We’re in awe of our son, for many reasons of course, but particularly for his knack for making and keeping friends. He has friends from all periods and realms of his life, from all the states and cities he’s lived in, from every job he’s ever had, from every organization he’s been involved in. We admire that.
In our old life in Pittsburgh Jack and I, on the other hand, seemed to make fewer friends as we got older. A lot of that is because we no longer worked in the extremely social environment of video production and we no longer belonged to any boating clubs or other organizations. Our Pittsburgh sailing friends had all either moved away or sold their boats. We still had our old friends, but as we focused on our future plans we were less and less inclined to seek out and nurture new friendships, knowing we’d be leaving before long. And frankly, we often felt like we were living a double life, the one our friends knew in Pittsburgh, and our increasingly private inner life of working towards escape velocity.
Flip wipe (tacky video transition) to December and the beginning of our lonely boat shopping saga, and here we were spending a lot of time in Florida. We visited lots of family whom we usually only see at funerals, and we looked up old friends and cemented new relationships with them. Everyone was encouraging and supportive, and that got us through our depressed no-boat months.
Now that we’re living on Escape Velocity, we’re experiencing one of the best benefits of the boating world: new friends. It helps that we all have one Very Big Thing in common, but it seems that people on boats, and particularly cruisers, are eager to connect with fellow travelers. It’s not unusual to be having coffee in the morning and hear a tap on the hull.
“Hey, are you from Annapolis?”
“What hull number is your Manta?”
We get into long conversations all day long about where we’re from, where we’re going, and always, always, about our boats. Just walking down the dock to the laundry or the lounge ends up with a beer in someone’s cockpit or a paperback book or the recommendation for a store or workman. Boaters have calling cards with their contact info on them and we’ve already collected quite a few and had to write down our blog and email for people because we don’t have cards yet. (It’s on the list.)
And the stories! I love hearing all of the back stories, how all these different people ended up on boats in this place. As we start to cruise I know it’ll continue this way, but we like to interact with the locals, too. We don’t want to be the sort of cruisers who travel in a kind of floating village, only hanging out with other boaters and never fully appreciating a place from the inside. It’ll be a balancing act, but for now we feel lucky to be a part of the community we dreamed about for so long.