Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Liebster Award

I'm torn.

We write this blog for several reasons. The primary one was because both Tim and I love to write and the blog provided an outlet for us to deal with the many experiences surrounding our decision to retire onto a boat. The other reasons included keeping the many family members and friends we have at our starting point in the Midwest around St. Louis apprised or our antics, and another being that, hopefully, we will save some people from making the same stupid mistakes we made in preparing to cruise into our retirement. Along the way we have made some incredible friends of the lifelong type, a benefit we never really expected, and developed a readership that, quite frankly, astounds me. So I guess that it shouldn't surprise me that the current trend of Liebster Award nominations sweeping the web and social media should land squarely on our page.  We've been nominated now several times and to be honest, the first ones landed during the great Floating Bear debacle and I simply didn't have the time or energy to sit and answer so many questions, at least with any serious attention, which is the only way I write. I was already feeling bad about neglecting our own writing and about our lack of time to read even some of our favorite blogs.

In addition to being busy, I've always had this awful dislike for all things chain letter. It seems to me to be a bit ridiculous in the cruising community because there is a highly finite group of blogs and the award can only be passed around so many times before producing some seriously grumpy bloggers.  However, in the interest and spirit of the award I've decided to cave and to do my best to answer the questions put to us by two of the recent nominations. I won't be nominating any future award winners at the end, though, and rather than try to explain, I'll pass on Behan Gifford of Sailing Totem fame's explanation of her decision to do the same. With her permission, I have quoted her final paragraph from her Liebster Award post, because I simply can't express my opinion on the matter any more eloquently than she has:

"Thank you.

A cliche, but it’s true: it’s an honor to be nominated. I’m grateful for the recognition, and for the opportunity to be a little part in helping others fulfill their dreams to live differently. It’s one my primary motivations to keep writing. The Liebster tradition is to nominate others, but the blogging world for cruisers is pretty small, and there are nominations already in and shared for most of my faves already. So instead of punting back, I’m just going to say: there are some beautiful, inspiring blogs out there. I keep my favorites listed on our links page, and I hope you’ll turn there- and to my nominators, Genevieve, Tammy, and Lyndy, to find your own further inspiration. And DANG, but you are lucky to have a wealth to draw from! The handful of blogs in our pre-cruising days are dwarfed by the awesome writing and images coming out now. If there was ever fodder to feed a dream…"
Behan Gifford, SV Totem

From Latitude 43:
  1.  When did you first catch the sailing/cruising bug?
    1. One day in 2007 I was particularly fed up with my job. While sitting at the computer trying to keep up my Quicken I was trying to imagine what life we could live that would allow us to retire early. Aviation is not a particularly lucrative profession and our retirement funds were not particularly expansive, so I began to think about a houseboat. One we could keep our motorcycles on. I popped my head over the banister to the living room and asked Tim, "What would you think about retiring onto a boat?" And there you have it. If you have any interest in how we got from houseboat to sailboat, it's here.
  2. Describe your worst repair or maintenance job on the boat besides the head. Everyone already knows that’s a shitty job.
    1. The worst routine maintenance job for me is cleaning the sump box. It fills with old soap, disgusting body slough and hair. ewwwww. For Tim it's changing the oil. The oil filter on the Westerbeast is in the absolute worst part of our engine since our engine is backwards and has a V-drive. He is always cut and bleeding when he's done and it takes about 8 engine diapers to complete the job.
  3. If you could turn back time just 3 years what would your cruising life be like today? If I could turn back time just 5 minutes I would have asked a different question because now I have that stupid Cher song in my head.
    1. I don't know about 3 years, but if I could turn it back 6 years I would have sold the house before the crash when it was worth twice what it is now. We would have rented a one room apartment and lived more frugally and we would have twice the money to cruise that we have now. Hindsight is always 20/20.
  4. Music soothes the soul. Do you listen to music onboard? What type of music and on what media? If it’s 70’s disco please decline the award and I’ll remove you from my feed. Just kidding. Feel free to add a mirror ball to the salon and dance all night long. I don’t judge. Much.
    1.  We use our iPads for music with a speaker. We have a bluetooth stereo speaker on our wishlist but don't have it yet. The type depends on what we're doing. Mellow? Stevie Nicks or Crosby Stills Nash & Young. Frustrating project for me involves Metallica plain and simple. Tim is a classic rock fan and usually wants Mountain if he's working on the boat. We both love Stevie Ray Vaughn. And no, there will never be any Cher on our boat.
  5. Was there ever a time on the water when you thought "Oh shit!" and all the fun was over for that day?
    1. The day the V-drive and transmission blew up.
  6. Wine, beer, booze or tea? Doesn't matter to me. I get high on life. 
    1. I'm a water drinker. Lots of it. The rare occasion that I drink alcohol it's usually a glass of Barefoot Moscato or Coconut Rum and orange juice. Tim is a beer drinker and rum & coke. The acquisition of our Magic Bullet opened up the opportunity for our newly established morning routine, Mocha Frappes. Bad, bad habit, but ohhhhhh so good.
  7. Has there ever been a destination you couldn't wait to arrive at only to be disappointed when you got there?
    1. Absolutely. It's here - Cooley's Landing Marina in Ft. Lauderdale.
  8. What part of cruising do you dislike the most besides no flushing toilets or bloggers asking stupid questions?
    1. The hardest and most frustrating thing for me is the constant fight for internet. I'm a tech junkie and internet is always an issue. Tim likes to watch the Moto GP races and the connections are never fast enough. Tim will say that the thing he dislikes most is the constant, never-ending, pressing project list.
  9. Describe the best time you ever had on a boat unless it was illegal, then just email me.
    1. Wasn't illegal but it involves the V-berth....sure you still want to ask???
And from Mike at This Rat Sailed:

