Water Wanderlust and the Cruiser's Spirit

"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware." - Martin Buber

Nicely said, Martin.  If I always knew the destination, the journey wouldn't be nearly as exciting.  I guess that means my answer is "no" to the age-old question of "Would you choose to know your future if it was possible?". What's your answer?

I've written plenty about why I sail, about having a cruiser's spirit, and about sailing induced self-reflection. Lately I've been pondering what it really means to be a cruiser and what drives a cruiser to sail on to the next anchorage or harbor. What is it that differentiates a cruising sailor from say, a racer or a liveaboard?  Racing sailors obviously love something about sailing, whether it be the mechanics or the competition. And those that call themselves liveaboards must also share my passion for a life in close connection with the water. But there's something that sets a cruiser apart. The best I can come up with today is water wanderlust

Here's what Merriam-Webster says about wanderlust - "wan-der-lust: (noun) strong longing for or impulse toward wandering"

Pretty simple, right? Plenty of folks have a strong longing to wander, travel and roam the Earth, or even just their own backyard. Cruising sailors have a specific kind of wanderlust, something I call water wanderlust.

Wandering beneath a rainbow somewhere on Lake Michigan (photo by K. Walters)

Many of my fondest memories and my largest personal growth has always come when I've been away from home. Whether it was childhood summer vacations spent in Maine, or winter vacations in Florida, or graduate school and the early days of my career in California, or even our honeymoon in the Dominican Republic, wandering far from the comforts and securities of home has enriched my life. Our summer spent cruising for nearly 3 consecutive months in 2010 opened my eyes to the fullfillment of submitting to water wanderlust. As this new sailing season kicks off, I'm anxiously awaiting new fullfillment from more summer cruises.

To close, I'll leave you with a quote from another of my favorite sailboat designers and a cruising icon, Bill Crealock, who once said...

"The journey itself should be one of the pleasures of the cruise."


  1. Great post - including the earlier ones you cite. Sailing passion is hard to explain but it is real for those of us bitten by it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Keep Reaching - Thanks for the feedback!


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