Hello!

Welcome to our mid-life crisis! These are the chronicles of Laura and Patrick, their young son Jack, and their goofball Labrador Retriever named Evinrude (Rudy), as they travelled the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific coast of mainland Mexico in their catamaran. We went cruising in search of a change of pace, a closer knit family, and peace of mind. We found all three and more. The fun all started in October, 2008 and nearly four years later the Mexican adventure came to an end August 3rd, 2012. With our mid-life crisis cured in Mexico, we are excited to start a new adventure - life back in America.

Patrick has since joined the Sales Team of Marine Servicenter as a boat broker. Whether you are looking to make your dream of sailing away come true, or ready to sell your boat he can help. He can be reached at http://marinesc.com/about/crew/patrick-harrigan

Candeleros Chico

Candeleros Chico
Just another beautiful day at anchor on the Baja. 2010

Dolphins at play in the bow wake 2011

Dolphins at play in the bow wake  2011

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Things You Give Up

We've been getting a lot of sympathy for the end of our cruise - like it's some sort of death in the family.  It's almost like we have cancer.  To our peers, the unspeakable has happened - we are ending our cruise. Like it's a failure, or a tragedy, or an unimagineable hardship.  

Well, I have news for those people feeling sad for us.  It's not what you think. We aren't going back simply because we ran out of money.  It's mostly because of the things you give up to go cruising.

Every single cruiser out here has given up some pretty important things to be cruising.  The list is long and different for each one.  For us, the main thing we've given up is being with family.  I miss spending time with my parents.  More importantlly, I want my child to spend as much time with his Grammy, Grandpa, Poppa, Aunt Pat  and his aunties, uncles and cousins as possible.  There are no guarantees in life, and time is limited.  I want them to know him as the fine young man he is becoming.  Family is a gift that we have been ignoring for too long.  So many of our friends down here are grandparents who are giving up time with their grandkids and I see the pain it causes.  It's sad in either direction.

We have given up being part of a steadfast community.  Yes, I know that cruiser's have their own community, and I love participating in it.  But let's face it.  We are all water gypsies.  We come and go, move here and there.  You often don't even know when the last time you will see someone is.  One minute they're in the next anchorage over, and the next minute they're off to Timbuktu.  Or vice versa.  It's a very transient life and if you are truly cruising around yourself, you never have coffee with the same friend two weeks in a row.  That's cruising.  I miss having friends that you see every week and know what's going on, and have over for dinner every Thursday, month after month.

Jack has given up puttering in a garage, having friends who are available for a bike ride or a face to face chat.  He's given up mountain biking, and spending time with his grandparents.  For the most part, Jack has given up time away from his parents.  That's pretty important for a teen searching for independence.  There's not a lot of places to go to be truly away from your parents in a boat.  Sure, you can take the dinghy to the beach, or go for a hike alone, but there's not a lot to do.  We have gone months without even seeing another teenager.  It can be a pretty lonely existence for a young teen.

Patrick and I miss donating time to charities that are important to us.  Yes, you can give money to thousands of good causes down here.  However, as a cruiser you never get a chance to teach English at the orphanage every week and build up a relationship with the kids, or spend months helping to build houses, or even muck out the cages at the local dog pound once a week.   If you are truly cruising, you are moving every few weeks.  People who are living on a boat, staying in one place can do those things, but they aren't cruising.  We miss making a meaningful committment to a good cause.

I miss having a home with a garden.  I miss working in the Earth and seeing the beautiful flowers after months of work starting them from seed.  I miss picking the apples from the tree I planted, the blueberries from my bushes, the strawberries from my plants.  I miss pouring over seed catalogues planning next year's plantings.  I miss making a mess in the garage knocking together a birdhouse from broken bits of old things.  I miss painting new colors on my walls every couple years.  I miss creating art.  There just isn't enough room on a boat to have a place to store all the things you need to be creative.  I never could get excited about beading (a very popular art form for lots of cruiser ladies since it doesn't take much room.)  I wanted my 4'x6' canvases, my oil paints, gold leaf, gesso, my stash of brushes and the mess of creation.  There just wasn't room, or time on a boat while cruising.

