Thursday, August 20, 2015

Different strokes for different folks; What does it take to go cruising

Some people need more comforts than others.
I would like to think that I'm not stupid. I would like to think that I'm just a late bloomer, if not, well then I would just be stupid? In truth I am constantly learning. And I make this obvious statement on the premise that it is not always the case, like common sense not being common. I know people that don't seem to get a damn bit smarter with time. We are creatures of habit, and we don't adjust to change all that easily. I have found that one of the most important things that you should achieve in life is to know yourself. This is the only way to answer the question "what does it take to go cruising?" Well, if you are going to be out cruising longer than a month then you'll want to live as closely as possible to how you live now, with some adjustments of course. Don't expect to somehow become a new person that can go spartan, and spend the days enduring hardships, and still enjoy the adventure. No sunset is beautiful if you are miserable with hardships, and discomfort.
This feller is definitely not having a good time.
I have heard many cruisers say "this isn't for us" after just one cruising season. It's not the travel to exotic places that isn't for them, it's the hardship that they didn't account for. What they are really saying is that for whatever reason (usually budget) they have fallen short of their "minimum bearable level of comfort" (MBLC), and are just not enjoying the experience. Yeah, I'm making this stuff up as I go, but bear with me. If you ask these disenchanted cruisers about their boat they'll describe a most basic of vessels that is lacking equipment that most of us from the 21st century have grown to expect. MBLC is different from one person to the next. I have found that it relates directly to your current standard of living.
If your standards are high "Dreamer" is for sale...17 mil.
You can make adjustments, and compromises, but you won't enjoy yourself if you drop below your personal MBLC. Long, drawn-out periods of hardship and discomfort can sour any paradise.
Pooling resources is a great way to stretch the cruising dollar.

I got the grill!

Entertaining 55 kids takes teamwork.

Wait, don't lose hope, there are several ways to meet, and achieve your MBLC. Breaking up the time at anchor with time at marinas helps restore moral, and provisions between excursions. Installing equipment to help meet your needs can ease the hardship between marina visits. Cruising with a group of other cruisers to share resources, and support each other enhances your experience, and in many cases life-long friendships are forged. The right answer for you will most likely lie in a combination of these. I know people that are just delighted about not showering, skipping a week at a time, but if this is not you, and you like to shower, you have to figure out how to make it possible. There are people that can eat the same bland canned food day-in and day-out, no problem. If this is not you, you'll have to figure out how to keep and cook the foods that you like. I for one can eat granola bars everyday for a month if that is what it takes to fulfill a voyage, but on day 31 I will roast, and eat the person next to me. 
I would trade my homemade bread for fish.

10 pounds of fish for 1 pound of bread because some cruisers didn't realize how much they would miss bread.

There are cases where the old "just go" adage that some periodicals endorse actually works, but these are very few, and far between. In most cases you do have to meet your MBLC, or you're just in for misery. The best way to establish your true position is to test the waters before completely committing. Don't just buy a boat and leave on any given Tuesday for an extended voyage, slowly test the waters. Go out for a week, and then two weeks. Enjoy cruising your local waters before traveling longer distances. Get to know yourself, and your tolerance levels.