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We are SOOOO ready to go. This time crossing the Gulf Stream is met with considerably less angst than our first, of course. And if I let myself continue on in Cruiser Brain Mode… It could pass almost unnoticed… But as the first moments of consciousness came to me this morning, it occurred to me that this could be our last day on US Mainland soil for a long, long time.
It is not the Gulf Stream that fills my thoughts. It is leaving. Leaving the familiar, the comfortable, the known. Leaving the good and the bad.
The Bad: Not going to miss ‘em.
Media: It has been literally YEARS since I’ve sat through an entire news program. Who needs it? It’s all sensationalism. Whatever will get ratings and appeal to the masses is what the news will show. Very little of importance is ever there and for those things, we have the internet. In my opinion, the media today should be ashamed of their inaccurate coverage and propagation of half truth. The slanted, partial stories they produce are worse than no news at all. I am embarrassed by the US News media.
Cars: Although having a personal automobile can be convenient, it carries with it far more unpleasantness than we ever realized before. There’s the expense… buying the car, filling the gas tank, carrying insurance coverage, keeping it maintained mechanically and cosmetically. Then there are the other things… Traffic, road rage, parking, HOT interiors and HOT seats that burn your bum… and parking. I’m thinking seriously of never owning a car again.
Hostility: Living on land in a house the normal way, this is not an issue. But try to live on a boat where you can move around and anchor at will… and then try to find a place to dock a dinghy so that you can get to shore for provisions and such. You’ll feel the hostility. I understand that Cruisers can be seen as trying to get around paying for things… by anchoring for free. But most of the Cruisers I know, those who are sailing around on decent boats, buying provisions and maintaining those cruising boats, need a way to get ashore to spend money. Many still own property somewhere, making us pretty much the same as any other tourist, whose dollars are coveted and courted. We may not stay in hotels, but we generally stay in the area longer and spend our money over time, and probably much more than the average tourist. We bleed money into the local economy and not just the tourist zones. Staying in marinas and mooring fields are options, but long term, that can raise the cost of being in an area to prohibitive levels for those of us who are on limited incomes. Due to the transgressions of the few, we are finding more and more closed doors when we attempt to find a safe and welcoming place to come ashore for exploration and provisioning.
Commercialism: Being outside the reach of most advertising attempts, I find that my brain is less cluttered and more calm. I am amazed when I see things in store windows or advertisements that insidiously make me want to buy a thing… suddenly I pull myself back and realize that it is so subtle that we don’t even realize it’s happening to us, making us want things that we don’t need and spend money that we don’t have… Removing ourselves from the constant bombardment of commercialism allows our minds to settle and realize that we don’t need that crap!!! And it’s worse at Christmas time. I see commercials for sweaters on TV while waiting for laundry or in a restaurant… WHAT??? Who needs to spend their money to buy an ugly sweater? Even worse is to think it would make a good GIFT!!! No!
The Good: Hoping not to miss ‘em too much…
Family: Although my daughters have not lived with us for years, somehow being in the US makes me feel more close to them. Thankfully the internet bridges the distance between us. Just the thought that I could rent a car and be back in Texas where the rest of my family and many friends live, seems comfortable. Having our cell phone and being able to talk to them whenever we wanted to was also a comfort. Our trips back there have been few, but it’s going to be a long time until we have that luxury again. Hopefully they will come visit us in someplace awesome!
Food: Chick-Fil-A, Mexican food joints with real margaritas, Choices, choices, choices! The food options in the US for fast food and fine dining, and even groceries are unmatched. While this is a good thing, it can also be a bad thing, but I’m considering the longing I will feel when I no longer have the access to these foods.
Stuff: Yes, I know, we got rid of all of our stuff and moved onto a boat. But get real. We still need stuff… Amazon.com and West Marine being two of our biggies… I will miss being able to shop online and have things appear in my hands within a couple of days… with FREE shipping! Being able to order boat bits online or pick them up in the local marine chandleries is a luxury we will miss. Having almost instant access to anything we want or need will be a distant memory very soon.
Movies: We love watching movies or TV shows online. While in the US we can stream Amazon Prime Videos, Netflix, ABC.com and others whenever we have wi-fi or data to spend. I have yet to figure out a way (other than having a VPN, which we don’t) to get US TV and movies while outside the US. I will miss my shows on ABC.com.
Today we will go about our preparations for going offshore. We will put things away that might fly about in the cabin… we will tie down things on the deck and load the dinghy onto the foredeck. I will prepare some foods to have easy access so that we don’t have to cook while underway. We will dinghy ashore and take a walk in the park nearby… our last on American soil for some time.
Will my feet know the difference? Or is it just in my mind that nostalgia occurs. I know that the time will fly by. I know that the future is uncertain. For all I know we could encounter trouble and return sooner than we think (knock on teak that doesn’t happen). I know that we will be experiencing new things that will keep me from missing the familiar things too much. And I know that with the miracle of the internet, I can speak to my loved ones often.
In the morning, we will pull up our anchor and head East into the rising sun… saying So Long to our Country. We will miss you!
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