder why, or have trouble coping with them, there is an incredible book that can really help one get a grip on handling depression, (which more than likely is followed by an emotional high, and then another cyclic low), and it's entitled "The Van Gogh Blues" by Eric Maisel. I promise a good read for all.

I hope this helps someone...
Quoted from Mr. Pirsig's essay. -

The days you put in depressed are like money in the bank. They make the elated days possible by their contrast. You cannot have mountains without valleys and you cannot have elation without depression. Without their combined upswings and downswings, existence would be just one long tedious plateau.

I'm not sure I nor several of my professional counselor/psychologist friends would agree with this statement. What he describes sounds a lot like bipolar manifestations. "One long... plateau" (not tedious) should be the goal of normal people,and one I wish I could achieve more often than just occasionally. The biggest defense I've found against depression is the principle of acceptance; whereby one learns not to live with anticipation of unrealistic expectations, and practices acceptance of those things in life over which he has no control.

It helps immensely to also have spiritual beliefs that take outcomes ultimately out of your control. That way one is free to put all his effort into those things over which he does have control.
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Old 03-03-2012, 17:31   #58
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Re: The Hidden Dangers of Cruising

Scott Peck in his book "The Road Less Traveled" spends the first two chapters making the case that life is difficult and once you accept that, it is no longer difficult. Personally I've adopted the philosophy that life has no problems, only challanges and learning opportunities. From that perspective I look forward to each day no matter what it brings. I am currently in the final stages of recovering from a 4 month healing process from a bout of necrotizing pancreatitis. Death was a very real possiblity. Thankfully I've recovered with only a bad case of diabetes that may resolve in time. All of that too has imbeded lessions and challanges. Life truely is GOOD!!
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Old 03-03-2012, 20:09   #59
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Re: The Hidden Dangers of Cruising

Great thread. And great article by Robert Pirsig.

Thanks for that.

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Old 04-03-2012, 03:35   #60
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Re: The Hidden Dangers of Cruising

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Thank you Capt. Mike. Couldn't agree more. Pirsig is a bore--picked Zen up a few times and dropped it after a few pages because there are better things to do in this world than read about somebody else's problems. Just hop on the motorcycle and ride the snot out of it down some back roads and get on with it! Same with cruising--if you don't like it, stop and do something else you want to do. There is no need to knock your head against the wall just to prove something like you made the "right" decision, whatever that is. We all make wrong decisions all the time. Maybe they'd both be able to get pleasure RVing--I know that has worked with a lot of cruising couples that found the water lifestyle was not for them.
I was gonna write something similar - but thought I would catch bad Karma, or summit . (no idea how that works - maybe a Woo Peddler could enlighten me? ).
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