A long time ago, an old salt friend of mine told me “The hardest thing to do when you are cruising is to leave”.
Often when we stop at different ports, we meet some of the nicest people and you get to hear some of their stories which can sometimes feel quite familiar. A common one that keeps popping up and for us has been a wakeup call is of a couple who planned to cruise to many different places, sometimes they even had visions of going around the world but somewhere in the middle, made friends at a certain port, got stuck doing boat projects and decided to stay a while. Then they decided to stay a month then a year then who knows, their original dream of traveling suddenly became not so clear. It almost feels like we get bogged down by our own excuses. We all seem to be guilty of doing this at some point.
We seem to have an endless list of projects on the boat which “have” to be finished prior to any future travels. When we get those projects finished there is almost always a brand-new list waiting for us. Granted, sometimes we have real projects on the boat that are essential for a safe and comfortable journey. I’ll be the first to recognize that preparation is the key to success while cruising. Especially when it comes to those projects that have to do with safety at sea. Those projects aside, eventually there comes a time when we must look inside and ask these 4 basic questions, Do we really “have” to finish that project before leaving? Is it a necessity? Does it have to be done at the current location? Does it have to be done now?
If the answer is no to all 4 questions, then it’s probably time to leave for our next adventure. It’s important to keep in mind that as boat owners, we will always be improving our vessel or doing the necessary maintenance no matter where we are in the world. Make sure you test all your equipment, get the necessary spare parts and provisions, and put many miles under the keel once again!
When we were dreaming of living the cruising lifestyle, back when we, maybe, didn’t even have a boat yet; we were not dreaming of living in one place in a floating condominium on the water. We wanted the experience of traveling and meeting many different people along the way, making new friends in every port. As hard as it may be to say good bye to our new-found friends and leave, it must be done. It is our own attachment to the present circumstances which can prevent us from finishing our dreams and venture into the unknown. It probably took a lot of courage and perseverance to even get to this point so why get distracted from your original vision? Go back to your original dream. If you feel you must finish certain projects before leaving, then set specific dates for their completion and get to work. After all, a ship was meant to sail. Fair winds!