What do you need to go cruising? Part 4: well… not Stuff.

It was fun putting together the series of posts about things you to think about sourcing in advance for your future cruising life. No question, there are some great economies when you can take the time to wait for sales or have the patience to troll for deals online.

morning paddle
Most important: getting OUT THERE! CraigsList kayak a bonus.

We have a tendency to want to solve our problems, or seek to actualize our future, by going out and buying things to fix them. Take a look at the market of all things environmental. Does buying something you don’t need make you an environmentalist? Mostly, it just makes you a consumer influenced by marketing. Spending money on “stuff” doesn’t make you the person you want to be. Planning and acting on your plans go a lot further than discretionary dollars when it comes to realizing your dreams.

So before you buy something that tastes and smells and feels like your cruising dream, consider if it will really help- if it can really bring your dream closer to reality. Sometimes, yes. But I think of the kind of boat a friend referred to as a Dock Queen. All dressed up, but not going anywhere. And the friends with lots of things, but little time to enjoy them.

The truth is, most of the path of acquisition really does feel like a distraction.

So think about it this way. Cruising is a few years away. Is there something you need to replace in your daily life, that can be replaced with something that will later make the transition to your boat? Put the “marine” filter onto the things you do need, and make smarter choices.

Or maybe- maybe, it’s not the Stuff at all. Probably the best pre-cruising preparation I had was a couple of weeks of training with Nancy Earley.
Hands-on learning with the patient and knowledgeable Nancy

Nancy leads on-board ISPA certification experiences from her boat, Tethys, on which she has completed two circumnavigations. The time I spent with her was invaluable. I couldn’t dock our boat, so we spent hours (and hours, and hours) one day while I made pass after pass until I had it nailed. In my head, in my muscles, and in my heart. She answered all questions, from the inane (I am sure I had them) to those based in fear of the unknown and helped point down the path.

You can have all the right gear, all the right books, but knowledge and confidence are more important than all the Stuff you can buy put together. What are the gaps you need to fill?

9 Responses

  1. I love this post! I’m absolutely convinced that what you’re saying applies across the board to dreams and life, whether or not they have anything to do with cruising.

  2. Great post! I’d say the main thing I’d like is what you said … experience and confidence! We hope to get a lot more of that this summer. The rest can come in time, and lots of “stuff” isn’t the answer … heck, we don’t have the room for it anyway on our 30ft sailboat! =)

    Great advice!

  3. Right now we just need to fill in the gaps of our deck that let the rain in. We apparently have A LOT of gaps to fill. It is no fun moving the books and stuffed friends to the floor of the boat when it rains hard.

    Yes, I agree with you totally. Our culture thinks that you have to be equipped with all the right stuff to make your life successful. It is not the physical stuff that makes or breaks the deal though. It is what you have in your head and your heart. I just recently blogged about this same thing here.

    Thanks for sharing some inspiring posts!

  4. Great post again Behan, and on the spot. I think I’m going to need a Nancy too – maybe you can be mine!

    Also, you have inspired me to start blogging too. I’ve done it in my head for years but finally sat down today and put it in writing, and it ties in nicely with what you just said. Just thinking what to call the blog as Zero Gravity is not quite ours just yet!

  5. Rebecca, you are so right!

    Heather, great post- we are on the same page here. 🙂

    Desire, can’t wait to read more!

    Alice, even given wide definitions of what is actually “middle class”, cruising is perfectly in reach. People on radically different budgets and financial means go cruising.

  6. Behan,

    Thank you for your inspiring blog. Your post is on the spot. My wife does not sail and I would like her to get some insights from other women who do. Does Nancy teach regularly from a regular base and do you know who to get in touch? I am sure my wife would be more confident learning from other women …


      1. Behan, thank you for your quick response … you are faster than some people i work with, and they have both feet on the ground …! (or so they think!!!)

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