After nearly six months aboard Escape Velocity we can say without hesitation that we love our new life. EV is plenty big enough; we’re gradually figuring out what we need on board and where to keep it; we’re happy we can have our bikes with us and so far they’ve weathered the elements; we enjoy exploring new places, both long and short term. Sometimes I stand on the bow and look at the houses ashore and the busy life of the waterway and I feel so lucky to be on my own front porch with an ever-changing view.
There’s just one thing we both agree is not what we expected. It feels like to many of our friends and family we have ceased to exist. We don’t think it’s intentional, but people we were in frequent social contact with no longer email or call just to chat. When we reach out they tell us they’re avidly following the blog — and we appreciate that — but it’s a one-way street. We miss hearing the day-to-day details of their lives, how the kids and grand kids are, the health concerns, the ups and downs of work, plans for the future. We miss the lively political discussions.
We love getting feedback on the blog, but what we really miss is the conversational back-and-forth that keeps relationships fresh and changing.
Most of our peeps are on Facebook, and thank goodness for that! Facebook is the asynchronous equivalent of a casual dinner party and we can say we know pretty much what’s going on in the lives of those friends and family. We get to see photos of them, the places they go and the things they do, the issues they care about. We interact, even if it’s a quick “like” on something they post or we post, meaning “I see you. I’m thinking about you.” We feel connected. But many of our family and friends choose not to participate in the social network, and we miss them.
The funny thing is, we have more communication with some blog readers we’ve never even met than with some of our old friends and family members. We think back to before we transitioned to this life. We were avid readers of several blogs and email lists. At first we only lurked, but as time went on I wrote to various people expressing our appreciation or asking for opinions or advice. We were always surprised to hear back — and we almost always did — and many of those early interactions have developed into long-distance friendships. We can’t wait to someday find ourselves in the same place so we can finally hug it out.
One of the joys of this life is meeting new people. We have an instant connection with others who are living aboard and cruising, and while they vary in background and socio-economic status, they are all motivated by a similar desire to leave the beaten path and explore the world from the deck of their own boat. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that we’re part of that community now. But as fulfilling as these new friendships are we’re so sad to see some treasured relationships drift away over the horizon.
We’re grappling with this phenomenon and wonder if other cruisers have the same experience. It’s a pretty big downside to what is otherwise a wonderful life.