For over a year now we have been talking about it fairly casually : One day we will leave to go explore the world while cruising. Furthermore, we have been writing this blog for three years now, and brought more seriousness to our potential departure this past December and officially in January. Although at this point it seems that we have lost our ability to express ourselves in French! Or is it more like our friends Ken and Carole confessed to us : “No, this is normal it happens to all the cruisers we talk to. It’s ok until it’s a dream, but when a date is fixed it’s another story altogether.”
So how did this traumatic experience started?
*V* announced officially to her own parents after her Mum asked a few questions our plan for the nearest future, and evidently a lot of questions arose from it, but overall it went smooth, even if she could feel her Mum’s anxiety which is understandable.Our safety and communication were really the big concerns so far…
And then “I” ( it can’t be “we” on this one *V* is more diplomatic) informed my side of the family, and truthfully I never meant to bring such a shock! My Mum innocently asked the inevitable question : “When are you leaving? why are you doing all this preparation?” To which I answered in tongue and cheek “24th of August! why?” What you need to know is that my parents are coming for a visit this summer and will be leaving on 23rd August… Can you see the dilemna I just created? Indeed and in all honesty I could have been vaguer but it’s not my style! (Really you should know me by now…) As you can imagine our next Skype communication was a little tense: What about the education of the children. Are you really selling everything?
So here is our letter to our Dear Parents:
It could be worse!
What else could we be up to?
- We could be divorcing and putting our kids well being in jeopardy! (Well, ok on that one… we may have already!)
- We could have sold everything and became adepts in a sect. And giving all our estate for that cause! Actually cruising is not far from that, you could be right but we’ve got a catamaran not a monohull (For the forums people that one was an easy one!)
- We could have even decided to start a new evangelic movement in the third world! Well don’t tell anyone! It’s our secret plan…
- We could be in poor health mentally or physically therefore make a decision in a rush. Then again, we are happy and healthy or is it that we haven’t realized it yet!
- We could decide to emancipate our pregnant daughter and drug addicted son, but they haven’t shown any of theses signs yet. And to top it all off they DO want to come with us!
- And lastly we could be smuggling large amount of illegal drugs between countries only to get caught in the process. But as you all know by now I am not a French Diplomat, and we would not get a free out of jail card.
As you can see some of those decisions would have more drastic consequences. We are simply going cruising, and in truth the normal “secured” family don’t do it. But again you can’t deny the fact, that we have never fallen into that category! Let’s list our rather unconventional behaviours from the past.
- *V* was pregnant in one country, while I was working in another. Fortunately I was there for the big day!
- She, then moved to this country 4 weeks after the premature birth of our lovely daughter. Not the most conventional way but *E* turned out okay! Or, so we hope….
- After three years in this country we packed up and sold all of our belongings. *E* was left with her favorite teddy and dolls! We then landed in a much further away country without a home, a job and very little fortune. At that point this thought crossed our mind : “Are we crazy, what have we done?!…”
- And then there is the day when we all showed up for Christmas even though we weren’t expected! Such a crazy thing for a French household, when you know that setting the table takes 2 days for such an event. Or when *V*’s Dad thought the mail man was at the door!
- Do you also remember the day we had sold everything house business and were ready to move to a new venture? But life took another turn, and we had to retire and rethink things through…. Well, that was nuts if you ask me!
- What about the day I quit my nice corporate job, and we put everything in a truck and our van. And then, we crossed a continent with nothing (read: no job/no home…) at the other end.
- Oh and the day we went to the airport! And to your surprise I jumped in the pilot seat with you strapped in.
Now let’s face it, ususally when we say something we follow through and just “do it”, we have never been known to dream too long.
Now let me elaborate on the well being of your grandkids, in the end this is what really matter.
Hostage or free will and educated?
- We have not pushed them into coming with us. *E* will be taking one year off between here prep year and entering university. She has worked very hard to achieve this feast. This whole year she had a full course load and two jobs enabled her to save enough money for her first year. She is a smart cookie, she knows cruisers are renownedly poor! Afterall she lives with them….
- Mister *B* will be enrolled in a structured schooling program, recognized by the education community and government. This is a viable alternative to a more traditional schooling venue. And let’s not forget that he was the one who pushed *V* to leave earlier, once he met with kids who did it last summer.
Food and shelter:
- We promise that we will feed and lodge them in a way that will enable their normal growth development. When we turned nearly vegetarian (meaning that we are not militant and if offered meat we don’t make a fuss-well that’s more for *L*-), we were actually anticipating because we can’t bring a cow onboard, that’s why *V* is sprouting…. (well another story!) but we just couldn’t tell you at the time.
- Would you believe it? Yes other families are crazy enough to travel with teenagers, we are not the only ones! And knowing our children, they will insert themselves even in the adult world in no time. If not even faster than us….
- No problem, you are entitled one visit per year! Just kidding…. You can come to check all the above as you wish, the door is wide open for you. Make sure to follow the blog and we shall give enough clues of where we are heading. But you have an open invitation, it’s formal it’s on the net. As *V* told her Mum, we are giving you ideas to travel!
For us cruising is just the continuity of discovering the world, pushing the envelope of our comfort zone and stimulating our senses to keep alive. As for the pirates, big storms we have to leave it in the hands of God that’s why we took evangelisation as a hobby…. couldn’t resist!
While I was re-reading this post *V* sent me this text and she doesn’t know what I was writing, because she always edits/adds before we post. I feel it summarizes our way of life well, and better than I could ever write it. Now let’s hope that Google translate has improved in the last two weeks from English to French for our parents so it makes some sense….
Top Five Regrets of the Dying
–by Bronnie Ware, Original Story, Feb 23, 2012
For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.
When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence. By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result. We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying. It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.
Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.