  1. Introduce us to your crew.  Who are they and what role do they play in your operation?
    1. Tim - captain, chief weather watcher, engine mechanic, woodworker extraordinaire, chief blog writer
    2. Deb - admiral, chief cook and bottle washer, locker organizer, navigator, official seamstress, official blog photographer
  2. What sort of boat do you have and would you recommend it for other adventurers hoping to live aboard?  What do you like the least about your choice?
    1. 1982 Tartan 42. A really incredible, fast, sleek, blue water boat with a stout heart that would be great for anyone planning on crossing oceans. Unfortunately...
    2. It turns out we are coastal cruisers so the lack of a good large, liveable cockpit, large comfortable seating below and big lazarettes is a constant problem for us.
  3. What are your sailing plans, if you have any, for the future?
    1. We hope to return to the islands this winter and back to the Chesapeak next summer, but since none of our plans this summer came to pass I wouldn't bet on it
  4. How do you support your lifestyle while sailing and cruising? 
    1. We're living on savings and the occasional canvas job that I do for other cruisers. We would love to write for money but so far that hasn't become a reality.
  5. What’s the best experience you’ve had while living aboard? 
    1. Being in the Bahamas and getting to know the locals there was the highlight of our year so far cruising. The sense of freedom there, the wonderful sailing, the colors, the incredible beaches. It truly is a paradise.
  6. Name the most challenging experience you have had while living aboard and what did you do to overcome it?
    1. The most challenging experience for us was the month of working on our kids' boat, The Floating Bear. It was an extremely difficult month and there was no overcoming it. Sometimes you just have to plow through to the other side of a difficult circumstance. Everyone thinks this lifestyle is all white sandy beaches and Mai Tais. In reality, one of our friends sums it up best, "I just didn't think it would be this hard." I'm not trying to discourage anyone. It is absolutely worth it, but you need to know going in that, in all likelihood, it will be the hardest thing you've ever done.
  7. Is living aboard and sailing an alternative way of life for you, an escape from the system, or is it just a temporary adventure?
    1. It is absolutely an alternative way of life for us. We were so discouraged with "the system" both politically and socially, and so completely burned by the corporate game that we just didn't want to play it anymore. The adventure is a bonus, the icing on the cake.
  8. Any big mistakes you have learned from that others may learn from too?
    1. We've made more mistakes than I could recount here. If you're really bored, just go back to the beginning of the blog and read. I promise it will be entertaining.
  9. What advice would you give to those that may be interested in following in your footsteps and living aboard and/or cruising? 
    1. I wrote a post awhile back about the importance of determining what kind of cruiser you want to be.  I still feel that's the most important thing you can do. It will save you a lot of heartache and inconvenience later.
  10. What motivates you to blog and what tips can you offer fellow bloggers?
    1. As I said at the beginning of this post, we blog primarily for family and friends, to help other people realize that they, too, can make their dreams a reality, and as a journal for ourselves. We promised early on to be honest, to paint an accurate picture of our experiences. While our experiences may be vastly different from our fellow cruisers, we hope that any dreamers reading our writing will set themselves more realistic expectations and, as a result, have a more successful cruising experience. Being honest with yourself is essential to being happy while cruising, so it's my only tip for fellow bloggers.
For more questions of a different variety, you can also visit our Newly Salted interview, as well as our 6-month equipment review.

Thanks to all for the vote of confidence that your readership brings us, as well as the inspiration your comments have given us over the last 7 years. Fair Winds!

1 comment:

Behan Gifford said...

Deb, thanks so much for the nod, and for doing a response that was such an enjoyable read!