Voice of Reason

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." - Benjamin Franklin

It's a new year, but I'm not one who typically buys into the New Year's resolution hype or the rhythm of starting something over every January. Sure, I could stand to drop a few pounds and curb a habitat or two this coming year, but I don't feel the need to proclaim it to myself or anyone else as Ryan Seacrest wishes us all a happy new year at 12:00:01am.

But this year is different. I've set some goals for this blog and am resolved to finish 2013 several steps closer to living a sailor's life than I did in the year I'm leaving behind. Nope, 2013 will not be the year my family and I sail away, but I'm confident the sailing and cruising we do will continue to be meaningful and fulfilling. However, when I'm honest with myself, I know that my passion for sailing and a watery life is sometimes being held back because reason is holding the reins. Maybe Mr. Franklin would try to set me straight if he we're still alive.

I've come a long way since restoring our first sailboat and starting this
blog back in 2007 (That's me at the helm of s/v Hannabel in 2007)

Listening to the voice of reason is the main reason most people never sail away. We've all got too many responsibilities, bills, and fears and too little money, time, and courage to actually sail away. Or at least that's what the voice of reason says if we listen too intently and too intentionally. There's a fine line between being prepared to sail away and over-preparing. I firmly believe that if we were to wait until we felt we were ready to sail away, we'd never leave. Besides, what does "being ready" really mean anyway?

There are far more practical reasons why you shouldn't sail away than there are reasons why you should. Think about it:
  • Your boat is too small
  • You don't have enough money
  • You're in the prime of your career
  • Your kids are too young
  • You have too much debt
  • Your house hasn't sold
  • Your family doesn't want you to leave
  • Your friends think you're crazy
Are you ready for a dose of reality? If not, hit the back button on your browser before you read the next sentence. The planets are never going to align and all of the above issues will never be resolved or magically disappear.

Realizing the truth in that statement is a big step towards shoving off. I can't tell you how many cruisers I've heard say that their only regret is not having done it sooner. Just ask the crews of Asante, Bumfuzzle, and Wondertime if they wish they were still in drydock planning, saving, and working.

Most of us are told by society that we should trade time (the fuel of life) now for freedom later. Essentially, the formula goes like this: School (4+ years of college) + Job (40+ years) = Savings & Retirement -> Freedom to Do Life. Trade today for tomorrow. Spend 40-ish years trading 5 days for 2. No offense intended towards anyone who's followed that plan. Heck, I'm following that plan right now myself, but I'm also a mid-lifer who's questioning the sanity of it all.

The flaw in these formulas is that they assume you and your family will be alive and healthy in 40 years. I'm not a pessimist and nor do I want to be a downer, but if you've got a dream you need to act now!

Sometimes you've got to stop reasoning and just jump in!

I've already admitted that 2013 won't be our year to leave for the big one, so why bother with a post like this and risk looking like a hypocrite? Well, maybe writing about it will help me to begin taking the reins (or even just one rein!) away from reason. It's far easier to say it or write it than to actually do it, but I suppose writing about it will give me some sense of accountability. Or maybe it will motivate some of you who are reading this and are contemplating your own voyage, adventure, or resolution. In any case, I think Ben Franklin gave good advice in the quote at the top of this post, but we all need to be cognizant of how over-reasoning and over-thinking something can become mental quicksand.


  1. Love this post! We recently decided that we want to sail and we are so excited. We are young (23) but know that we want to start this in 3 to 4 years. Yes, yes I know this is what everyone says but I went to school (3 degrees and LOTS of student loans debt) that I need to pay off first.

    I love reading all of these sailing blogs and especially yours. :) Makes me so excited.

    1. Thanks M! Debt is always a big obstacle for beginning a cruising life. In fact, it's probably one of the only real true hurdles that can/should hold you back. Thanks for sharing your blog...we'll be following along with your financial and other thoughts.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. I couldn't agree more. At least there's only one thing on our list - the house has to sell because ALL of our cruising money is in it and I'm hoping that 2013 will be our year to cast off the dock lines. Thanks for the encouragement.

    S/V Kintala

    1. The spring real estate market is coming, which would give you plenty of time to wander through the Great Lakes before heading south.

  4. Great Post! This hits home as we have been planning our trip for 3 years now. You are right with that list of things that never all be accomplished. We have worked hard and have paid off our debt, sold Tate's house and only rent, have a boat that is big enough, and don't really care what our friends or family think. Sounds good right? Almost there, but there is always a but, we are in the prime earning years and that is hard to leave.

    We are going to leave though, we are dead set on it in 2 years, but honestly it's easy to say "just one more year", think of the money we can make. LOL. It's posts like this that remind me we have to leave soon. Who knows what the future holds. Our parents are in their 60's and I turn 30 this May. I'm afraid if we wait too long their health will fail and then it will be REALLY hard to leave.

    So January 2015 it is...I keep the counter on our page as a constant reminder of a solid date. Goodluck to you in accomplishing your goals this year! I hope both of us join the cruising community soon in the future.

    1. Dani - Thanks for your comment. You and Tate have a realistic plan and are taking action to get to your goal...great job! I'm enjoying your reading about your W32 refit and preparations and look forward to your adventures between now and 2015. Thanks for reading!


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