Long time cruisers, when did you just "know" that it was time to set a departure date and leave ?
I'm curious about that well known phenomenon of people endlessly preparing for cruising without ever actually leaving to go cruising. You know the people, one project after another, preparing the boat, squirreling away the cruising kitty, adding more gadgets and safety gear, etc, but not actually making a commitment to throw off the dock lines and leave.
It is a big leap, I understand, so for those who did it, when did you "know" ? What was it that flipped the switch in your brain and took you from making preparations to cruise, to being someone who was leaving to actually go cruising ? What made you set that date, to start doing project triage to do what needed to be done and letting go of what you didn't have time to do ? What was it that finally made you decide, this is it, it's time! ?
I see my old friend Wind_Magic is still around! How are ya!???
When is it time? Boy, that's a toughie. I will say that it would be really hard for me to quit a great career and good paying job and just tak off. I know people on here talk about doing it. Tom Neale did it. Others have too. My approach was different. Instead, my wife and I worked towards getting careers that allowed us to work remote, we saved a long time like crazy, outfitted the boat, and got out.
Biggest mistake I made, and that I suspect many sailors make, is the need for crap on the boat. I am guilty, so this is not me being hippocritical. But when you haven't done it, you need all these electronics and gadgets that quite frankly, will hardly ever get used. You buy a $5000 life raft when you are coastal cruising. You buy a watermaker when you will be marina hopping every night. I am not saying that is what I do, I am saying that people spend a gazillion dollars on lots of junk because their perception of what is cruising and what it really is are two different things. Unfortunately, you can't ride a bike unles you fall a few times and gain the experience on what you need for balance. Same in boating. I am wiser now on what I need and don't, but it cost me a lot to get there.
Cruising is all about attitude. Some people love it. Some people don't. I would NOT sell the farm, buy the boat, and just go. I would put everythin in storage, get the boat, live on her a bit, see what you like and don't, and begin exploring from there. There are basics you need to make it safe and enjoyable (each of those defined by the individual). However, most of these things you can get on your travels and in some cases I learned, less expensively than anywhere else!
After a period of time, if you stil love it, sell your crap and go further. If you don't, sell the boat and you can still move back into your old life. But I would sure try living on a boat before quittnig a good job and sailing off on the perception of cruising. Perceptions can be wrong and that would be an expeisive mistake.
Now, on the flip side of that coin, you only live once. I think everyone should pursue their dreams. I would rather my bank account be empty on my deathbed and my head full of aweesom experiences I have shared with my family, than my bank account be full and the experience and time with family lacking. In the end, the impact you make on your family and yourself is what fills the soul. And THAT you can take with you.