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There was a time when I kinda sorta liked reading blogs. All kinds of blogs. But, quickly, and I suppose predictably as well, the vast majority of blogs simply went to hell. I chalk that up to two things. One, and primarily, the owners of these blogs started taking themselves way more seriously than they should have. And, secondly, many of those who read the blogs quickly realized they could say just short of anything in the comment sections. The real world has no monopoly on rudeness and lack of decorum. The Internet can be, and quite often is, a cesspool of humans acting out, hidden for the most part in anonymity.

Spookie...our guard cat.

Spookie…our guard cat.

Because of the above, specifically the mindset of many of the authors, I really don’t read as many blogs as I once did. I mean, though many journalists write blogs, writing a blog does not make one a journalist. Let me say up front that though I have blogged about sailing since September, 2008, no one could accuse me of having a popular blog. I know how many people read my blog and it’s not all that many.

If one blogs about anything really there are all kinds of resources to teach them how to increase their blog’s traffic. It’s a formula and though I don’t use these methods, I’m sure they work. An increase in blog traffic equates to the possibility of making a very small amount of money if one plays the advertiser game. And, to many, a very few extra dollars each month is important. To us, it’s not.

Blogs about sailing have acquired the term cruising blog as their label. They are, to be more specific, blogs about the self described cruiser’s lifestyle. It’s the so-called cruiser’s lifestyle that I find so amusing on one hand, and so disappointing on the other.

“We just can’t wait to join the cruiser’s lifestyle.”
“Ever since we started the cruiser’s lifestyle.”
“We’ve been enjoying the cruiser’s lifestyle for over five years now.”
“This is what I like about the cruiser’s lifestyle.”
“They’ve just recently joined the cruiser’s lifestyle.”

It is exceedingly easy to find reference after reference to the mysterious cruiser’s lifestyle. When I come across these passages in the blogs I can’t help but think that there’s a secret handshake or something associated with the cruiser’s lifestyle. I picture myself thinking these people seek out others who have surrendered to the cruiser’s lifestyle and when they join up they exchange the secret password before their eyes glaze over when they both gaze at each other knowingly. Actually, it’s kind of creepy.

But, is there really something called the cruiser’s lifestyle? Is it real?

Apparently there is; it is real.

There is evidently a huge group of sailors who absolutely seem to dive into everything sailing a certain way. And, they are more than happy to confess to being a member of…you guessed it…the cruising lifestyle. Here are some of the symptoms of those who have been captured by the cruising lifestyle…in no particular order.

1. These sailors perceive themselves as having some form of visceral, spiritual, almost existential relationship with the ocean. Their blogs drone on sometimes endlessly about the starry nights, the solitude and freedom and getting lost in another beautiful sunset.  Admirable, but sometimes a sunset is just, well…a sunset.

2. They readily admit to being giddy about actually joining the cruising lifestyle.

3. Many seem to have little respect for the power and unpredictability of the sea…while others will wait endlessly for the perfect weather window before moving their boat at all.

4. There is great pride taken in jury rigging things and taking huge shortcuts because they simply don’t have the money otherwise. Admirable in some ways. However, in just the last few months I saw one blogger who used twine to attach the end of their lifeline to a stanchion and another use a piece of green bamboo for a whisker pole.

5. Babies are big. Instead of sailing blogs that occasionally mention the kids, many, many blogs are instead baby blogs that occasionally mention sailing.  One would think child protective services will be called out if the baby is not worn more or less continuously and breast fed until the age of 10…somewhat of an exaggeration but not by much.  And, if it’s not babies, it’s dogs. Endless photos of the baby/dog abound. The crew often wear their children like an ornament; and refer to their pets as their kids. I think the pet thing is just weird. I love our cat as much as the rest of love their pets…but my cat is my pet, not my child.

6. As an old hippie, I can remember the 60s when the big thing was to move to the country…live off the land. Tune out. Live a simpler life. Blah, blah, BLAH! I know how it was. I did it. Many of the young sailors seem like many of the land based hippies of old, aspiring to live off the grid, be totally independent…yada, yada, yada.

