• October 22, 2019 at 8:29 am#41028
    Michael Mechsner

    I know Esper is your home, but do you still have family back in the UK? Children? Grandchildren? I plan to retire to a boat and my wife has the hardest time thinking about leaving family behind.

    October 22, 2019 at 11:25 am#41034

    I’ll be honest, Michael, it was the hardest part of moving onto the boat and I struggled with it for some time. Although we don’t have children we are missing out on my niece and nephews growing up, whilst my parents get older, and I know that grandchildren often plays a big part in couples giving up sailing to return home. It’s not all bad news though…

    Firstly you can have friends and family out to visit! There’s nothing better than hanging out with family aboard your new boat. It’ll be a BIG adventure for them and extremely satisfying for you and your wife. My parents are still fit enough to fly out to the various destinations we sail through. They used to stay aboard but now they find a hotel near our anchorage or marina. Their last visit to Krabi was one of the best holidays they’ve ever had (ours too). Although I only see them once a year, those memories are more treasured than if I were seeing them in a ‘normal’ routine every weekend back ‘home’, if that makes sense. Technology helps too. We video-chat to stay in touch, something we never had when we first started sailing.

    Secondly, all my friends who settled down to have families live their own lives. They’re concentrating on bringing up their kids and don’t have the time to hang out like we used to. I recently heard from a mate who’d hooked up with a bunch of our friends last weekend. It was the first time they’d seen each other in a couple of years so it’s just as likely that I saw them all as recently as he did. I guess my point is that irrespective of me being so far away, I’m not missing out on as much as I think I am. Would I see them any more were I living back in the UK? Plus those friends who have grown-up children are more likely to come out to visit.

    If it’s social life your wife is worried about, fear not. The sailing community is a tight-nit bunch who are friendly and welcoming. It’s easy to make new friends whether in an anchorage or at a marina. We’ve lost count of the amount of people we bump into regularly, even across 1,000 miles. The other week we pulled into Miri marina only to find that our neighbours were a cruising couple we’ve said goodbye to four times!

    A lot depends on your cruising plans and cruising territory. Maybe you plan to be close enough for people to fly out to visit, or for you and your wife to fly back. Maybe you spend one season a year on the boat and then put it on the hard in the wet or cold season to fly home for a few months. We know plenty of people who do this.

    It’s a double-edged sword. If you are close to your family you are going to miss them and feel like you are missing out, but you’ll be so preoccupied with living aboard and having your own adventure that it’ll take some of that pain away. The fact you have the option for your friends and family to come and visit is an exciting prospect for all of you and the adventure, experience and memories are worth it.

    I won’t sugar-coat it for you though. We know of a number of couples who gave up sailing because one or both of them wanted to be closer to the grandchildren. In a couple of cases he (and it’s normally him) stayed on board whilst his wife moved back, but that’s something you need to check with your children first. Maybe they want their own space to bring up their kids as much as you want to be on the boat! I think it’s natural for any grandparent to not feel like they’re spending enough time with their grandchildren, even if they were seeing them every weekend, but this is supposition and observation only since we don’t have children ourselves.

    I should add that we are factoring in my parents getting older so we’re planning our long-term route to be closer to the UK, should I need to fly back more frequently. Liz ended up moving back to the UK to nurse her mum in her final months.

    For the record, I no longer have these issues. Having been back to visit family and friends it’s comforting to know that they’re still there, doing their own thing, and they’re happy for me going off having adventures with Liz. I don’t think any of us would want it any other way.

    Peace and fair winds!

    October 29, 2019 at 2:33 am#41413
    Michael Mechsner

    Jamie – thank you for the open and honest reply to my question. I am attempting to “alive” my wife concern about missing family by making sure that we will always have a “reserve” fund for trips home (at least for one). I agree – that once you “take the leap” off shore, those concerns do lessen with the new memories you are making.

    October 29, 2019 at 2:38 am#41415
    Michael Mechsner

    “alive” should be “aleve.” But then is that a word or just a product?? Anyway, I’m sure you get my meaning.

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