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I'm making general comments here. Not directed "at" Don. Nor am I saying anything less than complimentary to Americans.

Yes, boats are squishy and uncomfortable compared to a house/condo/apartment etc. There needs to be some counter-balance to the discomfort of small toilets, tiny showers, minute kitchens and foam mattresses instead of innerspring queen or kingsize beds one doesn't have to crawl over their partner at 2am. And then at 3 am, 4am and at dawn.

Its the same with RV's. Some spend $250,000 on an RV are are bored with it as there is no balance.

Yes, many people in all walks of life don't plan their retirement. They say we'll retire and live on Easy Street doing whatever we want. "We Have No Plans AND Are Sticking To Them" - Thats the most stupid theme I can ever imagine.

Plans give balance! You want to climb Mt Everest, of course you must live in a tent. Living in the tent is PART of the Everest adventure. Living in a tent in your home city is no fun !

Many Americans retire, grab a boat and then STAY at home. in their own bay, or in the USA. I say Get the hell out of Dodge because living on a boat at home is no adventure. Theres no balance.

With Don its really interesting as we have been able to look inside his life for the past 5 years, month by month. He complains we don't give him enough feedback for each months figures, but they have been SO illuminating. He is/has not gone anywhere, has done northing to give that balance. Maybe a few weeks in the Bahamas (but see below). His monthly figures prove it. Marinas, booze and eating out but no tourism... exactly the same as when he was living in his house but in a marina. For those 5 years I have been telling him it will be better when he is living on the hook in the Caribbean (or wherever).

However, the "wherever" can't be, cannot be, a place associated with you. It can't be the ICW if you're from the east Coast USA, or the Great Lakes if that's where you're from. Similarly it can't be the Bahamas because the Bahamas are like the USA without the supermarkets. Its not "full of Americans and Canadians" its exclusively Americans and Canadians. You might occasionally see a European boat, or a Kiwi or Aussie but really, its American and Canadians.

Its cant be Puerto Rico - thats American; its Cant be the USVI. (It can't be Cuba for now). It can't be Mexico - there's reasons be too long to explain). It can't be the BVIs as the people speak with a put on US accent (too true!).
The closest you can be to the USA before cruising is cruising, before the balance starts is the east Caribbean Islands (No, dont believe what SanderO says. The Caribbean islands are FANTASTIC!!!!).

The first of the accessible islands is St Martin/Sint Maarten. On the French side you are suddenly in another country. They speak French. The supermarkets are French, the food is French, the American brand labels do not exist - yes, theres no Aunt Jemima's! No theres no Monterey Jack, thers real stinky French cheese; theres bread not baked the American way but baked without chemicals so if you dont eat it this morning its stale this afternoon. The History is not about the Civil War (American) or the War of Independence (OK it is, but not the American war of independence!). NO Blackbeard was not American! But most important of all is suddenly the majority of the boats, most boats are not USA or Canadian flagged. Suddenly you are in a foreign culture with a foreign history; foreign food and no Budweiser!!! Suddenly you're having Sundowners with Aussies, Norwegians, Dutch, Italians, even the odd Kiwi.
That then gives you balance to live on your small dinghy boat because adventure awaits you every day!

Then when you've had your fill of that island you move to the next for a totally different experience... and EVERY Island in the Caribbean is totally different: St Barts billionaires; Stacia and Saba weird hermit communities on hermit islands get for hiking up cliffs. Antigua for the British historic base with Nelson's English Harbour, the slaves of Barbuda whose family's haven't moved. Monserrat with its active Volcano. Guadeloupe with is few original Carib Indian families desperately hanging on.... and so on down the island chain, Dominica where they cop every hurricane every season and earthquakes every other season and mud-slides associated with both.
Down to Grenada where you're forced every Hurricane Season and have to make the choice: Do I anchor in the "southern bays" with all the Whities? Or do I go meet the locals?

The Caribbean is the closest place to give you Balance. To make that boat your adventure palace, to make all the dopey maintenance work worthwhile.

And the moment you are satisfied you've done the Caribbean there........... Europe, the Med, Norway, North Africa, South America, Brazil, Panama, the Pacific, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa....

Theres a lifetime of Balance!



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Mark
 

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Why do so many people want someone to house sit? I leave my house for a month at a time and just turn the lock and leave. There is a security camera that alerts my phone and a cleaning lady that comes every other week. I can鈥檛 think of why I鈥檇 need someone to live there.

You were right on the pets thing. The cost to have the dog or cat in a kennel is above the cost of having a housesitter.

Some of my friends do house sitting and every house theyve had has dogs.
 

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I was reminded of this old blog, where they interviewed cruising couples. Almost all loved it, but gave it up after varying numbers of years. Some ran out of kitty, other wanted something new. Happens. A few kept plugging along.


Just re-read mine... 11 years old... I think I had it spot on then. Trying to maintain that :)
10 Questions for Sea Life ~ The INTERVIEW WITH<p>A CRUISER Project</p> (interviewwithacruiser.blogspot.com)


"For many our brains need more than a boat supplies, perhaps prior to cruising taking course in history, geography, biology or photography would be good. Even keep a study regime and do courses while aboard.
Even now I sail past a bird or dolphin and I don鈥檛 know what type it is, where its from, how it breeds鈥. I鈥檓 cruising, but I need to be learning more. "

Hmmm. I think I was right :)
 

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I remember driving my dinghy onto a plane in the Bahamas and freaking out when my eyes couldn't see the surface of the water but were only able to see the sand 10 feet below. It was like flying on a magic carpet but incredibly scary. I had to slow down. Most weird experience!
 
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