7. Minimalism is the order of the day. If one really wants cruiser’s lifestyle creds the only sure way to get them, no questions asked, is to sell every single thing one has for their all important cruiser’s kitty. If not absolutely needed for the adventure, then it’s sold. It appears important to have several blog posts about the process of eliminating everything that was ever dear to them…like anyone gives a rat’s ass.

#7 above seems like a good time to mention that the reason often given for writing a blog, any blog, is for the authors, their family, and their friends benefits. They say that’s so they can personally have a record of what they did, etc. That’s fine. But if that’s the case, then why do these people have public blogs. For those not in the know, it is just as easy to have a private blog as it is to have a public one. By putting their blog out in public and allowing comments they open themselves up for criticism…same goes for Facebook. Those bloggers who are enjoying the cruiser’s lifestyle don’t handle criticism very well. Let me give you an example.

A couple of weeks ago I ended up on a Facebook page of a really dyed in the wool cruiser’s lifestyle kind of person. She drooled on and on about the sunrises, sunsets, sundowner’s, etc. On her entry, she makes a comment something to the effect of: “Enjoying a sundowner…nothing better after a successful passage…I love the cruiser’s lifestyle.”

I then read her post to see more of this so-called passage. It turned out their successful “passage” was moving their boat a few miles East while in the Keys. Something they even waited for a “weather window” on before doing. Against my better judgment I commented on her blog: “Isn’t calling your moving your boat a few miles down the Keys a “passage” a bit of a stretch?”

She deleted my comment.

My point: open up your blog to public comment and say something stupid and I (and others) might just comment on the issue.

8. Speaking of not really giving a damn, the younger folk who do have kids more often than not saturate their blogs with photos of them. I get the fact that parents are way proud of their children. I get that it is important to these sailors to home school, spend most every moment in the presence of their children, I get the fact that they have the best in mind for their kids. What they don’t seem to get is not everybody wants to read a sailing blog about children. No harm, no foul…just make your blog private, or not. It won’t matter one way or the other to me. When I happen to click on a sail blog I’ve never read before, if the first thing I see is children I simply back out…and don’t go back.

9. Another symptom of cruiser’s lifestyleitis is suffering. How many times have I read of some poor couple baking alive inside of their cabin while having the “time of their lives in Baja.” Or, how proud some are to haul water by the gallon out to their yacht, all for the sake of the wonderful cruiser’s lifestyle. Not having a refrigerator, freezer, or generator is no big deal, a very small price to pay for the glorious cruiser’s lifestyle. To every one of these inconveniences I’ve read bloggers simply say: “Oh, well, that’s the cruiser’s lifestyle for you.” To all of you I ask: where is the fun in living in sweltering heat, hauling water continuously because of no water maker, or not being able to reach in the fridge for a cold drink? To my husband and me there is no fun in living like that. Period.  Maybe once, but no more.

10. Another inexplicable trait…it seems that keeping an exact cost of what the whole adventure is costing (and sharing those costs) is imperative. People want to know, I’m told. I’ve read numerous posts that start out like this: “We are asked all the time how much it cost to live this cruising lifestyle.” That’s funny…no one has ever asked us anything along those lines. Nonetheless, posts that start out like the above invariably lead to a detailed spreadsheet of sorts that lists how much their cruising lifestyle costs. My question is why? I can certainly see answering a “how much” question with something along the lines of: “We figure it cost us about (insert amount) dollars a month to live aboard and sail in the Caribbean.” But, keeping fairly meticulous cost records because one is “asked all the time” seems plain lame to us. Even if we were to keep such records, they are nobody’s business but ours. Geeez, what land based family would broadcast across the Internet a detailed accounting of their family’s expenditures?  No one. But many of those dipped in the cruising lifestyle have no qualms at all about doing that.

Eh…to each their own.

OK. I’ll stop. But, the list goes on and on. Lot’s of these sailors, young and old, seem to be like those who fall in love on the Internet with avatars and sexy names. They blogroll each other’s blogs, cross comment constantly, and seem to develop fairly involved relationships based on nothing more than a like of sailing and the way one or the other writes. Maybe that’s just how people do things now days.

Don’t get me wrong. People who sail are pretty neat people. We have met almost everyone on our dock here at Seabrook. To the one they seem like good people. As well, no one needs to meet my expectations for sure. So I say feel free to cloak yourselves in the cruising lifestyle.

However…I think we will pass.


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