I'm working on some new stuff for the IWAC project and one of the new questions that I generated based on reader feedback was about mistakes made in the first year of cruising.
A few weeks ago, I was struggling with how to re-word the days countdown (or count up I suppose) on the upper right of this blog. I felt weird about counting the days cruising when we aren't cruising right now. When we changed the title of the box to "vagabonding for X days" both Carol and I felt a sense of relief out of proportion to the importance of the task.
As freeing as the label "cruising" may sound to people at a desk, we've realized that to us it feels limiting. And not just limiting in some esoteric, soul-searching, identity crisis kind of way.
Calling ourselves cruisers and calling Carol's retirement the "beginning of cruising" affected our decisions for this winter. If we had been thinking of ourselves as vagabonds instead, I think there is a good chance we would have parked the boat somewhere cheap and safe, and rented a thatched hut somewhere very cheap and very tropical. Or maybe a succession of huts in a region, spending a month in each. We could have come back refreshed, sun-kissed, and ready to do a month push on boatwork together and continue vagabonding-by-boat.
Even though land travel is a big part of many "cruisers" lives, somehow long term land travel didn't occur to us an option after only 4 months of cruising. I think that was a mistake. Nothing grave, nothing serious, but something I would do differently. We've had some great fun this winter...but we could have had more. I like to think about things like this, not to beat myself up, but to learn for the future.
At this point, we will choose to continue as we've been doing (playing in between work breaks) because we choose to honor our commitments and because we're a few short months from another major haul-out and being on our way again.