In the spring of 2002, Dave and I were traveling in Turkey. And somehow, as we always seemed to, we ended up walking around a marina and talking with the cruisers there. We’d been doing just that for the five years before that, talking about the pros and cons of “going cruising.” That evening, Dave looked at me and said, “You know, if we’re going to do this, we need to do it now. I’m not getting any younger!” He was 64 at the time.
As soon as we got back to the US, we started combing the YachtWorld.com listings. Two months later, we closed on Que Tal, a Tayana 37. Three months after that, we began cruising.
We didn’t know for sure we’d like it. Honestly, we only had a vague idea of what it would be like: we’d both sailed dinghies on lakes since we were teenagers but had little big-boat experience. We’d done five charters to get a feel for the life but knew it would be different on our own boat, full time. We had no idea of our “cruising plans” although we’d bought a boat that could cross oceans if we decided that’s what we wanted to do. Our plan was to figure it out as we went along.
I’m so glad that we made that leap, that Dave pushed us into it. Twenty years later – albeit with 7 years ashore in the middle — we’re still living on a boat. Just this past summer we spent four months cruising the Bahamas and the East Coast of Florida.
It’s scary to jump into a new adventure that’s unlike anything you’ve done before. Before cruising, Dave had a dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail. Just a week in, we knew it wasn’t for us. Would cruising be the same? We didn’t know.
Whatever you’re thinking of doing, I want to encourage you to go do it now. Don’t wait. Even if it turns out to not be your thing, you’ll learn from the experience. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll have the time of your life and wonder why you didn’t start five, ten or twenty years sooner.
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Oh My! My husband is 65 and I just turned 64. I’ve been thinking about full time on a sail boat for years but didn’t think he would be up for it as he has psoriatic arthritis. I read your article about cruising with arthritis and he says he’s up for it! Now to get the certifications and find a boat.
It is so inspiring that you started this when you were 64. I have hope!!!
Carolyn Shearlock says
You CAN do it!