a year of cruising: what I’ve learned

1 yr anniversary -1

It may not be too much different from the 2 months of cruising post, but I’ve squared away some new habbits that have worked well for me and I thought I’d share. And I have learned A LOT! First off, HOLY CRAP I’VE BEEN A CRUISER FOR A YEAR!!!! I am still pinching myself I somehow pulled this off!

1. Probably the most important to my sanity: I no longer talk to people about boat problems / what I am working on / future plans. Unless I know the person well, it’s iffy knowing if they will be reasonable and supportive. For every person who only wants to interrogate me about my sailing experience and the contents of my boat, there are many more who know, understand, and appreciate what I’m doing and quickly tell me so. It feels so nice to be heard, seen, and understood. Thank you, to everyone who supports me and has checked in on me the past year!

2. How do I solve mechanical issues then? I email the manufacturer whenever something doesn’t seem right or breaks. All of the companies I’ve contacted have been super helpful and have responded in a timely manner. I have also stocked up on lots of great essential books for when I don’t have access to the interwebs. ProTip: exchanging books, movies, and music is the cruisers currency! My first exchange resulted in 1,200 ebooks!!!

3. Things that are only a year old can and will break. Why? No clue. This happened to my propane regulator. Unbenownst to me, all of the propane leaked out of my tank while I was cooking one day and thoroughly freaked out the marina I was in. I had another full tank, but it’s useless without a working regulator! Spares, spares, spares. Get spares of anything you need to survive. I have two spare regulators now, amongst doubles of many other critical items.

4. Saying “I have a boyfriend” only means I don’t want to marry the guy, which means they’d like to see if maybe I want to marry them instead. So I’m married now, y’all. He works, I perfect my sailing skills on this solo trip, and “in the next couple of months” we will meet up and sail together. So far it works.

5. Most people don’t get it, and that’s ok. I hear a lot of comments along the lines of “You don’t want to stay? Don’t you like it here?” and “Well, when you come back this way…” Uh….

6. I’ve lived out of a backpack before, moving every few days and whatnot while traveling overseas. As exciting as that is, I have to say it is also pretty nice having a place to call home. As a cruiser, my surroundings change often and won’t see a familiar face for months. My boat is there for the comfort and familiarity I think a lot of us humans crave. That is pretty remarkable, and I hadn’t considered it until the last year!

7. Not a whole lot changed in my daily life. I can still walk to get groceries like I have for a couple of years now, I still procrastinate working out as much as I did before, search for Wi-Fi spots, have a vet nearby for the dogs, and so on. I was in several different marinas my last three years in the Bay so I am glad I got accustomed to having to get to know a new neighborhood every few months. Even abroad, I have been able to maintain the same kind of life I had in San Francisco. At a much slower and peaceful pace, of course.

8. This isn’t really sailing related but certainly has helped me in social situations with other cruisers and locals alike. Everyone gets really excited to hear about my journey, and it turn I get excited too! I really do want to show others if they work hard enough they can achieve whatever dreams they have for themselves. I soon find myself being overwhelmed with literally everyone I come into contact with wanting to always know how I was doing and when they are going to see me next. Although incredibly flattering, after a few months it was too overwhelming. I went on a “yes fast” where I didn’t say “yes” to anything for a month. My productivity skyrocketed!! As an introvert, I don’t really crave a whole lot of social interaction. I welcome it when it happens, but that’s about it. I found I kept trying to make time for everyone, and soon lost myself and my focus. I’m all about quality rather than quantity when it comes to friends, and the same should go for my social interactions as well. Less really is more.

9. Speaking of quality people, I’ve met so many rockstars in this past year! I got to meet Mads from Sail Life at his meetup in LA, Liz Clark at her book signing for Swell in San Diego, Sailor James who saved my behind that I’ve already written about, another single hander Matt from Life on Gudgeon on the docks in Mexico, Skip Novak on a sailing trip in Chile, I ran into Dustin from The Single Handed Sailor in Antarctica of all places, and I even got to do a podcast called I, Survivor while stocking up on boat stuff (the only podcast I have become addicted to). I also got to meet a handfull of Instagram followers who are all on their own awesome sailing journeys. The list goes on! I know I’m doing what I am supposed to be doing because this stuff just keeps happening, and it is unreal! I love it. I love it so much.

10. I am not a day sailer. I’ve gone for one day sail and it wasn’t worth it to me to want to do every weekend. I would maybe do it to test out new equipment, but I kinda need somewhere to GO.

That’ll do it for me on this post. I hope everyone has a happy holidays and a wonderful New Year!