Snapshot: One Year on Land

We answered the following questions after two months of cruising, one year of cruising, and three years of cruising. Often our answers changed, sometimes they stayed the same.

Now, we answer the same questions after one year on land.

What did you love about cruising? 

Carol: Many things. First of all feeling like I was on a real adventure. Doing something that just a handful of people have the courage to do. Discovering the planet. Away from the tourist traps. Being able to share everything with Livia. Experiencing the unexpected - spending a few months in a house in Tahiti was a surprise. Obviously, we met some great, genuine people.

Livia: I've said this before but I felt like my everyday life was embedded in nature. Almost every day I was outside for large sections of the day, I admired the beauty of my natural surroundings, I soaked up the vibe of the non-human world. I miss that in my current life. You don't have to cruise to have this, as many people living in gorgeous natural surroundings can attest, but I don't experience that daily soaking up of the natural vibe right now.

What did you dislike about cruising? 

Livia: Almost everything I dislike about cruising is a result of how we chose to cruise and so these are the downsides to the upsides we actively sought out. We wanted to be remote which meant we spent a lot of time doing without (this was easy) but our non-remote time was a mad rush to get everything bought and fixed before we went remote again. This was exhausting because we were usually very active when we were remote and then very busy when we were non-remote and over the years this began to feel exhausting and relentless. And yet, we could have chosen at any point to spend more time in those population centers and thus had less stress on that front but I would choose the same again.

Carol: Sharing anchorages with the charter fleet, the big rallies, and cruise ships. I felt it was ruining the vibe, the place, because the kind of people those things attract. With that said, obviously we met some awesome people in those groups too, and bad single cruisers, but in the big picture. I disliked being on guard 24 hours a day, 365 days a year - it can wear you down and it was a relief to let go of that.

What do you worry about? 

Livia: When I think about being on land, I worry about not getting back out vagabonding again. When I think about cruising again, I worry about the commitment of owning a boat and what other travel opportunities I will miss out on. When I think about vagabonding by land later, it seems inconceivable to me that I wouldn't go back out cruising. Basically, I am a (high class, first world problem) worrier who has FOMS (Fear Of Missing Out Syndrome).

Carol: My fear right now is to start again too late and to have the wrong expectations either because I forgot the bad about last time or because the world is changing and it will be different.

What (if anything) do you wish someone had told you before you started cruising? 

Carol: It's the opposite. It's more what I wish they didn't tell me - what they said at boat shows when they were trying to sell me something and they were totally wrong. I wish I had met some of the people we met out cruising - but that we met them before we went cruising - to have a more open mind about cruising. With that said, it was a good thing I had a great wife that kept my mind open and didn't follow the crowd.

Livia: Cruising is whatever you want it to be and anyone who starts talking about "real cruisers" is automatically suspect to me. Usually those kind of people will define real cruisers in seemingly opposite ways (e.g., they cross oceans and see lots of countries but they spend a long time in one place and deeply experience the culture). Cruising isn't an attitude either. Avoid defining it, experience it, make it yours, do it your way, and respect that same variety in others. The fact that we all do it differently is part of the joy for me and I wish we would allow for as many differences between cruisers as we allow for differences in the cultures we visit.

What are you looking forward to? 

Carol: Looking forward to getting back to more control over our time. We're doing a lot of fun stuff now but it will be nice to when we get back to a place where we don't have to answer to anyone else except Mother Nature, ourselves and the rules of the country we are in.

Livia: We just spent several weeks climbing outside of Las Vegas in a beautiful area called Red Rock Canyon. It was gorgeous and we met up with some friends there. I'm looking forward to going back in a few weeks.

Favorite place recently was 

Carol: Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas. Because of the type of climbing we were doing it felt like and adventure and I felt back in control of our day. We did what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it.

Livia: Terrebonne, Oregon. Love the vibe there, met some great people, hung out with some old friends, and the climbing at Smith Rock State Park was very fun.

Least favorite place recently was 

Carol: Nowhere.

Livia: Weirdly enough Italy. We met up with good friends there and thoroughly enjoyed our time with them and the rock climbing we did together, but the trash, the dirt, the aggression, the drugs...not a favorite place.

A lesson learned is that...

Livia: The mentality I adopted when cruising has transferred fairly easily to my life on land. I notice the beauty in my environment more no matter where I am, I pay more attention to people and make more eye contact, I take my time, I explore, I avoid trying to change others and to appreciate the differences, and even though I was more of an "activities" than a "things" person before I left, I am even more so now.

Carol: To not let the fear of the future stop you from doing what you love. That it is good to have goals - obtainable, achievable goals.

Best gear award goes to... 

Carol: Our Toyota RAV4 V6. Also, SAS Planet - it was a game changer for people who like to scope out new spots and kite spots.