The funny thing is, I totally understand why people are feeling sorry for us. Over the last few years, when I heard that some family was going to quit cruising, I felt deep sadness for them. Even if I knew nothing about their circumstances or their plans.   I just felt sad for them.   I must have annoyed at least a few of them with misplaced sympathy. I'm sorry. Now I get it. When it's time to go home, it's not a sad thing. Sure, it's a challenge, it can be hard. But it is not a death or a failure. It's a rebirth. A new beginning. I love those.  That's why I love spring, and the new flowers just coming up.  The sky is the limit.

14 comments:

  1. One of the cool things I can see about going back is being able to pick where you're going to live.You can start over anywhere. Cool. The Great Northwest is just that Great.That's where I would go.Have fun.

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  2. Wonderful post, Laura. I hope you keep blogging during your transition. I really felt we gained so many things when we stopped cruising last time to return to Vancouver and our families with a baby Maia. There was a nostalgia for what we gave up, but it was partnered with this incredible awareness and gratitude for what we were getting back.

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    1. Thanks Diane,
      We are sad to leave this, but we know it's time to go for us.
      Laura

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  3. Yes, it is fun to think about where to settle down. There are a lot of choices. But no matter what city, it's the NW for us for sure. Not just because of family here, but the weather (rain!), the greenness, Puget Sound and all the yummy things in it.
    Thanks Jesse.
    Laura

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  4. And as you reacquaint with the life you left to go cruising, I imagine you will bring ashore the good you absorbed from the cruising culture and the Mexican culture. I'm sorry we didn't have a chance to meet. Best wishes. Michael

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    1. Thank you Michael,
      I was sad to read on your blog that you left La Paz just days before we got there. We were truly never destined to meet.
      Best wishes to you too. And it seems we are headed in the same direction, just different modes of travel, so who knows?
      Laura

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  5. I believe the sadness we feel for others, is the loss of the chance encounter of interacting and enjoying many of the transient friends we've made while cruising. Missing the opportunity of running into you, Patrick, Jack and Rudy at some quiet anchorage or marina is more reflective of the sadness we feel.

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    1. Pete,
      You are just such a sweet guy. Thank you for those kind words. We will miss running into you, too. But no, when I felt sorry for families in the past it was because I couldn't imagine going home at that time in my own cruise! Now I'm ready.
      Laura

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  6. My oh my, I am touched. I am glad you are ready for your new transition, and hoping we can make the transition home even easier for you guys. We miss you much!

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  7. HHMMM....sounds like anonymous family! Thanks! See you soon.
    Laura

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  8. HI Laura Patrick, Jack and Rudy!! Sorry we wont get to see you again in the Sea of Cortez. We are excited to use the dive planer you all gave us. Travel safe and maybe someday we will hook up again!!
    Sean, Kate, Grant and Drew
    DEAL MAKER

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    1. Well hello DealMaker! We are sorry we won't be running into you at Ramada again. That was a lot of fun. Eyoni is still planning on being in the Sea this summer, so you may still see them.
      We would love to keep in touch,
      Laura

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  9. What a touching post. I think it's beautiful that your family has come full circle - enjoyed and appreciated your water time and yet yearning to get back to the land. As fellow gardeners and wanna-be homesteaders, we totally understand the draw back to the earth. As we cut ties this last month to our home in Montana, and yearn for the ocean, this is wonderful reassurance that someday we will again yearn for the feel of the dirt between our fingers and that ripe homegrown sungold tomato popped in the mouth. We're excited to someday be exactly where you guys are right now - appreciative of your water time and ready to head back to the land.

    Katie and Mark

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    1. Thank you Katie for your kind words. You have so much fun in front of you. Enjoy!
      Laura

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