The Cruising Life


I read a book once, called “The Not So Big Life” (it was written by an architect who had previously written “The Not So Big House”, so it was pretty awesome), and of the many things that I copied down from the book, one that has stuck with me is “tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth” (as a way to live your life).

So in that realm… here’s my truth about the cruising life:

Sometimes, it sucks.

And I know Estrellita would argue (Livia has a fantastic “Cruising. Does. Not. Suck” photo thing going), and I know that when I was busting my butt working in an office in dreary rainy Vancouver, dreaming of living this life, I would get SO annoyed when I read other cruiser’s blog posts complaining about how hard their lives were, or how much work cruising was, or whatever (like, cry me a river, right?? you’re living my dream so just shhhhhh).

But honestly? Sometimes “living the dream” really is a lot of work. Sometimes great days spent exploring the markets of old town Puerto Vallarta are capped with revelations of bent prop shafts and leaking transmission seals and that darn uncertainty that pervades our lives. Sometimes the needs of the boat are so much that I wish we lived in a kayak. Or an igloo. Or something without engines and moving parts and breakable things.

Sometimes trying to decide what to do next (haul the boat? hire a diver to take out the prop shaft while we’re in the water REALLY QUICKLY so we can bung the hole and have a new one made? ignore the problem and keep on pushing south (my personal favourite, of course)? buy a timeshare in PV?) is so stressful that the only answer is to head to YaYa’s cafe and drink Pina Coladas until it doesn’t seem like such a complicated decision any more. Sometimes — and these are the realllllly low moments — I wish I was back in Vancouver, complaining about the rain and making a paycheque and living in ignorant bliss of how much work this dream of sailing might actually be.

Pina Coladas - or were they Margaritas? -- for $1 in PV

However — and this is an important however — most of the time, it really doesn’t suck. Most of the time, it’s pretty awesome. Waking up every morning to my husband (happy 4-month anniversary honey!), reading Kindle books in the hammock, doing early morning yoga with my awesome friend Zach (who flew down for the weekend to escape the demands of law school for a few days 🙂 ), lazing around on the beach, meeting new cruisers and swapping stories, drinking those darn pina coladas at YaYa’s cafe, searching for the best tacos in town, Skyping with dad and Darrell and any other boat-knowledgeable person we can think of to try to problem solve our engine vibrations, flying around the anchorage in the dinghy just because we can, grinding the locally roasted coffee beans for early morning coffee, practicing my Spanish with the basket lady who tells me that I’ll get a better price if I speak Spanish ;), and above all, knowing that we chose this life, that we chose this boat and love this boat, and have each other and love each other (we’re still newlyweds so I’m allowed to be sappy) and we will figure it all out eventually… all of that is pretty great. Pretty fantastic. And pretty much exactly what I was dreaming of not-that-long-ago….

Coffee beans for sale at the market

The beach by the anchorage in La Cruz

Jon on the beach near La Cruz

Leah on the beach near La Cruz

Organizing charts inside Brio

My very favourite Bird of Paradise flowers from the market in La Cruz

The boys sun tanning in Sayulita

Funny little hat

Jon in the hammock on deck -- how to hang a hammock on a sailboat deck

Early morning yoga with Zach in La Cruz

Breakfast and internet at Anna Banana's cafe

Hanging out with my hat haha

So that’s the truth I have to tell today… and I’ll leave you with one more little quote that I really love from Sarah Susanka:


It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work.

…It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart”


The Cruising Life — 6 Comments

  1. Leah. I love your honesty.
    As I sit here in in my grubbies after painting the railing that has so many nicks and chips it looks battle worn, I hear what you are saying about having to do repairs. We are working on a new roof, there is no urgency for me, but I have a friend in North Van who is replacing a roof due to numerous indoor showers. I am still living in 7 year old renovations that will one day hopefully be done. I need blinders so I can sit and read without seeing all the little things that need finishing. 🙂
    As to uncertainty, it can be daunting and uncomfortable, or when flipped over, open doors and opportunities that wouldn’t appear if we were living in a set routine.
    I know that you already know all this and so much more, that is what I admire and love about you. So, really, I am just saying, Yeah, sometimes, what is needed is a margarita and friend who says, I get it.
    Happy Sunday mon ami, xo.

  2. We are still!! putting Corinna back together and everytime I visit her I think of all those wonderful times and all those moments of insecurity (engines and masts and other parts not happy with the marine environment). Glad you can enjoy it and be critical/honest of the challenges. Reminds me of what I love about being back here and wanderlust takes care of reminding me that I want to be back out there. Howdy from Northern California.

  3. Hola…you are a wise one ;-). One of the things cruising gives perspective on is that you can do way more than you every dreamt possible from the easy to the hard! Enjoy whatever it brings you.

  4. Oh, and I agree with Steph…missing La Cruz right about now but getting ready to color Easter eggs with granddaughters makes one appreciate both!

    • Thanks Bonnie — we’ve been talking about you guys lots lately, especially every time Catchphrase comes out! 🙂

Leave a Reply