On (Not) Settling Down
As much as we love French Polynesia, we feel ready to leave. Well, not TODAY (*fights down surge of panic*), but in July. We will have spent most of the past two years in this country and even though there are places we have yet to visit, it is time to move on before we grow roots.
There is always the temptation for cruisers to settle down somewhere when we find somewhere we love. We understand that temptation because we love it so very much here. French Polynesia is our first love affair with a cruising ground and we don’t like the idea of leaving…but for us, the idea of stopping voyaging sounds even more terrifying.
Once we contemplate stopping, we see the place through a different lens. When you are a transient in an area, you know you will sail away from the things you don’t like about a country. When you think about settling, you have to consider living with them. I love French Polynesia but I’m not interested in living here (permanently). We joke that as soon as we understand some of the politics of a region, it is past time to move on. Places can lose their magic when you become entrenched, and this is probably part of the reason so many ex-pats are bitter complainers.
People who have chosen to stay in French Polynesia permanently have told us that they have heard that this is the most beautiful place in the South Pacific and that many people consider it the most beautiful place in a circumnavigation. Perhaps it is. It is easy to believe, but you know what? We heard exactly the same thing from people who decided to settle in Mexico. They were told by friends who were circumnavigators that Mexico was their favorite of anywhere they had traveled. When we were still in British Columbia, people who had decided not to go cruising would tell us that one of the reasons they weren’t going cruising is that cruising friends had told them how good they had it in BC. I bet that when we meet cruisers who have settled in future regions we will hear the same thing again.
Sometimes people settle into a single cruising area because they have found their personal nirvana. Sometimes they stop because they are tired of voyaging. Sometimes they stop because, without realizing it, they have slid back into their pre-voyaging fears. Once you hang around in a cruising area long enough, and become familiar with its ins and outs, leaving it can evoke many of the same feelings and fears as leaving the dock the first time.
We have found our personal paradise but we are not tired of voyaging and we are eager for change. There is a time to move and a time to stay. We are ready to move. Maybe we’ll stop here on our second lap around ;)