I want to buy a yacht and sail the seven seas. I’m a protector, a provider, and I’m strong. I want to wrestle with Nature like the Old Man and the Sea, and I want you to be at my side bearing witness to it all. I’m man.
I want to enjoy my adult children, play with my grandchildren and share in their lives. I want to be safe, be comfortable, and enjoy the fruits years of labor have provided. I want you to be beside me. I’m woman.
Surely this sounds familiar either coming from your own heart or hearing it come from a friend. So how do we manage the distance from family and grandchildren? How do we overcome the insecurity and fears of cruising? Why do we sail? Aligning with our mission to empower people with the confidence to “sail,” we asked four women at Vuda Marina in Fiji, each cruising in a different way. Their situations, as unique as they, offer a range of ideas for all stages of life.Your own potential is greater than you think.
Mandy from the U.K. cruises part-time with a friend sharing, “I’d probably do it full time if my husband was still here.” When considering how full-time cruising might have looked, we discussed the emotional impact of having a pre-purchased ticket home to frame the cruising time. Starting to cruise with the end in site might allow one to relax and thus remain open to experiencing all the benefits of cruising life.
Mandy is fearful at times, but works through it pulling on her inner strength. As her experience grows, her fear decreases and, she stresses, “You must have trust in your skipper.” So why does she leave her successful career and close family to do something which can be frightening? “Because sailing is so quiet. You’re so close to nature. It soothes the soul. Ahhh….,” comes her response We both smile, breathing in a quiet moment as our hands come together over our hearts. I know of no better way to express my own feelings than the same, “Ahhh….”
Wendy from Australia has been cruising full-time for 20 years. For most of that time, she and her husband were in the Pacific and flights back to visit children and grandchildren were easily managed. “When its time to go, I go back,” she matter-of-factly stated. Most recently though, cruising took them through the Panama Canal and into the Caribbean. Her eyes filled as she shared, “My mum is 85 and still alive. Each time I visit, I know it might be my last. Right now I miss my grandchildren and family.” Having cruised for so many years, even I thought Wendy might be ready to return to land life yet she’s not quite ready. “The travel is fabulous, and living on a boat is easier than living in a house,” she replied. Her wish is to return to Australian waters where she would like to maintain her cruising lifestyle.
Janice from the U.K. cruises part-time with her family. For several years now, she and her family spend summers sailing between Fiji and Vanuatu and winters “sugaring” on their Massachusetts maple farm. Janice is quite nervous sailing and found attending a women’s sailing course before heading offshore with her family really empowering. The more she learns, the more confidence she gains. Sailing with her husband and two teenage sons gave Janice the unique opportunity to acknowledge her fear and trust in her husband’s and sons’ sailing abilities. Turning the locus of control over to them, allowed Janice the unique opportunity to transition from a parent/child relationship to recognizing each as a knowledgable, valuable adult. She loves the peace and opportunities sailing provides to really experience new cultures. She sails out of Fijian waters with her family tomorrow.
Australian raised Jude, is a dynamic skipper, wife, mom, and teacher. Her family embraced the cruising life-style together five years ago and have been growing ever closer as a cruising family. In addition to spending time on their studies each day, Jude’s children are becoming trustworthy, capable seamen who can be relied upon to handle lines with her husband while she stands at the helm and maneuvers their home in both calm and stressful conditions. Although appearing confident at the helm or while talking with the technicians, Jude had no sailing experience prior to embracing this lifestyle. How does she overcome her fears? “Dig deep! You’ve got resources that you don't even know you’ve got!” Sailing offers a unique platform for personal growth as challenges cannot simply be ignored. Jude shares, “Its imperative to find resources that you didn’t know were there. There’s always a solution.”
With two children aboard, Jude not only works through her personal fears, but diffuses situations for her children as they continue to experience only the joys of sailing. “I get rid of fear by looking outside. Taking cues from nature, I turn the focus to the birds having fun playing. They are not worried and have no concerns. We watch them or the softly moving clouds, not the angry sea, and then it is suddenly over.”
Sailing as a family has caused Jude and her husband to grow ever closer. They discuss situations as a team and have agreed to always choose the more conservative approach when there is a difference. Their time together at sea has developed their ability to communicate like a fine oiled machine without the need for words. Embarking on the journey together, they defined skills which each naturally brought to the overall running of their vessel and have become an interdependent team!
As we circumnavigate the world, we meet many strong couples enjoying the benefits of team, travel, freedom, and nature’s peace. Man and woman together make a yacht a well-balanced home and vehicle for learning about self, others, and the amazing wonders in our world. There is nothing as special as sharing in the lives of those we love, so finding the right balance is a must. Start slowly, learn to sail, empower yourself by sharing equally in all the responsibilities, establish clear lines of communication with those on land, and cruise as a couple. It’s a life-style that’s worth the investment.