There’s just one thing…

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.

10 Comments

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10 Responses to There’s just one thing…

  1. Jon

    We have experienced the same thing. You have to realize that a big part of “staying in the loop” is sharing the same daily grind. You no longer share that grind so things will change. Of the 50 people who swore they would come visit us on the boat, 2 actually did.
    Unfortunately you are in the no man’s land of being full time cruisers in an area where all the other cruisers have moved on.
    It will get better once you get South!
    -Jon

  2. karen sherer

    Marce….Jack….I have responded (briefly) to every email from EV..I’ve never blogged so now I’m wondering if you have been receiving my emails? I hope so!!!

    • Karen, I think the emails you get are sent out automatically by WordPress to notify you of a new post and replying to them doesn’t come to us. You can either comment on the blog itself (like you just did) or email us directly like when you sent us the photo of the old ship in Pittsburgh (which we got — thanks!) and thanks for following us.

  3. Rebecca

    In a way, it may be kind of a good thing you’re getting out if the habit of the “call for a quick chat” type of thing. Because once you get into international waters, that would become very expensive.

    You may want to start exploring, with your closest friends and family, the best times to video Skype with them. Again, once you start getting into faraway time zones, this gets to be more complicated, so weekends may be more convenient for those with regular work hours.

    One option you may want to consider, if you often text, is Google Voice. A Google Voice number is free, but you need to set it up before you leave the States. It’s easy and doesn’t take long. In fact, it’s useful for much more than texting.

    You have to set it up to forward to a U.S. number, but after that you can set it up to Do Not Disturb and it won’t try to call your phone, it will go directly to voicemail. The great thing is that you can listen to his voicemails on your computer or iPad.

    You can also have them sent to email, but the transcription is far from perfect. The great thing though, is that it allows you to text in real time from your computer or tablet. And since it is all done using wifi, it doesn’t cost a penny.

    This is also an excellent number to use for banks, insurance and other business needs. Because, one, you have a permanent number for them no matter where you are. And, two, you have a digital record of your calls and voicemails.

    You can access Google Voice on its website and there are also apps, which make it very convenient to use. You will need a Gmail address in order to use it, but those are also free and easy to set up.

    Hope this is helpful info. If you already know of these, maybe some of your readers will find it useful. I find video Skype a huge miracle in keeping touch with long distance loved ones. And Google Voice has been come in handy countless times.

    Good luck!

    • Lots of good stuff there, thanks! We’ve been meaning to check out Google voice so we’ll move that up the to-do list. We’re not phone chatters and never have been but we do use Skype and FaceTime and iMessage and most of our peeps are right there with us most of the time to the point where we don’t even feel like we’re away from them. It’s the non-Facebook, non-texting, non-tweeting people we’re having trouble keeping in touch with. Social media has revolutionized long distance communications but not everyone has jumped aboard. 🙁

  4. Rebecca

    Oh, forgot to mention Tango. For those who don’t have iPhones, but have phones with front cameras, it allows you to do FaceTime-like video. And, of course, there’s video Skype for phones, too.

    But for everyone else, yes, Google Voice will be great to call and hear their voices. Be sure you have a headset for your computer that allows you to speak, as well as hear. It’s not like Skype or FaceTime, where your computer mic automatically goes on with your webcam. At least, I don’t think so.

  5. Now you know what it is like to be a nomad. Yes, it is sometimes lonely. And we are social animals so that is hard to take. But those techy tools have made it possible to be connected in ways that have never been possible before. Maybe that is why it is so frustrating to feel cut off. It seems like it shouldn’t be happening anymore. You two can handle the ups and the downs. Meditate on the pain that brings about, then let it go.

  6. Thank goodness for Facetime, FB and iPhones with cameras. But it’s not the same as being in the same room. We miss you, especially as the Big Three approach: Election Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas! I’m looking forward to a visit in York. And who knows where else we’ll turn up? XXOO

  7. Ed

    Sue and I on ANGEL LOUISE notice the same things you have observed. It is a one-way street. You have become different in some kind of subconscious way to many folks. If you have not signed up for Google Voice account, you may want to investigate that before you leave the US. I believe we earlier tried outside the country and they would not sign us up, but if in US you can. Ed and Sue,
    being blown to bits at anchor on the Greek Island of Samos! (we are holding well but its blowing about 30 knots off the mountain)

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