Livia: I am going to answer these gear questions related to the boat although I'm tempted to say "the dishwasher" from our current home. The best gear that we had while cruising was our boat. We chose a sturdy boat that sailed well and we chose a boat we could easily afford and which left a lot of money in our kitty for upgrades and customization. All of those things decreased the stress and suck factor and increased the fun factor.

Worst gear award goes to... 

Livia: Honestly, the worst gear toward the end was also the boat. She was the perfect boat for us when we set out but 5.5 years later we felt cramped living in her, cramped entertaining in her, and as we became better sailors we felt we could safely handle a little less sturdy boat for a little more performance.

Carol: Having a manual windlass for people like us who explore a lot, going to nook and cranny anchorages where we had to drop multiple times to be set in the perfect spot, or when we wanted to move for a short time, became a nuisance.

What is something that you read or heard about cruising, that you didn't find to be true? 

Carol: What gear you need because in reality it all depends on you, your boat, your activities, your comfort level, and where you go.

Livia: I often read that the transition back to land was traumatic for people and for me personally, it wasn't. Cruising has its own schedule demands, its own work demands, its own social/community joys and dramas and I find being back on land to be different but with the same issues. I found selling the boat traumatic, but not ending the cruise. I was excited to do something new again. I also heard a lot about how cruising gets you into great shape and while that might be true for someone living a more sedentary life on land who suddenly is cruising and active, for me who had been very physically active on land, I found it tougher to stay in shape while cruising.

What is something that you read or heard about cruising, that you found particularly accurate? 

Livia: People were always saying "Go, you'll never regret it". I'm sure some people do regret it, I'm sure some people probably shouldn't go, and I haven't asked everyone I know. Still, I feel like the overwhelming majority of people I have become friends with who have gone cruising - even the friends who didn't particularly like it all of the time, who stopped earlier than they expected, who came back to land broke - don't regret having gone and cherish memories from their time out.

Carol: You can go with any kind of sound boat and you don't have to wait to have the perfect boat. Any boat you go with will cause some limitations.

What question do you wish I would have asked you besides the ones I've asked you and how would you answer it? 

Please ask us a question in the comments of our blog. I promise to respond.


  1. Sounds like a great year back on land! Love your Q&As .. especially since we'll finally be cruising later thumis year. So much goibg tbrough our heads .. still so much to learn, but we're excited!

  2. Replies
    1. I honestly don't know yet. Stage 1 in returning to vagabonding is making enough money for early retirement. Somewhere during Stage 1 we will decide what Stage 2 is. We have loads of ideas and we change our mind a lot.

  3. We were asked by email "What were the most dangerous situations and how were they overcome?"

    I don't mean to make a joke but I define danger as what is most likely to kill us and so that makes the most dangerous situations I feel like we were ever in things like being a pedestrian in cities we visited. I feel like I was much more likely to be hit by a car than to die in the ocean or a storm. Or stressing about stuff which increases your likelihood to die from just about every disease.

  4. Great post. I hope life in the big prairie town is treating you well while you head towards Stage 1.

    1. Thanks John! We have a pretty good gig here in the Prairies and have met a bunch of nice people. Now, if only there were mountains...or an ocean ;)

  5. Just thought I'd make a comment here and ask a question. The care and feeding of a cruising boat, even a solid one like we have/had, becomes tedious after a while. Every time you get caught up, it's just a matter of a short wait till something else pops up. If you have a boat with a lot of bells and whistles, like Piko, there is a lot more to fix and maintain. I don't mind working on the boat, and enjoy the satisfaction of completing a project, but it gets discouraging when you finally realize the boat itself is a project that you will never finish.

    Another thing that happens after a few years, and you may have experienced this yourselves, is the sailing itself gets more worrisome. My last single handed passage from New Cal to Oz, was quite stressful and I couldn't figure out why. I was talking to a Kiwi friend when I got here about that, and he said, "The more you learn about sailing, the scarier it gets." He's right, the bliss of ignorance had disappeared.

    The single handing, surprisingly, is more of a problem at the destination than getting there. The few times I've had passengers or crew, I found I did a lot more and had more fun doing it. Also, logistically, you can do more things when you are not alone. For example going to a remote place and kite boarding by yourself is insane, particularly at my level. Many times I've been in a place with ideal wind, tide and weather, but no one else out there.

    Of course the obvious solution to that part is to find someone to come along, but that has it own set of problems. So right now, I'm thinking to put Piko up on the hard for a while and go somewhere like the Philippines or Dominican Republic, get a place close to the beach and concentrate on the kiting, and think about where I want to go from here. One advantage you have is that you are young enough that you can take this life back up down the road somewhere, which I think probably made it an easier decision for you. At my age I probably shouldn't make that assumption.

    Which brings me to my question. You sold the boat in Oz? Did you think you could have gotten more out of it selling somewhere else, or were you happy with the result?



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