“I’m really happy for you. But I’d never do it in a thousand years.”
As we tell family and friends we’re planning to set sail with Honey next year, that’s the typical response.
No one has asked us to explain ourselves. Not until Jan of The Poodle and Dog Blog commented: “As someone whose idea of a water adventure is to wade in the ocean at low tide, I’d like to read about why you are launching on [this] life plan.”
Until Jan asked that, I didn’t think too much about how I’d explain to people why we’re setting sail. But it’s probably time for me to work through why we’re making this major life change.
At least so I can answer people who ask, “You’re going to do WHAT with your dog?”
Living The Good Life
We all want to live a good life.
For me, a good life is one stripped to the essentials. I feel over burdened by stuff, by too many things to do, too many noises and distractions.
One reason I love camping is because on a campsite I spend so much time caring for necessities, leaving little time for superfluous extras. Everything from making a meal to basic hygiene takes longer.
I also love being outdoors and feeling connected to what is going on around me.
Just a few seconds ago I became annoyed by the noise of my neighbor’s air conditioning compressor across the street. It’s 55 degrees Fahrenheit (about 12 Celsius)! Open a window, people!
But when you pull up to your house in a car and immediately go inside, you lose touch with what’s going on around you.
Although a few people try, it’s hard to disconnect from nature on a boat. The wind is in your face and it’s always forcing you to make decisions. Should we take down some sail? Will the winds shift again? How long will it take us to hit our destination?
Even close to shore, everything on a boat is a little bit harder than it is on land. And I like that.
Now, living without a car, it takes me longer to do basic errands than it does my neighbors who drive. I think I’ll find it comforting to live a lifestyle in which everyone around me is in the same, inconvenient boat (pardon the pun).
Spending Time With Family
I get up early to write while Mike sleeps in a little longer. Some days, he goes into work before 7 a.m. himself. Last night he got home for dinner around 7:30 p.m.
On nights that I teach, I don’t get home until 9 p.m.
We try to spend as many weekends as possible sailing so we can build our skills. But Honey is not allowed on the boats at our community sailing club. So I try to include her in every other thing we do on the weekends.
You wouldn’t think I’d miss my own husband and my dog. But I do.
When we’re home, we three spend as much time as possible in the same room. Heck, even on the same little love seat if we’re watching a movie or reading.
I love the idea of spending every day together on a boat.
Of course, I’m the extrovert. We’ll know soon enough how Mike feels about being unable to escape from his wife and his dog.
I love seeing new places. Before I was 21 years old I had already visited 10 countries.
But I hate engines. The noise. The smell. Ugh.
I would love to see more of North America. And I enjoy looking at pictures from my friends who live and travel by RV. But the thought of driving for hours on an interstate makes me a little ill.
Harnessing the wind? Now that’s amazing.
Did you know that you can sail around the world in about 18 months? And you’ll see places only reachable by boat.
We’re not planning a circumnavigation. But isn’t it fun to think it’s possible?
Having A Thrill
I’m scared about leaving my job and making our small cruising kitty stretch. I’m scared about Honey being scared. I’m scared about Mike hating cruising and starting to hate me. I’m scared about hitting rocks with the boat. I’m scared of storms. I’m scared about things I haven’t even thought to be scared about.
But sometimes it’s good to do something you find risky.
Some people think I’m incredibly brave for dreaming of doing something full-time I only learned four years ago.
I think other people are brave for writing professionally, raising happy children, moving on from bad relationships, working with stressed-out and needy dogs.
We all have opportunities in life to do things that frighten us at the start. I think it’s good to take a few of them.
And reinventing my home and sailing from shore touches my heart more than jumping out of airplanes or borrowing money to start a new business or any number of other scary things other people do each day.
Learning From Others
I follow a number of cruising blogs. And I’ve talked extensively with people who have already made the leap to life aboard a boat. Even a couple who have done it with dogs.
Everyone admits to being scared.
And everyone says it’s the best thing they’ve ever done. Let’s hope Honey agrees.
If you’re worried I forgot this is a dog blog, I’ll post a little treat for you. This is one of Honey’s favorite videos. She barked a greeting to the dog in the cockpit. He, unfortunately, ignored her.
Your Turn: What does the good life mean to you? And what are you willing to do to get it? And after my explanation, do you get it? Or do you think I’m crazy?