Why We Stopped Cruising


Because we were done :)

While we were leaving French Polynesia we realized that we had about the same amount of fun left in our cruise as we did money in our bank account. In about 3 or 4 years, depending on how many things went wrong, we would need to head back to land to replenish both our fun factor and our savings. We also knew that our various qualifications in our previous careers were evaporating and so it was a good time to think about returning to work for that reason as well.

At that point we decided we would start keeping our eyes open for work that was both fun AND lucrative. We also decided that if nothing had come up within two years we would start looking for work that was fun OR lucrative and in about four years we would start applying to be greeters at Walmart!

Within the first year we had a number of possible opportunities that were both fun and lucrative, some of which dissolved, one of which suddenly came to fruition. Thus, it was on a high that we were able to finish our cruise - still having fun, still having money, but seeing the end of both in sight.

One of the most interesting things about finishing our cruise is the variety of responses we have had to our stop. The friends who know us the best tell us they are looking forward to seeing what we do next. Many of our cruising friends understand why because either they have finished their own cruise or are seeing their own sense of completion and ending in sight.

The weirdest part for me though are the number of people who see finishing our cruise as a failure or a tragedy of some sort. I think that there is a strange assumption that when people set out cruising, it is forever and that when the cruise invariably ends, that there has been a failure to achieve a goal. I know a few people who are trying to cruise forever. I also know people who desperately wanted to continue cruising, but have issues that cause them to stop (health, money, etc). So, I get it kind of - some cruising finishes are not what the person cruising wants, but the vast majority of cruisers I know are out "for as long as it is fun" or for a finite period of time that they have in their minds even if they don't voice it publicly. They aren't out forever.

Photo by Ryan Lewandowski
We set out on an open ended cruise. We were "going cruising" and we would stop when "we were done". We had no idea what we would think of cruising when we took off, or what specific number of years that cruising would continue to be fun.

Toward the end of our cruise, we were both ready for a change. We were having fun cruising, but we were ready for some other types of fun.

With our years of cruising experience, with the new knowledge of what type of cruisers we actually were (rather than the type of cruisers we guessed we would be from the dock), we were ready also to change boats. Our boat was the perfect boat for our level of experience when we departed, for our ages at the time, and for our first cruise. It is unlikely our second cruise, if we take off again, would be on the same type of boat. We've changed in many ways.

Goodbye Estrellita

RV CLIPTAKE in Ten Sleep, Wyoming

A summit in Smith Rock, Oregon
I am in a car (a car!), towing a small fiberglass trailer (a trailer?), in the open prairies of Saskatchewan (what?!), and I'm sobbing.

They say that the two happiest days in a boat owners life are when you buy your boat and when you sell it. Six months ago I left Estrellita 5.10b floating at the broker's in Australia and I knew I was saying goodbye. It was a sad moment, that I marked carefully in my mind, as I motored away from her at sunrise across a glassy calm bay in our dinghy loaded with luggage filled with all of the bits and pieces that were our possessions. Carol was already back in Canada working and I had finished my pre-sale prep and Estrellita was a gleaming beauty. I said goodbye, shed a few tears, and boarded my shuttle.

Now that the boat was selling (while we were on a climbing road trip of course), I expected to feel relief and I did. While the boat was still for sale I didn't feel like I could truly close the chapter. I had a million things I wanted to write about but felt like opening a conversation would be too painful while she was still for sale. She sold, and I felt relief that I could move on.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
I didn't expect to feel such tremendous sadness. I thought I had said goodbye when I left Australia. Yet when she was actually selling I felt deep loss, a physical wrenching in my chest. I had a very real relationship with this inanimate object and that relationship was ending - we were breaking up and it tore at me even though I knew it was the right thing to do.

I also didn't expect the lightness and sudden freedom I felt. I recently read a blog post in which the author spoke about how the commitment of cruising closes off other options. This resonated deeply with me because as Carol and I discuss our long term future plans, when I think of cruising again, at the same time that I reimagine the delights I experienced on the water and in the islands, I fear losing the mountains again. Right now, even though we are in the prairies we are taking regular road trips in our wee trailer (RV CLIPTAKE) and my life has been full of peaks, of forests, of rock to climb. For all of the joys she gave us, boat ownership is a tremendous responsibility, and by choosing cruising we said no to many other ways of vagabonding and of living.

Carol (front - left) & Livia (back - right) summiting a Flatiron in Colorado
I have more odds and ends to say about finishing our cruise. I'm also going to be converting the sailing blog back into travelogue format. I'll be posting much less regularly, but our Giddyup Plan doesn't end with SV Estrellita 5.10b.


Click on the dollar and buy Livia and Carol a cold frosty one:


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