Originally Posted by StuM
Why is it our society (and forums
like this one) are so committed to making sure everyone else lives in fear rather than building them up??
Let's be clear. "for every one of them" is simply not statistically true.
Unless someone can prove otherwise... there has not in fact been one wrecked boat and dreams to correspond to every successful sailor/liveaboard.
I would agree with StuM that you shouldn't assume any "survivorship bias" means you'll be fine, but you also should let those who've failed (or those who clearly succeeded like StuM) talk you out of pursuing your dreams... or sway you in any matter actually. You have some experience and it can be built upon. Not only do you get to choose whether to set sail and become a cruiser, you also get to choose whether you fall asleep at the helm
and set your boat upon the rocks...
I wrote into this tread many months ago after only a few months out into our cruising life (with no boating/sailing experience to speak of) and said all you had to do was find a boat and go.
Now, over a year into this life and having had zero experience before i still stand by those comments (but also a TON of experiences and additional thoughts to add to them).
While all you HAVE TO DO is find a boat and go... I think you'll find the transition far more pleasant if you take some other steps now (in addition to reading surveys and thinking about stress cracks and delamination). Yikes... maybe leave that one in the rear view!!
Not only have we had our own fair share of experiences in the last year (the agony of easting, bottoming out the boat in the bahamas
, dragging anchor
and saving those who are dragging around us, countless squalls and even last week an "unintentional" man overboard
experience... oh, and also dozens if not hundreds of sails
that were lovely, peaceful and uneventful)... but we've now also had the pleasure of living among and having seen/heard/shared with many others who have recently made a similar leap.
It's very easy when sitting back home to feel that you're the only one crazy enough to be contemplating this change... or to be terrified by "the unknown" on the other side but we have in fact have met many many cruisers who are also in their first year. Various backstories, various skillsets and mindsets, but it's somewhat empowering to realize (though sadly, only after taking the leap) that you aren't alone and others are figuring it all out just like you are.
What's disheartening is the number of those cruisers we've seen turn around and go home within the same year, or leave their boat where it sits and return home... Many of them after dreaming of this lifestyle their entire life and after having sold
everything back home in order to make it happen.
What seems to get most people isn't the sailing at all.
For a few it's the hard work
(lets be clear...this IS hard work
, possibly the hardest of any lifestyle we've lived or seen) but also SO worth the rewards that come along with that work.
For most, the things that send them home aren't related to sailing at all, or not things you'd think/expect. It's more about being immediately thrown into a living situation that most haven't been in before:
- Being removed from all friends and family
back home with limited contact
- Living in such a small space with very limited time ashore or off the boat
- Sharing that very tight space with your significant other who (while you may enjoy a great deal) you may not be used to seeing 24/7 and or doing so in only a few hundred square feet.
- Having to figure everything out on your own without simply being able to call the plumber/electrician/mechanic
- Not having constant cell/wifi and being able to connect to the news/social media as often has become habit.
- Not knowing where you'll fall asleep or wake up in the morning and having to make decisions as factors such as weather
, tides and other boats change around you.
If you have more time before purchasing
the boat and moving onboard i would strongly suggest you also start making changes that will prepare you for the non-sailing part of this life change.
- Move into a smaller home that might be close to the size of whatever boats you're considering.
- Downsize and sell everything that doesn't fit into that home or the eventual boat
- Start spending 24/7 with the person you'll be sharing a boat with
- Start fixing household projects and doing your own engine
repair/maintenance rather than hiring it out...
- Start spending less time connected to family/friends or even to the internet
and social media.
These things all seem small on the surface but i've been amazed at how those are the things we hear time and time again that people "didn't account for" or "didn't understand how hard it would be). There are certainly other hardships and struggles...but those are easy ones to replicate and experience back home. For those considering this major lifestyle shift, why not do what you can to ease into at least some portions of it while still having one foot remaining in the old lifestyle?
For us the change/transition was easy, but i think that's mainly because we have intentionally lived in very small spaces for well over a decade, we've lived /travelled nomadically in a van (a space much smaller than a boat) for 7 years and purged all of our belongings, figured out mail and services and are accustomed to being disconnected from friends/family.
We have had the benefit of being able to make the transition to cruising while "ONLY" having to worry/think about learning
how to sail and live on a boat while others are going through so much more that we rarely consider due to our previous lifestyle. Its not to say you cant figure it all out after leaving... but why not spend the tie you have left onshore tackling some of those low hanging fruit and see if you even enjoy those parts
of this new lifestyle?
And then... find a boat and GO!!