Big fear, big debt and an attachment to luxury- three strikes against going cruising if you were born after Kurt Cobain chewed on a shotgun.
Beautiful analysis bljones. Although I would put "big debt", and all the related financial realities as #1 by a long shot. The simple fact is that the middle class has been decimated over the last 30 years. We now spend hugely more on the basics of life than we did a generation or two ago. Saving are in negative territory, and people have fewer and fewer options simply to survive in our western societies. This is not due to a growing avarice, laziness or selfishness of "those kids today," but due the reality that two incomes can't even compete with the buying power of one a generation or two ago.
If you don't feel secure about keeping a roof over your head, being able to put food on the table, and saving a little for old age, then you're sure as heck not going to be buying boats, getting into hang gliding or treking off on some long mountain trail.
Cruising in a small boat has always been the domain of the relatively rich. How many from the so-called "third world," or even the "developing world," has there ever been in the fleets of long-term sailors and cruisers? Almost none. Why? B/c they don't have the security that our societies used to provide
to the vast majority of us. Thanks to the victory of neo-liberal thinking -- a victory brought about by the baby-boom generation -- those days are quickly receding into history.
There will always be those who can buck the trends of their day, and strike out on their own. But it is hard to dream the big dream when you're running as hard as you can, just to keep you and your family safe and secure.