It was a snap decision, but pointing to the US in 2016 suddenly made sense (the kicker was learning of people we love with poor health). From that one follow a myriad of other decisions. Here’s are some clarifications, and what we know, and what’s keeping me up at night.
We aren’t going to stop cruising.
We are going home, but we’re still going to be cruising. There are no plans to fix ourselves in a place and change our way of life. We’re expecting to be in the USA for about six months—basically, the duration of hurricane season—then point towards the Bahamas and Caribbean islands for winter 2016/17. As cruisers, of course, those “plans” (we resist the P word!) could change at any time!
We have no plans to live on shore.
Totem is our home. We don’t need a break from her. In fact, we just had one- nearly a month of road tripping in South Africa- and it reinforced how much we love our floating home. For some reason the question about going to shore comes up a lot, although it’s would never occur to us. Why would we move out of our home, into a land-residence that’s, well, not our home? While our real home is right there?
I’m not going to stop blogging.
I appreciate the notes and comments from people who said how much they’ll miss reading our updates. I suspect they didn’t read far enough into the last post to realize we’re not quitting cruising or hanging up the blogging hat. Our lifestyle isn’t changing and neither is that: blogging is in part a way for me to process our experiences, to think about the impacts of places and changes and people on our lives. And this chapter of US cruising, if anything, will probably offer a LOT of fodder to process.
What’s keeping me up at night
We have the first five or so thousand miles mostly sketched out. In January we sail up to Namibia; from there, we’ll go via St Helena and Ascension Islands to… well. We once thought Brazil. The current thinking is to Grenada. But there’s at least one voice on board that’s angling hard for French Guiana…more homework required.
Getting from Grenada to the USA, and then up (and back) along the US coast, is a little more complicated. Mostly, we’re spoiled for options, but it’s a lot of miles and we can’t visit all the places we’d like. There are friends I’ve known through the internet that I CAN’T WAIT to finally meet in person! A map of the dream route is filling with pins to their locales. And then, we’ve had some generous offers to dock or mooring space we can use along the way, and they’re influencing us too (suddenly, there is more than a pilgrimage to the home of the Dark & Stormy to lure us to Bermuda- wow!). Researching our path is a lot fun!
How will we afford health insurance?
Routing might be a fun problem. Dealing with insurance coverage is not. We’re used to paying out of pocket for medical expenses; it’s never much as we’ve generally been in places with affordable care. The US is not one of those places. But we also can’t afford the cost of insurance, at least not from what I’ve seen so far. More homework.
How will our kids deal with the culture of peers at home?
We live in a bit of a bubble, in what I think is a very good way–a bubble that’s limited the kind of peer culture we don’t think is necessary. Yes, our kids are happily not “socialized.” They don’t care what brand their clothes are, they don’t need the latest ______ (fill in the blank), they aren’t bereft without a smartphone (none of them have one and none of them care), they’re not surrounded by messages directing how they are supposed to talk or act or look to measure up to some unwanted yardstick. We have three awesome, strong, independent kids, but I’m anticipating some possibly challenging times for them and for us as we navigate this together.
What kind of reverse-culture shock will we experience?
When I was a teenager, my family moved to Taiwan. I came back to the US for college the next year, and the reverse culture shock of my home country was unexpected and fierce. How will we be overwhelmed, or not? What have we idealized in our absence, that won’t feel the same? I expect this mix of emotions to return, and hope that by anticipating it and talking about it as a family it won’t be too difficult. But this I assume: we’re going to feel like outsiders, strangers in our own country.
Will we get burned out?
We have a lot of miles ahead. By the time we reach Long Island Sound, we’ll have sailed about 14,000 nautical miles in a year. That’s almost 40% more miles as ANY single year since we started cruising, and will include longer passages than we’ve done yet. Are we going to get fried? We hope to have our friend Ty come back for a (long) leg: he will ease the load while adding a lot of fun. It prompts me think about bringing crew along on other legs, too. I should probably mention that to Jamie!
I realize at I get to the end of my list of questions that I’ve let myself fall into the trap of negative presumption. It’s one way of responding to change or the unknown, but the kind of attitude I try very hard to avoid. In truth, we are SO EXCITED about spending time in the USA next year, about being home, about seeing our families! We just have a few kinks to work through.
This post is syndicated: clicking through to see this post on Sailfeed puts change in our cruising kitty. Thank you!