Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Cruising Lifestyle: Communicating with loved ones

"Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished:

If you're alive, it isn't."

 - Richard Bach, "Illusions - The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah"

Earlier this year my 76-year-old Dad lost a younger brother and just recently a younger sister. I lost a cherished uncle and aunt. Their mission on earth was finished. And, although those of us who remain on the planet are saddened by the losses, we manage to move forward a step at a time keeping them close in our hearts.

When leaving shore to live the cruising lifestyle,
sometimes you leave behind more than you think.

When choosing to live the cruising lifestyle we make sacrifices and give up some things. One of the hardest things for me is to give up ease of access to my family. Living thousands of miles away from the states, puts me at a disadvantage when family events occur. Weddings, showers, graduations, funerals ... life ... happens back home. And there's been a lot of events this year. Most of it is the mundane, right? The day to day living stuff that goes on in every household. But sometimes, when the families are coming together for a gathering, and we (Chris and I) can't be there, it stings. I realize we've made a choice and it doesn't come without consequences. Who knows if we were living at home if we would even attend some of these events, I mean we would have our lives going on, too. But I think I feel it more because I am so far away and I am forced to choose between which events I can afford to fly home for and which events I will have to miss.

To compensate for not being there during the joys and trials, many cruisers communicate with their families by e-mail, Facebook and Skype. Not all that different from land based life. However, our accessibility to these technologies and media isn't always that easy. We are on our boats, we may be sailing, we may be shopping, or cleaning the bottom of our boats, or sightseeing, or whatever we are doing. We miss our Skype calls or our e-mails because the Internet isn't working, or our cell phone signal just isn't there. At times we choose not to purchase these services. I am however, thankful these technologies exist.

I learned about the deaths of my Uncle Carl (February) and Aunt Elaine (just a few days ago) through Facebook. It's not that my family didn't try to reach me. The mode of communication failed. Getting upset about this (writing about it is therapeutic for me) is unreal and baseless in today's world where the written and spoken have morphed into the online. Mom always says I find out about things before she does! Not this time, Mom. But it's okay.

What it comes down to is that I made a choice of lifestyle that lately seems to be forcing me to rethink how I live within its boundaries with regard to communicating with family around important events. My mission on earth isn't finished, yet; and life goes on. 

Sail on Uncle Carl
Sail on Aunt Elaine
I will miss you both very much.

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