March 19, 2010

How Did You Get Here?

It’s the question that comes up every time you get together with a new cruiser. You’ll meet, talk weather, find out who you know in common, discuss where to go next and then the question, How did you get here? pops up. Maybe it’s a question that comes up for anyone who has travelled far from home: Plane, train, bus, burro? What got you here?

The thing is, the question doesn’t mean what you think. Sure, we all want to know what kind of boat other cruisers have. How long it is? Who designed it? We even care about the work done to get it ready for cruising. The question also doesn’t really mean which route did you take? Or what storms or breakdowns occurred? But we do want to know that too…

How did you get here?: It’s the question that tries to find out where we intersect as a group. How did we leave our lives as average suburban parents, urban professionals, fledging retirees, or whoever we were before, and all find ourselves here? It’s the question where we try to find out who we are as individuals, by defining what a cruiser is.

As far as I can tell none of us have much in common. Some of us have always sailed, others took it up so they could travel. Some have dreamed of sailing the world since they were wee, others followed a partner into the dream. Some of us are out for a year, some are never going back. Very few of us are wealthy, most of us are trying to simply eke another month (or three) out of our savings. Our ages range from 20 to 80. Many of us get seasick.

What we don’t have in common is greater than what we do have in common.

But we’re here. And somehow, when we’re asked that question there is a knowing nod acknowledging what it really means, and then we hear about storms that were dodged and villages that were beautiful, boats that broke down and friends that helped out. In the stories we find clues to who we are and why we left a perfectly nice life for this one: One we can’t define, but that holds us so tightly we’ve risked everything to have it.

How did you get here? – I’m really not sure, but I’m grateful we all found our way.

Quick answer to a couple of people who sent questions about how we support ourselves:

I'm a freelance writer, writing mostly travel and lifestyle for magazines and websites. You can see some of the things I write on my website (although it's woefully out of date). Two of my newer stories can be found online, one at Men's Journal: Going to Vancouver? and one at MSN: Thieves' Gallery

Evan is a naval architect and is doing remote contract work for his old office.

Between the two income streams we're hoping we can both work part time (or less...), home school Maia, travel the world and not go broke. The past two months we even came out ahead a bit.

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