Thursday, September 26, 2013

The friends you haven't met yet

I've been holding this post in my mind for a week. Last week a truck pulled up next to our boat and within a few minutes Tim was calling me out of the galley to come see something. Lo and behold, there stood Bill from Veranda, instantly recognizable from the few pics on his site. He was working in the area and thought he'd come see how the Retirement Project was going. I've emailed Bill on multiple occasions to ask Stupid Newbie Questions, and his patience and good nature were commendable. We have followed their blog almost since the beginning, and they have followed ours, encouraging us with their comments and Bill's hillariously dry sense of humor. I've been holding this post because I wanted to wait until we met Christy, Bill's significant other, so I could post one of those "Hey we finally met these friends of ours" pictures set in the salon over the fine dinner we most certainly owe them, but then the famous Sinking Incident happened and got in the way of our weekend dinner plans. The arrival yesterday of John on Ellida got me to thinking once again about what I feel is one of the most remarkable things about cruising - the friends you haven't met yet - and it was time for this post.

Certainly there is no time in previous history where we have had the capacity to interact with one another in the way that we can on the internet today. Some would say the internet is a detrimental influence on the establishment of relationships because you hide behind the anonimity of the computer screen and can pretend to be anyone you want, leaving the authenticity of those relationships suspect at best. These criticisms don't seem to apply in the cruising community, though, because I have found that the folks we meet cruising are of a singularly high caliber of person. Honesty, integrity, caring, hope, encouragement, inquisitiveness all seem to abound in the cruising community, both online and off; not the sort of character qualities that lend themselves to the shallow meet-your-next-friend forum on the internet. We have been fortunate to meet so many good folks through our blog to this point. Bill and Christy from Veranda, Paul and Deb from Lattitude 43, Tom and Sabrina from Honeyrider, David and Nancy from Via Bella, the Zach Aboard family, Mike and Rebecca on Zero to Cruising, Bob on Eolian, Mike at This Rat Sailed, Mike on Siochana, Bill K., Capt. Mike on Zoe, David on S/V Pelagia, and countless others who have offered their support to us through comments, not to mention the countless friends that saw us through the last 6 years on our home lake Carlyle in Illinois, and sent us off with gifts and best wishes.

While cruising is certainly about the wanderlust, the desire to be "off the grid", the expression of exasperation with our current form of government, the desire to learn about other cultures and many other reasons, for me it is mostly about the people. These people have enriched my life already beyond measure and we're not even off the dock yet. Yesterday John was thanking us for something we had helped him with, and I told him that so many people have already helped us and that it was our way of paying it forward (a term I really hate by the way but I haven't found any better). I was thinking specifically about Bill and Christy at that moment, and how Bill had said they were happy to help, in some small way repaying all those that had gotten them started in the beginning. It's a wonderful cycle that I'm incredibly blessed to be a part of.

Thanks Bill.


Sabrina and Tom said...

It is so fun to meet people that you already know. I remember how excited I was to come to Lake C, meet you two in person and see your terrific new home.

s/v Honey Ryder Caliber 40 LRC

Mike Boyd said...

Couldn't agree more. The cruising/preparing to cruise/wanna be cruising folks generally seem to be good people. I've got a number of "virtual" cruising friends and can't wait to meet them and share dinner, drinks, or a sunset on the back of our boat.

We are rooting for you. Remember, even with the bad stuff there are people following behind you that wish they were where you are exciting to take that step. Now I just need to get back to work on that "our boat" part. ;-)

Hope to see you IRL sometime soon.


Capt. Mike said...

I am reminded of meeting Bill when Kat and I were purchasing Zoe. We were at the Marina where he works doing a sea trial and happened to see him on the dock. I introduced myself and we had a very helpful conversation about the boat and a few of the issues it had. I got a good chuckle out of a post he made shortly after about how it freaks him out when people he doesn't know, know a lot about him. kind of like feeling stalked I suppose. Kat and I are still working hard and get to spend precious few days on Zoe and we still have met so many good people ready to help with information or lend a hand. Certainly a community worth being a part of.

Latitude 43 said...

We met so many nice people along our trip south, and continue to believe cruisers are the best. Bill and Christy are good people and they were a big help in relieving our fears of voyaging in unknown areas, but they never told us about all the damn crab pots! :)

You guys are doing great! Fun times ahead.